In Pisces Time
Venus is conjunct Neptune in Pisces at 2 – 4 degrees.
Sun is conjunct Chiron in Pisces at 9 – 10 degrees.
Mercury retrograde is conjunct Mars in Pisces at 19 -20 degrees.
Pisces is always on our minds at this time of year, the end of Winter in our northern hemisphere, with green shoots soon to be Narcissus poking through the dark earth. This February and March, however, has more Piscean energy than normal. The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Chiron, and Neptune are all in Pisces, with Mercury retrograde combined with Mars, Venus combined with Neptune, and the Sun combined with Chiron now at the end of February. The Pisces-Virgo full moon that just occurred on February 25 was within a couple degrees of Chiron in Pisces.
Pisces is an archetype of the infinite and timeless, of the higher Spirit, God, or Goddess interconnecting all of life, in all dimensions and realms. Moving in time with Pisces means moving in rhythm more with kairos time, the opportune or intuitively correct time to do something, more so than chronos time, the chronological time we “should” do something. In Pluto: An Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Jeff Green links the Taoist concept of Wu Wei with the Pisces and the 12th House archetype. Green explained that wu wei is an important Piscean development of awareness to act in accordance with the needs of the eternal now, more so than the needs of our egocentric point of view. Therefore, if decisive action is required, we act directly; if it is a harmonious time to become more internal and self-reflective, we can enter a more contemplative state of being. My cousin, who has been studying the Tao through acupuncture and qi gong, told me that wu wei is “actionless action,” “action without action,” or “doing without doing” because if you are in line with the Cosmos, “then all of your actions are completely in integrity and you influence the world without trying. The political idea (from ancient China) would be a ‘sage king’ who is so attuned with the Universe that the kingdom and all the subjects benefit without him doing anything. The simplest image . . . is to flow like water.”
Now that Mercury is moving retrograde in Pisces, it will take extra effort for us to keep up with chronos time and the deadline-bound demands, expectations, and responsibilities of our daily work and life. It will be harder to make it to work on time or have an expected project completed by a specific deadline unless we place a lot of conscious focus there to make it happen. In contrast, it could be easier to drift off into a more creative, artistic, and reflective pursuit that may on the surface appear to be escapist and not make much sense to the expectations of others around us. We must be careful, however, of escapist desires that are masking deeper wounds in our psyche we do not want to face; the Mercury retrograde and Mars conjunction in Pisces right now is in square to Ceres in Gemini, which could reflect addictions and compulsions we fixate on such as over-eating, drug use, or co-dependent relationships in order to provide for our nurturing needs in a grasping manner, instead of finding ways to nurture ourselves that keep us on a healthier path. Also, remember that Mercury and Mars were traveling together direct in Pisces for most of the month of February before only recently coming into a square with Gemini Ceres; earlier in February Pisces Mercury and Mars were conjunct Chiron in Pisces and squaring Jupiter in Gemini. Thus, throughout February the Mercury and Mars conjunction in Pisces could have reflected us stridently acting and perceiving events from an emotional perspective that could be either distorted by limiting beliefs or past unhealed wounds. In contrast, if we have been working on facing past patterns and issues with intention of transformation, we could make choices from a more intuitively feeling place we have helped cultivate through a mindful practice of some sort that helps us heal and purify our inner psyche to create a healthier root foundation for our actions. Now that Mercury has shifted into a retrograde phase, there could arise more discrepancy between our internal desires for what we want to do with our time and energy versus the external demands of our environment for our time and energy. The strong squares from Gemini Jupiter and Gemini Ceres, the ultimate divine sister and brother team, to all of the intense Pisces energy of the moment could place us in fast moving and shifting situations full of turmoil and chaos.
From my personal experience during this time period, the universe has been asking me to embrace a higher level of frequency and speed in my daily life, a need to attune to quickly shifting needs relating to my daily work responsibilities. My Mercury and Midheaven are at 4 degrees of Pisces and have been especially struck with Pisces transits recently, as well as my Pallas Athena at 9 degrees, and Sun at 28 degrees of Pisces conjunct Jupiter, all in my 10th House. The difficulty has been balancing the myriad needs of my work environment with my own needs for personal time and the needs of loved ones in personal relationship with me. I have felt, however, that the Universe has been asking me to think, process, make choices, and act at a faster rate and a higher frequency, not so much as multi-task as being able to focus on one thing and then shift focus to another. It has felt like an important time of preparation to be ready to face greater responsibilities and challenges in the near future.
The Venus-Neptune conjunction just coming into manifestation at this time can help with a greater heart opening and awareness of where we need to direct our love and energy moment to moment. Venus and Neptune combined in Pisces can certainly lead us down illusionary paths, make us more prone to be lost in a fantasy world. However, if we have been on a path of intention recently to connect more with our true Soul path in life, then this current conjunction of Venus and Neptune can help our heart pierce the shell of crystallized patterns, habits, and emotions we protect our true vulnerability with, for us to open to the potential of expressing unconditional love and faith in our daily life.
