Mercury retrograde in Libra, Lunar eclipse in Aries
We’re past the halfway point of this Mercury retrograde (Sep 17-Oct 9, 2015), and so I have a few observations (The deepest learning of astrology comes through observation). Like all Mercury retrograde cycles this one is providing opportunities to revisit and reconnect with projects and relationships from the past, review misunderstandings or mistakes, and move towards resolving old issues. Since this Mercury retrograde takes place fully in the sign of Libra, the revisits may revolve around Libran values, such as interpersonal relating, empathy, and understanding the feelings and needs of both sides of any difference or conflict. Depending on the house of your birth chart where you have Libra will determine more specifically the types of things you may be reworking during this Mercury retrograde period.
Meanwhile the Lunar eclipse on Sep 27th was an interesting counterbalance occurring in the opposite sign of Aries. A Full Moon is always the peak, climax, or crisis point of the lunar month, but the addition of an eclipse takes it to a more intense level. Even though the deeper significations of an eclipse take place over a period of months (before and after the exact date of the eclipse), the day of the eclipse itself can certainly be telling too. I knew of three people who had this eclipse tightly conjunct one of their Aries planets, and they were all sick during the few days around the eclipse. Since this was an eclipse occurring near the South node of the Moon, it suggests a time of letting go. For those who were sick, I’m interpreting this as a detoxification process. But more generally this eclipse could be seen as a detoxification process for all of us in whatever part of our natal chart where we have Aries. I have Aries in my 7th house of one-to-one relationships, and right around the time of the eclipse, I had fleeting but important differences to attend to with a few people I connect with in a one-to-one way. Each one involved letting go of old thought forms or patterns. The fact that it was a Full Moon, an eclipse, and being in the fiery, impulsive, assertive sign of Aries added a higher degree of emotionality than might otherwise be present.
How did this eclipse play out for you? It’s always fruitful to note these things, in the same way it is fruitful to remember and explore the meanings of one’s dreams. These practices help us along the path towards greater self-knowledge and self-mastery.
During Mercury’s apparent travel backwards, at the midpoint of the retrograde phase, is a special moment when Mercury meets up with the Sun. This occurred on Sep 30th. It can be thought of as Mercury’s New Moon so to speak, the beginning point of a new Mercury cycle. Things are sown, either consciously or unconsciously, at this conjunction, so you can note what occurred on that day — ideas, discussions, events, or flashes or urges for a new and different way. It is an inception point, though it may not be clear just how those things will grow up and expand until after Mercury goes direct.
A tense square forms between Jupiter and Saturn a few times between 2014 and 2016. Ever since Jupiter entered Leo in July of 2014, it has been squaring Saturn in Scorpio by sign, but this morning the aspect reached a climax (at 28º Leo and 28º Scorpio). Regarding one area of life (where you have Leo in your chart, Jupiter is transiting) you may be feeling expansive, joyful, and even triumphant. Things have worked out well over the past year. There have been some amazing shifts and gains. You have reason to feel optimistic as you progress. But even as you are celebrating that within yourself, your mind may gravitate to another area of life (where you have Scorpio in your chart, Saturn is transiting) where you may be feeling fearful or needing to face a harsh reality. Here you may need to reign yourself in, accept certain failures, losses, or difficulties, and move forward with caution. The contrast between these two areas of life has been present for awhile, but today it is stark!
As I reflect on this, I am feeling just as grateful for the hardship associated with Saturn as I am for the good luck associated with Jupiter. Although Jupiter may have a great time, for awhile — without Saturn’s sobering down-to-earth self-command, eventually the potential for foolishness, naivete, or arrogance unchecked can cost a heavy price. Saturn takes the long view and in his own way is a great protector. It may seem a bit pessimistic compared to Jupiter’s supreme confidence. But realistic Saturn is looking out for present pitfalls and future dangers — urging us to prepare and work harder with an ever present awareness of the fragility of life and our inevitable mortality. During the square between Jupiter and Saturn we are asked to embrace both optimism and caution at the same time. The friction between the expansive Jupitarian archetype and the contractive Saturnian archetype generates a powerful force pushing us towards greater wholeness. The combination is a blessing conferring circumstances in which we learn wise action and balanced growth.
