An influx of Gemini energy is enticing me to share on here again. As I begin to write this article (the day of the Gemini new moon), the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus Retrograde, and the true North Node are currently in this communicative and curious double-bodied sign.
The last time I posted here was early January; just prior to the full-throttle global COVID descent.
I saved an Instagram story to my profile in March, which highlighted some of the previous relevant things I’ve written about the transformative world-changing transits of 2020, but otherwise… I’ve been hesitant to say anything via a public platform. I’ve been extremely reluctant to add to the volatile wild wind storm of COVID-related information, theories, perspectives, and predictions.
Certainly though, I’ve appreciated many COVID analyses and reflective think pieces written by others, so perhaps when the right time and space emerge, I may contribute an astrological analysis. In the meantime, I continue to use astrology as a meaning-making tool to ground myself in Time during this turbulent year, while I persist and persevere behind the scenes, working on a longterm vision for Lilith Rebellion.
So instead of addressing coronavirus phenomenon, I’m here to share more personal reflections on… dandelions and cosmologies!
On May 14th, 2020, as Jupiter stationed retrograde in Capricorn (an invitation to revise the philosophical, structural underpinnings of our life), just a day after Venus stationed retrograde in Gemini (an invitation to review our values as we make connections and digest new learnings), two things happened:
- My eagerly awaited book order arrived! Cosmos & Psyche: Intimations of a New Worldview by Richard Tarnas, the 500-page masterpiece so highly acclaimed in the astrological world (and beyond), was now in my hands.
- In response to the magnetic pull I’ve been sensing for a while, I decided to get serious about embarking on the plant path – I chose dandelions as the first medicinal herb to build a relationship with over the course of the next month.
These two events both feel quite Jupiterian to me, and they also shimmer with a sprinkle of Gemini in the way that they both speak to new learning.
Dandelion, a wild plant that knows no limits, is a herb that is traditionally ruled by Jupiter, the planet of abundance and expansion.
Similarly, the book Cosmos & Psyche is Jupiterian at its core. Aside from literally being a BIG book, it courageously embarks on a journey with an enormous far-reaching aim and scope – one that encompasses worldviews, cosmology, epistemology, philosophy, history, science, psychology, religion, spirituality, astrology – with a very BIG picture lens.
I tasted and nibbled on both of them, but I waited until the New Moon in Gemini on May 22nd to make my commitment official – a daily dose of dandelion and Cosmos & Psyche for at least a full lunation cycle.
The New Moon landed within a few degrees of my Gemini Moon… opposite Saturn – so of course a worthy commitment was required. And what better lunation cycle for this endeavor than one unfolding on the Gemini-Sagittarius axis?
Full Moons are always in the sign opposite the Sun’s current sign. At the culmination of the lunation cycle that began in Gemini (ruled by Mercury), we will have a Full Moon (Lunar Eclipse) in Sagittarius (ruled by Jupiter) on June 5th, 2020.
Cosmos & Psyche: Intimations of a New Worldview
Cosmos and Psyche was published in 2006 after “thirty years of meticulous research” by its author, Harvard-educated Richard Tarnas, a professor of philosophy and psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
It was very well received. Stanislav Grof, for example, calls the book “an epoch-making work…the most significant challenge I have seen to the materialistic paradigm of modern science”.*
(*I think science is great – the materialistic paradigm of modern science, however, is reductionist and limiting as it asserts a philosophical perspective that only the physical, material world can be real and true)
In his book, Tarnas examines four out of ten outer planet cycles (Uranus/Pluto, Saturn/Pluto, Jupiter/Uranus, and Uranus/Neptune). He tracks these cycles throughout history, drawing numerous astonishing correlations between planetary alignments and historical events.
Now, as we experience 3/10 outer planet cycles restarting in 2020 (Saturn/Pluto, Jupiter/Pluto, and Jupiter/Saturn), the book has again featured prominently in many astrological discussions and online posts. For good reason – astrological predictions increase in accuracy and archetypal nuance the more we know and reflect on our history (global or personal) in order to ascertain how these transits and cycles have expressed themselves in the past.
Cosmos and Psyche has been on my radar for a while, but I admit I hesitated for a while because of the length of the book. I have a gazillion books lined up to read already… did I really need another one that is 500 pages long? I’m always trying to reign in my Out-of-Bounds Gemini Moon square Jupiter, ravenous for new information (…which sometimes manifests as a book buying addiction that far outpaces my reading speed).
I surrendered, finally. 2020 demanded my surrender.
And then I fell in love.