In the greater cosmic context of the ripening Pluto-Uranus square, with Saturn in Scorpio moving retrograde, the potential heart opening of Venus and Neptune together in Pisces could even feel shattering. In current events, it is symbolically fitting that the Pope resigned earlier in February with the intense Pisces conjunctions of Mercury, Mars, Neptune, and Chiron, as the structure of the Catholic church is being shaken in a Uranian way for a potential Plutonic transformation. Pisces, an archetype in line with the true message of Jesus, fittingly has intense energy being expressed at the same time a bright light is being shone upon the “viper’s nest” of political intrigue amongst Cardinals and other catholic power structure elite who have been covering up sexual abuse and other corrupt practices within the Church. Whether or not Catholic officials choose to take this moment of “divine intervention” to truly attempt to reform and remake their structure,the opportunity has presented itself.
In our personal lives, the Sun currently being conjunct Chiron in Pisces, the recent conjunctions of Mars and Mercury with Chiron, as well as the conjunction of Venus and Chiron in Pisces in the near future, point to the combined archetypes of Chiron with Pisces being important in this time. The Chiron archetype is often described as a wounded healer ability we have to heal and transform others as a gift from having done the hard work of facing our own wounds. However, Chiron is also the trainer of heroes, and we are being asked to step more deeply into our special heroic identity and destiny at this time. The call of our heroic journey has been more piercing recently because Chiron in Pisces has been in the process of being tested by a square from Jupiter in Gemini. Integral to this process of stepping into our “Hero’s Journey,” as Joseph Campbell so famously illuminated, is the archetype and function of Mercury. Mercury first moved direct conjunct Chiron while being conjunct Mars in Pisces at the same time at the beginning of February. This was a time to begin to harmonize our force of Will (Mars) with how our sense of perception (Mercury) is shaped in relation to our Chiron issues: our wounded past, our special gifts and talents buried in our psyche, and the tremendous strength we can mine from going deep inside to confront our personal demons and fears, gaining the ability to re-emerge with gifts we can share with the people we attract into our life. Recently Mercury stationed retrograde and became conjunct with Mars once again in Pisces, and now Mercury has embarked on his retrograde journey into our personal underworld, eventually becoming conjunct Chiron again moving retrograde, stationing direct around the Spring Equinox, and then moving direct to conjunct Chiron a third time in the Spring of 2013.
To put it all in a mystorical perspective, Mercury moving retrograde in Pisces at this time is like Hermes journeying into the underworld in order to negotiate a release of Persephone from Hades so that she can return to her mother Demeter. The Gemini Ceres squaring the Pisces Mercury-Mars conjunction is like the anger and rage of Demeter over losing her daughter Persephone to the underworld and Hades. She is furious at her brother Zeus for allowing it to happen, and so Zeus convinces Hermes to brave the underworld in order to guide Persephone back to the arms of her mother. Taking my own creative license with the myth, I feel that Demeter as the Great Goddess of Earth and fertility would clearly have had strong opinions about exactly how Hermes should proceed and attend to the safety of her daughter; Hermes, being slippery and intelligent enough to negotiate not only the underworld but also the power of Hades, likewise would have had the ability to hold his own with Demeter in an intense debate about how he would have to negotiate with Hades. Ultimately, Hermes is able to retrieve Persephone from the underworld, but it came at a price that Demeter would have to compromise in a Piscean manner of surrender: Persephone would spend half of the year above ground with her mother Demeter, and the other half of the year presiding over the dead and guiding Souls in the afterlife in the underworld with her partner Hades. The fact that this tragedy that befell Demeter ultimately resulted in our seasons of the year, the glorious fertility of Spring, and our corresponding conscious awareness of the rebirth from death element inherent to creation, means that her letting go of attachment to possessing Persephone has a fated quality linked to the guidance of the angelic realm. This theme can be mirrored in our personal lives today anywhere that we are overly attached to based upon our nurturing needs, needs that often have to do with unresolved wounds from our childhood and later personality development. If we are creating suffering for ourselves because of grasping to control or possess an object of desire, we may be forced to surrender and let go of it in order to find the Piscean faith that our lives will ultimately work out in a manner that will help us heal and rebirth ourselves in a manner for the greatest good. Ceres and the Demeter myth have a lot to teach us about grief: our reactive ego parts of personality may feel like bitterly reacting with vengeance like Demeter, refusing to express our fertile love in our environment, metaphorically refusing to let flowers, life, and the harvest bloom around us. If we keep in mind the wisdom that is often symbolized by the concept of Angelic guides, however, we can keep in mind that new life and creation will come out of the death and grief process, we can realize that new exciting endeavors await us. Reflecting the recent transits of Chiron, Neptune, Mars, Mercury, the Sun, and Venus over the fixed star Fomalhaut, the Archangel available to guide us on our hero’s quest at this time is Gabriel.
The Archangel Gabriel
Fomalhaut is a fixed star at 3°52′ of Pisces, a reddish star in the mouth of the Southern Fish, Piscis Austrinus.