We are currently experiencing an exciting and electrifying Grand Trine (a harmonious, flowing aspect pattern) amongst planets in the three fire signs. The Sun, Mercury, and Venus are in Sagittarius, Jupiter is in Leo, and Uranus is in Aries — with trines happening between Nov 26 and Dec 14, 2014 (see exact dates below). In a few words, the Sun is a symbol of the core self, identify and vitality. Mercury is a symbol of the mind and how we express ourselves. Venus is a symbol of love, beauty, pleasure, and wealth. While these inner archetypes connect harmoniously with Jupiter, there is a sense of optimism, opportunity, and grace. While they connect harmoniously with Uranus, there is the potential for flashes of knowing, radical change, and freedom from limitations that have constrained us in the past. A Grand Trine can bring forth rewards for work already completed. Read more...
We are also approaching a Full Moon on Dec 6, which is the climactic phase of the lunar cycle, and we are building up towards the next Uranus/Pluto square on Dec 15th. This will be the sixth of seven exact hits of this life-changing and transformative square (an aspect representing a turning point) from 2012-2015. All of this together can be a little overstimulating, but that is the small price we pay for exquisite and welcome changes, breakthroughs, and opportunities that may present themselves during this period.
Nov 26th — Venus trine Uranus Dec 4th — Venus trine Jupiter Dec 4th — Sun trine Uranus Dec 5th — Mercury trine Uranus Dec 6th — Full Moon in Gemini Dec 12th — Mercury trine Jupiter Dec 14th — Sun trine Jupiter Dec 15th — Uranus square Pluto
We had a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Mar 20th and there is a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon tomorrow morning (Apr 4th). This Lunar Eclipse (at 14º Libra) is tightly connected with the last exact Uranus/Pluto square, which though ebbing is still very active. So this Eclipse may correlate with moving in the direction of closure regarding the transformative process of internal and external restructuring that took place over the last three years.
The time around eclipses, and especially between a set of eclipses, can be highly charged for many (depending on how it is interacting with your birth chart), because eclipses have a way of bringing things up to the surface, which were previously only brewing in the unconscious. Once in plain view often something must be done or at least seen and accepted as a reality. In this way eclipses necessitate actions and attitudes that usher in needed change. But even positive change can be tumultuous or scary.
As always a Full Moon brings awareness or clarity (though often not until a day or two after the exact Full Moon) as it sheds light where there was darkness (the unknown) before. Also, Full Moons and Lunar Eclipses embody a polarization of some sort as the Sun and Moon are in direct opposition to one another. This opposition between two poles may be felt as an internal tension or experienced with an external person or situation. This eclipse is near the North node, so wherever Libra is in your birth chart, is where something new will be learned, assimilated, integrated, or received.
The Sun entered Libra on 9/22 to stay for a month. In the progression through the zodiac, the transition from the Virgo archetype to the Libra one is a significant shift. The signs from Aries to Virgo represent a process of self-development primarily, whereas the signs from Libra to Pisces represent partnerships and social/worldly affairs. The theme of Virgo (the Virgin – keep in mind the ancient meaning of virgin was “a woman unto herself”) is about becoming more whole in oneself and by oneself. This process serves as underpinning for an association or partnering that may evolve out of it. The nature of the self-adjustments and self-improvements that occur in Virgo will play a determining role in the nature of the association or partnering that may form in Libra, the sign that follows. Virgo gives opportunities to prepare oneself to become as whole as possible before entering into partnership. Now as the Sun has entered Libra, consciousness may become more aware of inherent connections that exist and the sense of an innate unity with a certain other or others. Moreover, the natural propensity of Libra is to attempt to see life though the others perspective. This is a beautiful quality, often lacking in our world, but it can be overdone if it is to the point of losing track of ones own truth. That is why Balance, balance between self and other, is an ever important practice for Libra people and for all of us during Libra times.