As Venus rx in Gemini (relationships of the word and mind) perfected its square to romantic Neptune, ushering us toward the new moon on May 22nd, after reading passages from the book out loud, I gushed effusively to someone that I felt like I was being seduced by Cosmos and Psyche… or perhaps by astrology itself?
Richard Tarnas, the author, born with Gemini rising, the Sun in Pisces, and an Aquarian stellium intertwined with Virgo via a Mercury-Saturn mutual reception.
In other words, he’s an inspirational big-picture visionary who uses his gift of Gemini word-weaving to present his “meticulous research” (very Saturn in Virgo) using the frame of an impeccably and brilliantly crafted logical argument; every intellectual puzzle piece systematically and strategically provided at just the right moment (very Aquarian).
I’ve read of many people beginning the book having no idea that Cosmos and Psyche is making a strong case for astrology (and for a new cosmology that astrology is inviting us to participate in).
It is super sneaky.
I’m 60 pages in and the only mention of “astrology” so far is when Tarnas quotes Martin Luther criticizing those who paid attention to the radical ideas of Nicolas Copernicus who dared to assert that the Sun was at the center of the solar system, not the Earth:
“People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the Earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament… This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy.”
This book is perfect for your academic, intellectual friend who is intrigued by astrology and curious, but determinedly skeptical. Tarnas had the smart astrology skeptic in mind, I believe, when he wrote Cosmos and Psyche.
As an obvious astrology convert, with prior knowledge of what the book is about, I’ve read the first 60 pages feeling as though I’m in on a grand secret that the book doesn’t realize I know. As if I’m being flirted with, seduced – while I pretend to be oblivious and naive, and yet ultimately playing along as a willing, consenting participant to this wordplay magic enticing me toward its succulent core message.
Don’t ever let anyone narrow your understanding of Venus to intimate human relationships only! Venus is a magnetic force, a planet of connection. During its potent retrograde period, which occurs about every 18 months, we may be falling in love, re-evaluating love – yes, but with what? With who?
With Venus currently retrograde in Gemini, your lovers may indeed, be books.
Even though I haven’t yet delved into the chapters about planetary cycles, I’m so deeply appreciating the masterful argument crafting which begins [spoiler alert!] with a careful historical unpacking of “the problem” under scrutiny (i.e.,the pervasive lack of purpose and meaning in society, the alienation of the modern self, our spiritual estrangement in a disenchanted universe, the schism between humans and nature/cosmos, an unawareness of unconscious forces shaping human lives and thereby, history)… and then moves on to consider possible solutions – and their inadequacies (i.e. postmodernism, depth psychology, the eclectic individual spiritual journey)… before finally using Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity, within the context of depth psychology, as a bridge to introduce archetypal astrology and the cosmology it speaks to, as his proposed solution.
Cosmology is a big astronomical, metaphysical, Jupiterian field. It is the study of the nature and structure of the universe, its origins and its evolution.
“…the cosmology of a civilization both reflects and influences all human activity, motivation, and self understanding that take place within its parameters.
It is the container for everything else.“~Richard Tarnas
As Tarnas so clearly illustrates in his book, the world’s dominant cosmology influences absolutely everything – and therefore shifting the dominant cosmology on a global scale, would be utterly transformative.
As Tarnas writes, “world views create worlds.”
A statement that Jupiter would approve of, particularly when in Capricorn.
The current dominant cosmology, which was catalyzed by Copernicus’ discovery of a Sun-centered solar system (circa 1500), is one that positions the world as being completely separate from, and external to, the human self (who exists as the sole subject). This cosmology frames the world as an object, as mechanistic, disenchanted, unconscious, neutral and indifferent, a meaningless void, without any pre-existing soul, purpose, creativity, intelligence, or capacity for communication.
In the early days of this western cosmology, it arguably had some redeeming characteristics.
I mean, when I left the faith of my childhood, the sense of liberation and autonomy I experienced was initially exhilarating – I got to rediscover who I was beneath religious conditioning.
I suspect that at least some of the humans of the newly de-centered Earth in the 16th century may have felt the same way, as the all-encompassing boundaried domain of the dominant religions in Europe at the time, and their associated cosmologies, began to disintegrate. Many innovative scientific and social advancements were made possible by this cosmological shift.
But now, over 500 years later?
The dominant western cosmology of the modern mind is killing us. It’s killing everything.
In a world where this modern western cosmology of a meaningless, soulless world reigns supreme, the natural world is reduced to merely “a resource to be exploited for human benefit”. Clearly, as the state of the world can attest to, this objectifying orientation results in harsh consequences.
Humans suffer too, within this cosmological container, in a multitude of ways. Burdened with creating life-sustaining meaning and purpose – a task it once shared with the cosmos – we are collectively experiencing an ever-growing wave of physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological symptoms of alienation: “the soul knows no home in the modern cosmos” (Tarnas).