Neptune in Pisces is conjunct Fomalhaut from May 1, 2012 until February 22, 2014.
Neptune will be especially close to Fomalhaut from March 16 until March 31, 2013 (also August 20 until September 7, 2013, and from January 15 until February 1, 2014).
Pisces Mars conjunct Neptune on February 4, 2013 was conjunct Fomalhaut
Pisces Mercury conjunct Neptune on February 6 was conjunct Fomalhaut
Pisces Mercury conjunct Mars on February 8 was conjunct Fomalhaut
Pisces Sun conjunct Neptune on February 20 was conjunct Fomalhaut
Pisces Venus conjunct Neptune on February 28 is conjunct Fomalhaut
Dark Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune on March 10 is conjunct Fomalhaut
Fomalhaut is a fixed star at four degrees of Pisces, also known as the Archangel Gabriel star. In the 3rd Century B.C., Fomalhaut marked zero degrees of Capricorn, the Winter Solstice. It became associated with the archangel Gabriel as one of the four key archangel stars and the watcher of the South, along with Aldebaran (Michael, watcher of the East), Regulus (Raphael, watcher of the North), and Antares (Oriel, watcher of the West). The temple of Demeter at Eleusis held daily sunrise worship of Fomalhaut around 500 B.C.¹ Thus, there is a herstorical and historical connection between the Angel Gabriel and the Goddess Demeter.
Gabriel is an angel who has made appearances in some of the most famous scenes of the dominant world religions of today: in the Bible, he appeared to Daniel to aid in explaining the significance of his visions, he is the angel who appeared to the Virgin Mary in order to explain about the birth of Jesus, and he also appeared to Zechariah to foretell the birth of John the Baptist. In the Qu’ran, Gabrielle is the angel who delivers the message of the Qu’ran to the prophet Muhammad³. Thus, there is an otherworldly quality to Fomalhaut and Gabrielle that go well with the energy of Pisces: an ability to perceive beyond the limitations we often put upon our reality, to feel the meaning of visions and dreams, and to also have the ability to communicate the significance of these visions in a message that others can understand.
Fomalhaut seems to be a misunderstood star that is similar to the archetype of Pisces, known to reflect poetic, artistic, and spiritual gifts as well as propensity toward illusion and delusion². Those who have the ability to perceive more of the phenomenal world than others who are more limited by consensus reality, run the risk of being labeled crazy by authorities of consensus reality. Apparently, Ptolemy viewed Fomalhaut as having the nature of Venus and Mercury, and many astrologers today see it as combining the archetype of Neptune as well¹. With Neptune currently being conjunct Fomalhaut as well as Venus, we can be guided at this time to write or create art, transform whatever difficulties or stress we are dealing with into poetry and art. Gabriel is the most poetic, artistic, and magical of the four archangels, and the most peaceful as well². The otherworldly quality of this star being transited by Neptune and Venus now could reflect a propensity of ours to become more spaced out, less grounded, and more inwardly focused upon ourselves and our spiritual or artistic interests– ideal for a time period in which Mercury is retrograde in Pisces.
Similar to warnings about the Pisces archetype, we must be careful to not perceive ourselves, our reality, and others around us in relationship through the lens of being a victim when we are dealing with the Fomalhaut archetype. Instead of using our perceptual abilities to see beyond reality in order to express spiritual visions or artistic depths, we distortedly filter everything through a victimizing perspective that sees or feels things that are not truly there. We can become victim of our own thoughts and beliefs that lead us to our own suffering. Put those hard feelings into some form of art instead! Through the process of art and creativity, we can express a larger spectrum of our feelings and emotions, integrating greater meaning into the complex archetypal symbolism of a fairy tale or artwork than we could by trying to more logically explain what has been difficult about our experiences.
A famous example is the late Olympia singer songwriter Kurt Cobain, born with his Sun, his soul purpose, conjunct Fomalhaut. Kurt put his difficulties as a homeless youth with mental health issues into his art, his guitar playing, and channeled his heart through his voice into songs, lyrics, and a primal scream that connected with millions of youth crossing through their individuation process while expressing the message of the punk lifestyle deep into mainstream and consensus consciousness, temporarily taking over the corporate media outlets even. He was able to attract widespread fame and a massive generational audience to his work, able to pierce through mass consciousness to a core feeling of Piscean empathy that crossed over many diverse audience backgrounds. Fomalhaut is a Piscean and angelic archetype that knows how to navigate the avenues of fame and fortune, following illusion after illusion at times.