The Sun and Venus have been traveling close together for the last month or so, bringing some ease to relationships and generally encouraging the enjoyment of life, during an otherwise potentially tense time. Together they (and we) are moving through the sign of Scorpio. While in Scorpio we are destined to plunge into the depths and wade through a mire of swampy darkness if need be, in search of truth, authenticity, and connection with what is real in self and other, whether it is pretty or not. This is not always comfortable for Venus as she prefers the pleasantries and niceties of life. However, since this dive into the unknown is in the service of intimacy, she tolerates being out of her comfort zone while in Scorpio, because she knows that deep down she too craves real intimacy, which requires this type of journeying. Read more...
After getting used to the new environment, Sun and Venus together encounter both Jupiter and Saturn. Though meetings with Jupiter tend to be grand and fun, especially while he is in Leo, as he is now, this meeting is somewhat challenging, as the Sun and Venus were square to Jupiter from their position in Scorpio. (Venus squared Jupiter on Nov 9, and the Sun squared Jupiter on Nov 13.) Jupiter can spout beautiful promises of adventure, triumph, and opulence, and it is certainly tempting. But even while listening to Jupiter’s glorious visions, Sun and Venus see Saturn just ahead on their path and pause with trepidation. Before taking Jupiter’s extravagant leap of faith, we are meant to have a dose of reality checking, thanks to our elder Saturn’s time-tested wisdom. (Venus was conjunct Saturn on Nov 12, and the Sun will be conjunct Saturn on Nov 18.) Saturn knows what he’s talking about. He has seen it all before and is here to remind us of the mistakes, risks, and dangers we could run into if we do not proceed with caution. He means well and wants us to succeed in our endeavors, but he is stern sometimes… We are fortunate to have this balanced perspective right now as we go forth on the path.
The unfoldment process involving the Mars T-square with Uranus & Pluto
Since Mars was retrograde during the Spring of 2014, instead of moving steadily along through the signs, it stopped at about 28º Libra, turned around for awhile from Mar 1st to May 19th, and went back to 9º Libra. Then Mars turned direct at 9º and once again began moving forward through Libra. What this means is that Mars is going over a portion of Libra three times, creating an unfoldment process beginning the first time Mars came to 9º Libra on Dec 25, 2013 and completing around Jul 21, 2014 when Mars will reach 28º Libra for the last time in this cycle. Read more...
With Mars in Libra from Dec 2013 through July 2014, we are all experiencing a focus of Mars-like activity wherever Libra is in our natal chart. Mars is the epitome of rugged individualism, and the Mars archetype embodies desire with the will and force to take whatever actions are necessary to fulfill the desire. However, in the polite and courteous sign of Libra, the archetype of carefully weighing and balancing before taking any actions and thinking first of the other, Mars is discouraged from acting as decisively, directly, and autonomously as is natural for him. So along with going retrograde, which slowed down his drive, being in Libra has moderated Mar’s usual take charge nature. It will be interesting to see how things shift once Mars enters Scorpio on Jul 25th, one of his home signs, where he is more enabled to move in his own rhythm.
One of the most striking parts of this Mars retrograde process has been Mar’s involvement with the Cardinal Grand Cross and the longer term Uranus/Pluto square. Included in the unfoldment process from Dec 2013 thru Jul 2014 is Mars opposing Uranus from Libra three times and squaring Pluto from Libra three times. Mars in direct motion opposed Uranus the first time on Dec 25, 2013 and squared Pluto the first time on Dec 30, 2013. Then retrograde Mars opposed Uranus and squared Pluto both on Apr 23, 2014. After Mars turned direct again it squared Pluto the third time on Jun 14, 2014 and the third Mars opposite Uranus aspect is upon us on Jun 25th.