And yet, there are many roads home – astrology is one of them. The plant path is another.
With Jupiter (the planet of worldviews, cosmology, faith) currently traveling retrograde in Capricorn (the sign of our structural foundations, our supportive containers), and with the South Node (exposing, purification, release) traveling through the Jupiter-ruled sign of Sagittarius since early May… I believe the universe is indicating this is prime time for us to get to work on a new foundational cosmology.
What about you? Are you clear on your worldview and cosmology? Or are you consciously working toward greater internal consistency and coherence in this area? Do you have a worldview and cosmology that embraces astrology, or is astrology “an exception to the rule” that you engage with?
It’s common to have inconsistencies in our worldviews. However, I would assert that this isn’t ideal, as it creates some jarring cognitive dissonance.
In many ways astrology is really mathematical, technical, and even mechanical. I mean, you can learn astrology while remaining completely disconnected from nature, just by looking at little symbols and degrees in geometric shapes on a wheel on your computer screen… without ever having to go outside and look up at the actual sky.
Similarly, it is possible for herbal medicine can be practiced in a reductionist, detached way within a modern western cosmology when herbs are perceived as an objectified resource to be exploited for human benefit.
From a big picture perspective, I would say the field of astrology falls outside modern western cosmology since it (arguably) indicates a Universe that has an inherent cosmic order, spiritual meaning, purpose, and a capacity to communicate.
However, if someone focuses primarily on the technical pragmatics of the astrological field, I think it is quite possible for them to remain firmly within the container of modern western cosmology while using astrological techniques to serve certain purposes… and yet, through the application of a modern lens that views everything external to the human as an “object”, does this approach to astrology become yet another way of exploiting the cosmos? In the same way we use the objectifying, reductionist, disenchanted lens of modern cosmology to justify the control and plundering of natural resources for human gain?
Acyuta-Bhava Dasa has stated in a video on studying astrology:
“Astrology is not something you’re going to learn or develop a deeper relationship with unless it is also wed to a spiritual vision of life in the cosmos, a cosmological picture that spans beyond the rising and falling of Earthly kingdoms and conflicts.”
I would agree on this point.
On a personal level, astrology rescued me from the barren desert of my disenchanted cosmology that had lost all capacity for nourishment since my liberating departure from organized religion. And now the plant path has been calling me deeper still, offering to reveal another dimension of anima mundi; the soul of the world.
Now for Dandelions!
Hopefully you’re still tracking with me! There’s a strong Jupiter/Sag – Mercury/Gemini connection here that I’m slowly weaving together…
Gradually, over the last couple years, I’ve become more and more curious about the world of medicinal herbs. I’ve steadily followed an increasing number of herbalists on Instagram, subscribed to herbal newsletters, and eavesdropped on herb-related, plant medicine podcasts (shout out to Mythic Medicine, Holes to Heaven and The Plant Path!).
However, I wasn’t directly putting into practice any of the knowledge shared and I often felt quite bewildered from my position as an outside observer by this world where people spoke of common plants with such love and awe. Furthermore the terminology was confusing and completely foreign to me – it was only recently that I finally googled: “What is a tincture?”
In the last few months in particular, however, I’ve increased my absorption rate of content that relates plants to planets, and orients to medicinal herbs through the lens of medical astrology – including the exploration of plant alchemy (spagyrics).
Astro-herbalism and plant alchemy have become a new obsession. I’m completely fascinated by this intersection of astrology and herbalism!
As Venus and Jupiter stationed retrograde, I decided to commit, dive deep, and incorporate medicinal herbs into my daily practices by applying the learning strategies that Sajah Popham of Evolutionary Herbalism recommends for developing a holistic relationship with plants.
Some astrological context:
Taurus – the sign of fixed earth, of the physical realm, of food, the sign of nature, plants and human bodies – has been hosting Uranus and its fast-moving, liberating, unconventional, disruptive and rebellious spirit, since the spring of 2018 (and more permanently since March 2019). Taurus will continue to play host to Uranus until early 2026.
I have a Taurus Midheaven and 9th house Taurus North Node (opposing a 3rd house South Node and Pluto in Scorpio). This means that this Uranus transit through Taurus is a wake-up call and an activation of my North Node and Midheaven potentials.
Throughout 2018 and 2019 this showed up as a renewed interest in pursuing a career path in somatic healing work. I began a 3-year training program to become a Somatic Experiencing® practitioner, while also exploring other somatic approaches to healing.