In our retelling of the Persephone myth, I can imagine the Archangel Gabriel watching over and helping a hurt and grieving Ceres come to a greater understanding of the great prophecy and mystery she is becoming a part of, a story that did indeed become embedded in the Eleusian Mysteries. According to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses, the Eleusinian Mysteries were enacted for two thousand years (1600 BC to 400 AD) and were the major initiation rites in the ancient world. George described “the esoteric level taught by the initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries…[was] the great transformation mystery- the cycle of birth, death, and renewal” (p.44). Integrating esoteric knowledge into initiation rituals in which participants re-enact characters and events of ancient myths seems like a perfect use of the poetic Fomalhaut archetype. From the mythic perspective, by releasing her daughter to become the Queen of the underworld who can help guide the Souls of the dead to their eventual rebirth, Ceres is able to contribute to greater collective spiritual understanding as well as gain the ability to spend quality time on Earth with her daughter in the Spring and Summer.
Ceres stationed direct on February 10, 2013 in Gemini at 20 degrees. Gemini Ceres was inconjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio at this time.
The Heliocentric North Node of Ceres is 20 degrees Gemini
Pisces Mercury stationed retrograde in square to Gemini Ceres on February 23, 2013
Gemini Ceres squared the conjunction of Mercury retrograde and Mars in Pisces on February 26, 2013
Venus in Pisces will square Ceres in Gemini on March 18, 2013
The North Node of the Moon in Scorpio has been inconjunct Ceres in Gemini from Ferbruary 7 until March 1, 2013.
The asteroid Persephone is currently conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio and widely conjunct Saturn retrograde in Scorpio
The asteroid Persephone will station retrograde conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio at 18 degrees on March 14, 2013
The asteroid Persephone will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio at 18 degrees from March 24 until March 26, 2013
The asteroid Persephone will eventually be conjunct Saturn retrograde in Scorpio on May 28, 2013 at 7 degrees.
Ceres, also known as Demeter in Greek myth, recently stationed direct at 20 degrees of Gemini on February 10, 2013. This zodiacal degree is especially significant because it is the heliocentric north node of Ceres: meaning the north node from the perspective of the Sun (in contrast to the geocentric nodes, from the perspective of Earth, commonly used by astrologers). At the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology conference, Demetra George gave a brilliant lecture on Ceres in which she illuminated the meaning of this heliocentric Gemini north node: the development of the rational or logical mind in Femininity and Matriarchal consciousness. When Demetra was speaking (in November 2011) I tried to write down as much of her message as possible, the fruits of which follow in the passages below.
Developing our rational or logical minds may seem unnecessary in this time period we find ourselves in, dominated by a cultural worldview that is overly rational and negates the feelings of the Anima Mundi that runs through all of life. Instead of feeling the energy and messages in the trees, animals, water, and life around us, many in the dominant culture choose to view human beings and the narrow pursuits of humans as being the only viable life force to take account of. However, while paying attention to our intuition is important, there can be something to be said for developing our logic when we fall victim to our emotions and feelings overwhelming us to such an extent that we begin to perceive things in distorted ways unconnected from reality and what the universe is providing for us to act upon in a moment of grounded presence. We can also use our rational mind to analyze past patterns of behavior to see where we have been stuck or distorted with our thought patterns and work to begin to shift our perspective through mindful practices of gratitude, creative affirmations, or other techniques.
Thus, if the heliocentric North Node of Ceres is Gemini, it draws attention to an evolutionary development of the archetype away from the dogmatic beliefs of it’s heliocentric South Node in Sagitarius. Sagitarius can be helpful at times through development of a strong value and belief system we can act from through intuition at any moment. However, when we become stuck or fixated in a certain belief system, believe that others should also have the same belief system perspective that we do, attempt to convince or manipulate others to develop the same belief system as ourselves, or become stuck on a certain belief that is ultimately creating a limited perspective of reality for us, that is when we are heading into the dogmatic danger zone of Sagitarius. There is a reason we humans developed the scientific method, after all, and there is good use the Goddess Ceres can make of it. The logic and rational elements of the scientific method, the mutable nature of it that can shift perspective according to evidence manifesting in reality, is after all how humans such as Kepler and Copernicus were able to prove that our planet is revolving around a Sun in a greater universe, as opposed to the universe revolving around our planet.
Along these lines, in the myth Ceres is so devastated by the loss of her daughter Persephone that she loses connection with her passion and purpose to bring fertility to the Earth, and the Earth goes barren as a result. Ceres uses opiates to escape from her pain and clearly views herself to be a victim in the scenario. Unfortunately, events take an even greater tragic turn when she becomes raped by Poseidon, aka Neptune. This event not only symbolizes the oppression we are at risk of undergoing from the Patriarchy, especially women, it also symbolizes the indescribably tragic horrors that can happen to us when we become overwhelmed by our emotions to such an extent that we lose connection with our passions and purpose in life. Lots of Pisces energy does not mean everyone is going to be mellow and meditative; instead, there is the potential for lots of anger, escapism, addictions, and rage, especially with Mars and Mercury conjunct in Pisces.
However, the healing of Ceres from the rape of Poseidon reveals another Piscean avenue of healing: purification from water. Ceres releases and heals her anger and rage at Poseidon while taking a bath in a river. Although she may have become angry or argumentative with Mercury for not being able to retrieve Persephone so that they could spend the entire year together, in the end, through many trials and tribulations, Ceres is able to gain the logical perception that being able to have her daughter back with her for at least half of the year is better than nothing, and finally that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few in this case because of the multitudes of Souls her daughter will be able to help and heal through returning to the underworld to rule over the kingdom of the Dead.