When a planet goes retrograde and makes the same aspect three times – first direct, then retrograde, then direct again – it represents a three part process. Sometimes the three part process works like this: the first direct hit wakes you up to an issue, the second retrograde hit triggers a profound review of the issue, and the third direct hit corresponds with the beginning of the resolution. This general concept can be helpful in contemplating one’s own three part process, however it isn’t always quite that neat or clear.
It is interesting to note one’s own internal unfoldment that began in Dec 2013 and which will conclude in July. Mars has been the zealous friend spurring Uranus on to make radical changes for the sake of greater freedom and authenticity, and spurring Pluto to destroy that which is causing stagnation for the purpose of making space for a deeper expression of self. The energy is high and possibly tense or volatile especially now as we lead up to the exact Mars opposite Uranus aspect early Wednesday morning, so caution is advised, while embracing those changes and transformations that reflect who you truly are now and what you truly want as of today, regardless of what others may think or want for you. Pluto is about jumping into the fire and facing your deepest fears and coming out the other side empowered. Uranus is about being true to your self. With Mars in Libra, perhaps the caveat is authenticity and honesty — yes, but not at the expense of the other — rather in connection with the other.
During the last week of September and the first week or so of October 2014, there is an inspiring and dynamic configuration of harmony and flow amongst Jupiter in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Sagittarius. The trine aspect amongst all three planets suggests they are on very friendly terms with one another, automatically “get” one another, and naturally support each other in their individual efforts and goals. Whichever houses Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius are in, in your chart represent the areas of life where these three planetary archetypes are playing out their roles and happily connecting in a spirited and enthusiastic (fiery) way. Jupiter brings opportunity and expansion, Uranus brings radical shifts and breakthroughs, and Mars brings the energy and drive to bring it all on. When operating in the fire signs these planets suggest a lot of excitement, the propensity for taking bold risks, and the desire for both freedom and passion. If you have planets or points near 15º of any of the fire signs, you will be feeling this grand trine more powerfully. Read more...
Jupiter entered Leo on July 16th for a stay of approximately one year. Every sign gets its turn and now it’s Leo’s turn to host larger than life Jupiter, who confers a touch of his divinity, buoyancy, and confidence wherever he goes. This is a welcome shift for Leo people everywhere! The Sun will enter Leo on Jul 22nd and there will be a New Moon in Leo on Jul 26th, ushering in the radiant, playful, noble, and fiery Leo vibe in a tangible and personal way. By the time Mercury and Venus reach Leo on Jul 31st and Aug 12th respectively, they will mark the final welcome celebrations of Jupiter into the sign of Leo. Leo is all about honor, dignity, and regalia, but also fun. Most importantly it is critical for the Leo archetype to have an appreciative audience to applaud Leo’s unique and shiny self-expression. Whatever house in your birth chart in which Leo resides will be the area of life to experience Jupiter’s expansive and beneficial influence over the next year. Read more...
(As an aside, I am especially thinking about my Leo rising friends who had Jupiter going through their 12th house for the last year, expanding their “troubles” [Jupiter tends to increase everything, not just the positive]. In actuality the 12th house is only “trouble” for the ego. In the 12th house we are forced to face karmic debts, look at repressed hurts and undeveloped parts of the self, and transcend personal desires and attachments. Focusing on spiritual pursuits and tuning into the Oneness is one of the purposes of the 12th house. Another is to offer a span for the completion of life lessons. Wonderful in theory but it’s usually a relief to have respite from 12th house work, which often goes unseen and unappreciated, and can even be hidden from oneself. Now, Leo rising people will have Jupiter in their 1st house over the next year, offering a new beginning and expanding their sense of self, so that will feel quite different from the 12th house transit.)
The Sun opposed Pluto on Jul 4th and squared Uranus on Jul 8th, once again triggering the life-changing Uranus/Pluto Square that started in 2012 and won’t complete until 2015 (I have written a lot about this in other posts, so I’m not going to focus on it here).Then the Sun squared Mars on Jul 19th. For the preceding week while this aspect was building, and for a few days after, irritability and impatience could be high, especially for Cancer and Libra people, yet this same aspect also lends the energy, enthusiasm, and readiness to plunge into action as needed.