Somatic Experiencing is a body-oriented approach to processing trauma, and healing the persistent symptoms of post traumatic stress. In this way, my North Node Taurus pursuit becomes an integration of the Scorpio South Node in my chart, with its orientation toward the more traumatic and darker themes of life.
Now, as Uranus transits my natal Pluto via opposition and Saturn moves into position to square them both along with my Nodes… my career-oriented focus has expanded beyond the body to consider the healing medicine of plants.
Spagyrics, or plant alchemy in particular, is another example of an integrated Scorpio-Taurus axis (i.e., Taurean plants undergoing a Scorpionic alchemical transformation for medicinal purposes – you can see entrancing videos and photos of that process on Instagram here, documented by herbalist Daniel Wiseman).
Uranus is often seen as symbolic of the practice of astrology (at least at this current moment in history), and alongside both these interests in somatics and plants, my knowledge of medical astrology has been steadily deepening. The holistic healing potentials that are possible by simultaneously and skillfully working with plants, planets, and people, is truly inspiring.
Indeed, the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, once said: “A physician without a knowledge of Astrology has no right to call himself a physician.”
Perhaps a bit extreme, but certainly something to think about!
As Venus retrogrades in Gemini in my 10th house, I’m experiencing that thrilling rush that comes from embarking on a learning journey! And at the same time, although medical astrology and my health background offers a bit of a bridge, I’m also experiencing that overwhelming, humbling feeling that comes with learning something new.
It’s like starting to learn a language and getting excited when you learn to say “Hi, how are you?” for the first time in a foreign tongue… and then feeling sheepishly embarrassed that you are so excited about something so basic!
As I launch into this area with my Gemini Moon and a beginners mind, my opposing Saturn in Sag needs to find its bearings and plot out its points of reference, its anchor points, in this unfamiliar landscape. My Saturn in Sag generally needs a lot of self-constructed structure for my learning journeys.
One way I am doing this is by starting with Sajah Popham’s recommendation to choose just one herb per month (for at least 12 months), and go deep with that one herb in a multitude of ways in order to learn it in both a spiritual and pragmatic way, through developing a relationship with it.
So since our yard is covered with dandelions that others are very eager for me to pick, I chose this bright happy plant as my first herb to study for this Gemini-Sag lunation cycle – dandelion everything for 30 days as I read Cosmos & Psyche!!
Known for its liver cleansing properties in particular (appropriate for a Jupiter-ruled plant), dandelion is also a versatile tasty plant that can be used to make tea, roasted root coffee, salads, wine, vinegar, and even baked goods.
My Saturn in Sagittarius not only needs to have a schedule, a timeline, a strategy, a set of goals for learning… but it also needs to be grounded in a cosmological container that can support my learning journey.
Reading Cosmos & Psyche while stepping on to the plant path, is helping me get crystal clear on what my guiding cosmology is.
The more I cognitively embrace a cosmology that perceives the world as ensouled, as subject rather than object, as interconnected, intelligent, creative, empathetic and emanating a spiritual depth and meaning… the more open I am to deepening my relationship to plants – and deepening my relationship with the dandelion 🙂
When grounded in a re-enchanted cosmology, something like the ancient doctrine of signatures and correspondences becomes more accessible in an intuitive and holistic way when used to make connections between plants, planets and people – based on shared signatures of resonant core essences and energetic patterns.
I see the doctrine of signatures and correspondences as being similar in nature to the experience of “synchronicity”; a phenomenon first named and studied by Carl Jung around 1928.
Synchronicity describes how multiple independent events, without a causal relationship, can create a meaningful and resonant pattern in such a precise and astounding way that it is hard to believe this type of parallel occurrence was created by the chaos of chance alone – a mere roll of the dice. There’s this uncanny feeling, that so many of us are familiar with, that a synchronistic intersection between otherwise unconnected events, has been “invisibly orchestrated”, as Tarnas writes.
As I mentioned, Tarnas uses Jung’s synchronicity concept as a way to introduce astrology in Cosmos and Psyche and to frame his analysis of the various ways that different types of planetary activity synchronistically “matches” simultaneously-occurring human experience on both a broad and individual scale.
Meaningful shared signatures, correspondences and synchronicities, are all arguably expressions of an interconnected web of life that we all participate in.
So for example, there is a Jupiterian correspondence with dandelion based on its therapeutic properties that help to cleanse the liver (Jupiter is associated with the liver in medical astrology because of other resonant correspondences between the planet and people).
In their outward appearance as well, there is a shared archetypal signature that both dandelion and Jupiter participate in that manifests through their wild untameable drive toward abundance and expansion, and their bright buoyancy, for example.