Synchronistically, the asteroid Persephone at this moment in time is moving with the evolutionary journey of everyone on this planet, currently moving toward a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio. This will become even more intense in mid-March when Persephone will station retrograde conjunct the Scorpio North Node, and then move backwards along with the retrograde motion of the North Node. Eventually in late May of 2013, Persephone will have moved far enough back in Scorpio to be conjunct Saturn in Scorpio. The amazing symbolism of these cosmic events clearly highlights the Scorpio power that Persephone ultimately claims for herself in the myth by owning her relationship with Pluto and becoming the Queen of the underworld who is able to help guide and heal the Souls of the dead. In our own lives, we can step into this power no matter how difficult, tragic, oppressive, or cataclysmic our experiences feel: if we face the situation courageously we will activate a deep well of ability we may not normally utilize inside of our self. Persephone does not end up being a victim: she becomes the Queen of Spirit.
Therefore, Persephone is connected with our evolutionary journey forward at this time. According to Demetra George in Finding Our Way Through the Dark, the Persephone archetype in our birth charts involve issues surrounding our separation from our mother and “how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment” (p. 101). Persephone in Scorpio is making this underworld feeling described by Demetra George even more intense:
This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed. Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimization, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others (p. 101).
Persephone in Scorpio also reflects our potential to step into the eagle aspect of the archetype, taking responsibility and power in our own daily lives and being an effective guide for the transformation of others. Scorpio Persephone could reflect a latent psychic gift inside our psyche awaiting our cultivation and development.
In contrast, Ceres in Gemini will be showing up in our lives as themes, issues, events, and people in which or with which we have a nurturing role or relationship. Certainly anything that has to do with the birth or raising of our own biological children or issues with our parents, but also anywhere in our lives in which we are taking on a nurturing role with more of a collective family. For example, anyone who is a teacher knows the caring vibration you develop for your students, and anyone who works in the social services, mental health field, or medical field, also is well aware of the caring vibration you develop for the people coming to you looking for healing. Challenges with the people we are working with to help may be triggered at this time, calling us to devise more effective methods at meeting their needs, but more importantly helping them meet their own needs. Our work with Ceres in Gemini at this time will involve the use of our Mercurial functions of perception, analysis, and communication in order to help nurture ourselves so that we can be come strong nurturers and advocates for others. In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George described another Mercurial Ceres issue we may be dealing with now, as she explained that stressful aspects between Ceres and Mercury “indicate difficulties in communicating one’s nurturance needs to others, especially the family. A common example is the person who expects others to know what he or she needs without having to say so, and becomes angry when the other person doesn’t ‘come through’” (p. 72). George also described stressful aspects between Mars and Ceres as reflecting feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, or powerlessness and that the resolution is to balance “self-will with the desire to nurture and be nurtured” (p. 73). We can use Mercurial functions to help with this such as creative affirmations or visualization- in any case, George suggests that we remember we have the opportunity to transform our “subconscious self-image and replace thoughts of fear and inadequacy with those of confidence, courage, and self-reliance” (p. 73).
Interestingly, this pairing of Ceres with Mercurial functions goes very nicely with the elevation of Ceres to dwarf planet status, the same planetary classification as her nemesis Pluto. In the December/January issue of The Mountain Astrologer, Maria Kay Simms elucidated a logical argument for making Ceres the modern day ruler of Virgo. Not only is the Goddess Ceres the actual constellation used with the Virgo archetype, going step-by-step through the assignment of modern day planetary rulership would make Virgo the next in line to receive a modern day ruler, which in synchronicity happens to be Ceres (Ceres was elevated to current planetary status in 2006; since Eris was elevated in 2003, Simms in the same article argues that Eris should be the modern day ruler of Libra).
Mercury is retrograde in Pisces from February 23 until March 17, 2013
Mercury in Pisces moves direct beyond the “retrograde shadow” stationing point on April 6, 2013
Mercury and Neptune conjunct in Pisces on February 6, 2013 at 3 degrees.
Mercury and Mars conjunct in Pisces on February 8 at 6 degrees, in square to Jupiter in Gemini.
Mercury retrograde and Mars conjunct in Pisces on February 26 at 20 degrees, in square to Ceres in Gemini.
Venus conjunct Mercury retrograde in Pisces on March 6 at 12 degrees, in square to Jupiter in Gemini.
Mercury will have final square with Ceres in this cycle on April 16, 2013 with Mercury in Aries and Ceres in Cancer at 4 degrees. The Mercury-Ceres square of this time will be within 5-7 degrees of the Uranus-Pluto square.
Mercury will have final conjunction with Mars in this cycle in Taurus at 14 degrees on May 7, 2013.