Saturn in Scorpio and Uranus in Aries are quincunx for the whole month of July, but this aspect peaks on Jul 20th & 21st. Saturn and Uranus are very different energies — Saturn, being the old man father archetype who demands hard work, discipline, tradition, structure, precaution, practicality, and doing things by the book. Uranus, on the other hand is the wild card of the gods — associated with unpredictable, sudden, lightning bolt change, with a quick and brilliant spirit. Uranus seeks freedom at all costs no matter how shocking to the system and the old framework... The quincunx is an aspect that represents a relationship that is not in harmony, yet not in conflict either. Rather it is one in which there is no grounds for connection at all. The quincunx is where we must learn to make colossal adjustments so that we expand beyond the perspective that we are identified with and the modus operandi we are accustomed to. In this case, the quincunx is between the signs of Scorpio and Aries. A mitigating factor is that both signs are ruled by Mars, which gives the two archetypes some common ground. Yet their ways of expressing the warrior energy is what contributes to the disparateness between them. Aries represents Mar’s diurnal face — a direct and visible approach. Whereas Scorpio represents Mar’s nocturnal face — an undercover, concealed approach. The archetypes of Saturn and Uranus already correlate with two very different agendas and motivations within us, and now a quincunx is also in the mix. So right now it might feel especially difficult to reconcile the different functions of Saturn and Uranus (and Scorpio and Aries). Nevertheless by recognizing the value of both, we support the unfoldment of the the long-term process of reconciliation.
Saturn turns direct on Jul 20th while Uranus turns retrograde on Jul 21st. When a planet is retrograde, its qualities are more subtle, less apparent, and more turned inward instead of manifesting outwardly. This suggests that when Saturn was retrograde (since the beginning of March) and Uranus was direct, the need for freedom had the upper hand, whereas the need for security was more subdued. But now that Saturn will be direct, and Uranus will be retrograde (for the next 5 months), the need for security and stability could gain the upper hand, whereas the urge for freedom could be more subordinated.
On Jul 22nd Mercury opposes Pluto, and on Jul 24th Mercury squares Uranus (two pretty stressful aspects), but then trines Saturn (a flowing aspect). There is a potential for severe mental agitation, dark thoughts, and sudden outbursts over these days, along with huge opportunities for positive transformation and breakthroughs. As they say in Psychosynthesis, the more we can tolerate becoming aware of the lower unconscious (suffering, conflict, turmoil, etc.), the more easily we can access the higher unconscious (healing, beauty. bliss, etc.). These aspects are very motivating to practice self-empathy by getting in touch with underlying feelings and needs, and self-empowerment by setting and sticking to good boundaries and healthy limits. It’s hard work but the more we can do this for ourselves the more we can experience peace and practice compassion in our relationships with others.
There are other notable transits in July, such as Mars entering Scorpio on July 25th, after being in Libra for an inordinate amount of time (since Dec 2013), but this is enough for one blog!! Thanks for reading. :-)
The energy has officially shifted. Dynamic, enterprising, and passionate Mars is direct after 2 ½ months (since March 1st) of being retrograde. When a planet is retrograde its associated qualities can seem subdued or suppressed, because the archetypal life of the planet changes from the usual outward manifestation to a more internalized expression, which may be difficult to see, understand, or access. Mars is most comfortable when he gets to play the superhero, warrior, pioneer, or all out go-getter. While retrograde and in Libra he was needing to be peaceful, reserved, and patient before taking action — and if he wasn’t he probably lost in battle. Now that Mars is direct all of that pent up energy is allowed to flow freely again. New ideas, desires, and opportunities may be appearing where there was a sense of stagnation or indecision before. It’s exciting and yet still very uncertain. Things are moving, but which way are they going? It may not be clear for a little while as Mars first has to retrace his steps before he actually moves into new territory. The Sun also just shifted from spending a month in slow and steady Taurus to now being in quick-moving and changeable Gemini, which is contributing to the new thought-forms popping up.