I’ve included some photos below where I explore different shared signatures between the dandelion plant and the sky. For anyone who loves astrological archetypes, this is a really fun exercise!
In Astro-herbalism, this is an effective way to classify and organize herbal remedies – and to take it a step further, using the analytical tools that medical astrology offers, these plant-planet correspondences can sharpen an herbalist’s assessment and treatment process considerably.
Through examining a person’s natal chart, for example, and their current transits, a skilled astro-herbalist or medical astrologer is provided with a type of x-ray vision that gives them access to the root cause and the multifaceted nature of the issue at hand in the most holistic way possible. With this knowledge they can effectively customize and tailor the remedy or medicine in a holistic way, to be a suitable match for that unique individual.
Dreaming with Dandelions
Following along with Sajah Popham’s suggestions for getting to know a plant, I slipped a dandelion under my pillow as the balsamic moon moved into toward the Sun in Gemini (the night of May 21st), and as Neptune simultaneously squared Mercury and Venus – a perfect time for dreaming.
I invited dandelion to visit me in a dream and introduce itself in some way. I set the intention that I would wake up and remember the dream in order to be able to write it down.
My psyche so obediently absorbed my intention that even in the dream before I awoke, I had a lucid moment where I sat down at a table to record my dreamtime experience with urgency!
As the dream-me began to write out a description, the real-me woke up at 3:04 am and scrawled a few notes in journal.
Unfortunately much of the dream narrative evaded my memory recall (when I woke up I lost everything the dream-me had written down), but one key feature stood out:
I was wearing gigantic platform boots. They were really high. About 3-feet high platforms, to be more precise!
And I was thrilled about these boots. THRILLED. I actually mentioned the word “thrilled” twice in my 3 am scrawl.
I usually try to approach dream interpretation from several angles.
I consider the overall feeling and emotion (thrilled! powerful!), as well as the general and personal meaning of the symbols involved (big platform boots) as embedded within relevant historical and cultural contexts. Finally, I turn to tarot and astrology for additional insight. For example, after pulling a few tarot cards, I cast a chart for the time of my dream if I have it (and compare these transits to my birth chart), and in addition, I cast a horary chart for the question “what does this dream signify?“
Boots and shoes for me, speak to our sense of direction and purpose, as well as the roles, positions, responsibilities, and vocations that we engage with in society (and how prepared we feel to step into them). We have colloquial expressions that affirm this interpretation, such as: “he has big shoes to fill” or “she got cold feet.”
And what about my personal relationship with shoes or boots?
When I was the tender age of 14, when every sentence that sounds mildly critical (particularly about one’s appearance) lodges in the psyche like a poisoned arrow, a girl at summer camp commented on the juxtaposition of my body stature… and the size of my feet, while gesturing with her hands: “You are so tiny, and yet your feet are so big!”
I’m just under 5 feet, 3 inches tall, and I wear shoes size 8. There is nothing particularly “big” about size 8, but ever since that moment I’ve definitely made a point to choose shoes that made my feet look small. Shoes that were muted and neutral. Shoes that didn’t call attention to themselves.
I also have fussy feet. They hate heels and demand supportive comfort at all times.
So in waking-life my shoes and boots are generally pretty boring. And yet in my dream my boots were obnoxiously big and loud with 3 foot-high platforms. And this thrilled me.
Possible conclusion: Dandelion, this bright audacious plant ruled by bold Jupiter, is telling me to step up with courage? To dare to be seen? To step into new roles?
I plan to keep dreaming with dandelion throughout this lunation cycle – again at the waxing square, the full moon, and the waning square 🙂 I’ll see how the story unfolds…
Do you dream with plants?
If so, what have plants communicated to you in dreams?
What is your approach to dream interpretation?
If you’d like to, I encourage you to use the hashtag #dreamingwithplants on instagram if you have some similar stories to share!
I’ll close this post with this invitation from the Gemini-Sagittarius axis via Richard Tarnas:
“I believe that the disenchantment of the modern universe is the direct result of a simplistic epistemology and moral posture spectacularly inadequate to the depths, complexity, and grandeur of the cosmos. To assume a priori that the entire universe is ultimately a soulless void within which our multidimensional consciousness is an anomalous accident, and that purpose, meaning, conscious intelligence, moral aspiration, and spiritual depth are solely attributes of the human being, reflects a long-invisible inflation on the part of the modern self. And heroic hubris is still indissolubly linked, as it was in ancient Greek tragedy, to heroic fall.
…What is the cure for hubristic vision?
It is, perhaps, to listen – to listen more subtly, more perceptively, more deeply.
Our future may well depend upon the precise extent of our willingness to expand our ways of knowing.”
~ Richard Tarnas