Pisces in Mercury may make some think of a poet, or an overly sensitive dreamer who lacks assertion, but during this time in which Mercury and Mars are traveling together in Pisces the energy will be more like a strident Pegasus stubbornly breaking free of any attempt to reign the energy in. As I wrote about in one of my first blog posts in August 2012, I love the heroic quality of the Mercury archetype, who appears in myths as Hermes or Mercury over and over again to make truly miraculous acts of heroic rescue. Mercury is the one God who is repeatedly able to travel down to the depths of the underworld and handle himself enough to rescue a Soul in order for a return to the upperworld. In the myth of Demeter and Persephone, Zeus knows that the only being capable of negotiating a return of Persephone from Pluto back to her mother Demeter, is Hermes.
On an archetypal psychology level, we are able to use our Mercurial functions of perception to explore our dreams, visions, and unconscious patterns that can have great impact on how we are perceiving reality on a conscious level. When Mercury travels retrograde, it is like the same symbolic movement of Hermes traveling into the underworld to communicate with Persephone. Before Persephone was abducted by Pluto, or chose to go with Pluto as the more ancient versions before the invasion of the Patriarchy tell it, she was a young maiden who had not yet explored the dark depths of her psyche or come to an understanding of the unconscious elements of her psyche that influence her daily conscious choices. For example, if she really chose to be taken by Pluto at that time, was she really aware of why she would have been attracting that situation to herself? In the end, whether or not she chose to be taken by Pluto does not really matter because Persephone ultimately faced the reality of her situation of being trapped in the underworld and stepped fully into her power as the Queen of the Spirit world. When Mercury finally reaches her, he is not able to negotiate a complete release of Persephone back to her mother Demeter and the lush green world of the Earth’s surface. As a result, Persephone becomes a bridge between the upperworld and the underworld, between the unconscious and the conscious, and a powerful symbol of the human ability to explore archetypal patterns of our collective and individual consciousness, and to guide others toward a healing and holistic rebirth of their fractured and fragmented unconscious.
The heroic ability of Mercury in myth to travel back and forth from the underworld to the upperworld, from the unconscious to the conscious, mirrors the human ability to use our minds and perceptions to explore what can appear like otherworldy phenomenon that can be at the root of our perceptual nature. When Carl Jung wrote and illustrated his Red Book, for example, he may on the surface have appeared to be lost and crazy to others. However, the legacy of the work he was able to take from his Red Book explorations, his ability to also use his Mercury function to then logically structure writing and communication that could express some of the unexpressable knowledge he had received to a mass audience, ultimately caused a collective revolution in psyche that is being used today by countless healers to help others find and heal themselves.
This ability of Mercury to bring logical written form and structure to otherworldly perceptions and visions, to encode the meaning of the message in the form of a myth, story, or fairy tale, or more analytically organize the message into a more academic psychological or scientific theory, is the power of Mercury in Pisces combined with Fomalhaut, the archangel Gabriel. In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George described how the myth of Ceres versus Pluto was used to transmit esoteric knowledge and healing to participants, and how this transformative process is reflected today in Mercurial explorations of our inner psyche:
Within the framework of this archetypal drama, the Eleusinian Mysteries led their initiates through the drama of Ceres and Persephone, of loss and return. First, the story was retold; then, in the Lesser Mysteries, the participants identified with the story’s action; finally, in the Greater Mysteries, they received a vision and revelation that the great mythic drama took place within themselves. These rites are still taking place today, as reported by psychotherapists who have observed the symbols of the ancient initiatory process emerging in their patients’dreams and fantasies. Thus, Ceres’ rites of passage are now being lived out on the inner planes as stages of psychic transformation (p. 45).
Just as the angel Gabriel brought the message of the Qu’ran to the prophet Muhammad, the message of the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary, so can we make sense and order out of perceptions we have during this time that may seem wild and illogical at first. At the beginning of February, Mercury was moving direct conjunct Fomalhaut at the same time it was conjunct Neptune and Mars; days before the Spring Equinox when Mercury stations direct it will be in range of a conjunction to Fomalhaut once again. And then Mercury will move direct and eventually be conjunct Mars for the final time in this cycle on May 7, at the height of Spring in full bloom, a potentially peak time to fully manifest the visions currently simmering inside. At this Spring Equinox, as Persephone returns from the underworld to her mother Demeter, as flowers rise out of the earth, and birdsong returns to the trees, we will likewise have the opportunity to bring form, order, and manifestation to new visions arising from within.
- George, Demetra. Asteroid Goddesses.
- George, Demetra. Finding Our Way through the Dark.
- Green, Jeff. Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul.
Ah, that Hermes, a crafty fellow who causes much mischief, but at the same time often shows up to save the day in myths, such as braving the underworld to rescue Persephone. During much of this past Summer, the planet Mercury has gone through a long strange trip through the sign of Leo, an odyssey that will be culminating with the Full Moon and Blue Moon in Pisces this upcoming Friday: as Mercury reaches the final degrees of Leo during the Full Moon, it will be in range of opposing Neptune and will exactly oppose Pisces Neptune the next day.
I believe myths reflect the wisdom in the stars and can bring to life a lot of the complex interplanetary dynamics we astrologers love to discuss. With Mercury moving into an opposition with Neptune in Pisces this week, it brings to mind many of the Neptunian myths, the journey of Odysseus among them. In The Odyssey Odysseus primarily has the path of guiding his men back to their home, and himself back to the arms of his wife, Penelope, waiting at home for him. Odysseus and Poseidon (Neptune) square off at many points, but some of the greatest dangers Odysseus gets himself and his men into stems from his Neptunian trysts with the Goddesses Calypso and Circe. Each of these goddesses keeps Oddysseus in their arms as their lover for great lengths of time, Calypso keeping him as her lover for seven years on her island according to Homer! With each Odysseus seems incapable of breaking himself free, reveling in his ecstatic union with each Goddess, while temporarily neglecting his mission to guide himself and his men to their homeland. It is Hermes, or Mercury, who in each instance is able to appear and offer a solution for Odysseus to separate from his Goddess lover. Not that loving a Goddess is wrong in itself, it’s just Odysseus had a clear mission that was put in jeopardy of coming to fruition due to his choice of focusing on the fruits of his Goddess affairs.
In The Odyssey Hermes is able to talk Calypso into letting go of Odysseus through direct language. Calypso is portrayed as a lovely Goddess who plays enchanting music and wants to keep Odysseus as her lover, hoping to make him immortal in his love with her. Hermes negotiates with her to release Odysseus, and seems a little heavy handed with telling her that Zeus (Jupiter) will send repercussions otherwise, but this is sort of what can happen to us when we drift off our path into delights of our senses that begin to pull us away from the path that will lead us to the highest good for ourselves and all other beings- sooner or later something, at times even a crisis, makes us realize we are off-track. And Odysseus does realize he misses Penelope even though she isn’t a beautiful Goddess like Calypso, and he wants to leave to return home. In contrast, Circe is portrayed as more of a manipulating Goddess who casts spells and turns Odysseus’ men into pigs! Again, Hermes comes to the rescue by showing Odysseus the herb Moly that will protect him from the spells of Circe, and gives him clear directions with how to deal with Circe, at the same time warning him that she will become attracted to him as a result. Although Odysseus protects himself from her spell through the use of the herb, he still remains with Circe for a long time as her lover in her deep wooded setting. To me, this example symbolizes the Mercury function of being able to research and categorize healing protections as well as come up with strategies or disciplines to get out of difficulties. But at the same time, in the end we have to make the hard decisions for ourselves to break out of pleasant situations pulling ourselves off our path and get ourselves moving forward again on our path. Recently we have been experiencing astrological transits reflecting a lot of illusions and confusing experiences baffling many, pulling many off the track of their true path. Like Odysseus, many of us could use the help and skill of clear-headed Mercury at this time.
In the past month or so, in the midst of the intense Pluto-Uranus square, the new era of Neptune in Pisces has been ushered in more intensely with a square aspect between Pisces Neptune, Sagitarius North Node of the Moon, and Gemini South Node of the Moon. In times ripe with illusion, when many are feeling confused and disoriented about what is illusionary and what is true insight, while others are living an illusion in complete denial of it, one of the most helpful skills to hold is discernment. The planetary function of Mercury is involved with discernment, as it not only has to do with the way we communicate, it also has to do with the way we perceive phenomenal reality as part of our thinking, reflecting, and communicating process. Recently Mercury went through a retrograde phase and is now moving forward again and picking up speed, having moved out of it’s “shadow” period of retrograde motion last week.
The Sabian symbols can offer us some insight into how Leo Mercury can help us. On July 14, 2012 Mercury stationed retrograde at 13 degrees Leo:
Leo 13: An old sea captain rocking
This is a symbol of man’s great love for reliving his experiences in memory, and of his gift for achieving a mastery in advance of whatever new situations he may face by bringing all the ramifying relationships to a focus in a personal and competent grasp of their more pertinent potentialities.
—Marc Edmond Jones, The Sabian Symbols
So just as the “old sea captain” makes me think of Odysseus, more important is the emphasis on retrospect and reflection, reliving experiences from memory- a perfect symbol for any Mercury retrograde period, and a clue that part of our task has been to sort through Neptunian confusion, and to make an honest reflection about all of our relationships. Events may have been disorienting, and Mercury has asked us to confront our responsibility in the difficulties we have experienced, as well as our responsibility in bringing ourselves self-fulfillment.
On August 7, 2012 Mercury stationed direct at 2 degrees of Leo, while making a quincunx aspect with Pisces Neptune, trining the Sagitarius North Node and sextiling the Gemini South Node, while Pisces Neptune was intensely squaring these same nodes at the same time. Again the Sabian symbol described by Marc Edmund Jones in his book The Sabian Symbols is illuminating:
Leo 2: An epidemic of mumps
This is a symbol of personal capacities wholly out of hand, and of the momentary appeal of escapist ideas whenever the self fails to remain alive to its own immediate needs or ultimate interests. The reversed symbolism emphasizes the absolute necessity laid on every living spirit, that somehow it retain a passionate sensitiveness to the practical import or organic usefulness of everything it encounters in its everyday situation.
So, to help propel us forward toward our collective soul direction at this time (and the Sabian symbol for the North Node at this time fittingly was “The ocean covered with whitecaps”) we need to pay more attention than normal to our practical needs on a daily basis, what is truly feeding us in our day-to-day life— but to be clear this means what is practical in helping us live our highest good, in a way that will help bring light and love for the highest good of all beings in our world— what is feeding our Soul life our true soul development. Sometimes escapism can be more obvious like going out to a bar and getting drunk, or sitting around watching superficial television or movies, but other times we may think we are doing what we are called for, when what is calling us is truly an illusion. Take Paul Ryan, for example. During this time period Paul Ryan became the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party- he wholeheartedly believes what he believes, and it is portrayed as good home common sense. But in reality his philosophy is deeply rooted in the novelist Ayn Rand, who at the end of the day is more of an escapist read at the beach than a fully spiritually realized soul imparting deep wisdom on our planet.
Likewise many of us may have been wrapped up in a belief during this time period we felt was serving out highest good, only to experience the disillusionment of the universal truth of that belief falling apart. We are constantly being bombarded by images from our friends and strangers via social media networks, as well as manipulative images from the media aimed at manipulating our desires. As upsetting as periods of disillusionment can be, however, what is helpful about them is that they let us know we have gotten off track and that we need to re-center and find our true path again. How do we discern when we are following our true soul path, versus when we are thinking that we are but are actually following an illusion that is separating us from our true path? Today as I was contemplating the best words to choose to answer this question, I bought the new astrology report written by my astrology teacher, Rosie Finn, and I had to laugh, as Rosie answered this question very well in her own writing!
Also, desires are spread. We want something because our senses have been accosted, influencing us to want it and we lose track of our soul longing. When we are tuned into our soul longing we feel it on every level. A ringing vibration moves through us. Our hair stands up. We get a chill. We feel it all over. When a desire co-opts our longing, we feel agitated, like we are missing something. When we feel a true soul longing, the feeling itself satisfies us. It is our own unique journey that is being high lighted. We know our next step. We may feel loss but not agitation, not anxiety, not distress. We feel a direction when we feel our soul longing.
–Rosie Finn, from the September 2012 Plants and Planets
As the Pisces Full Moon this Friday approaches, Pisces Neptune is still in range of squaring the lunar nodes, and the disorientation of this could get all the more confusing once Mercury gets to the end of Leo and in range of opposing Neptune. To make things even more intense, this upcoming Full Moon will be conjunct Chiron in Pisces, meaning that some of our deepest emotional wounds could be triggered. While getting emotionally triggerred can make us even more disorientated than normal, if we have been clearing and letting go during this recent time, moving with the changes reflected by the Uranus-Pluto square, and doing or moving toward our soul work, this week could instead be a moment to connect with inner divinity, illumination, God, Goddess, Great Spirit, what you want to call it. If we can have the courage to face our deepest emotional wounds and not look for ways to escape our reality and our true path, it may not be easy, it may be extremely emotional, but at least the energy can ultimately be cathartic and propel us forward, instead of further into confusion and away from the path calling to us.
Crystal Shipsss, a psyche-delic band from Berlin, recently passed through Olympia. Jacob Faurholt writes the songs and is touring the USA at the moment with his girlfriend accompanying him, showcasing their new 10 inch album very worth a listen (on youtube also check the song “Smile” and “Uh-huh” and others under his real name). Jacob sometimes confronts aspects of his own mind in his lyrics, other times confronts the opinion of mental health officials calling him crazy, other times just weaves an artful work of words- one of those artists who you know where they are coming from. He told me he loves the bands Galaxie 500 and Guided by Voices, and so does share aesthetic sensibilities with me.
During this time of Pisces Neptune squaring the Nodes in Gemini (South)-Sagiatrius (North) with Capricorn Pluto Uranus squaring Aries Uranus at the same time, some of us may have been experiencing some disorientation and strange trips of the mind, while others may be lost in an illusion and be in complete denial of it, even thinking it is perfectly “normal.” As I will explore in a subsequent blog post, Mercury in Leo was first trine Uranus / sextile Pluto on July 2-5, 2012, then stationed retrograde and passed back over this point July 24-28, and then stationed direct on August 7 in quincunx to the Pisces Neptune and trine North Node / sextile South Node. Today Mercury has moved back forward to once again be trine to Uranus and quincunx to Pluto within their intense square dynamic.
So, I feel at this time the geyser imagery in this video by Crystal Shipsss goes along with Mercury’s recent trip through Leo forwards and backwards and forwards again, linking the Neptune-Nodal square with the Uranus-Pluto square- today and in the next few days this arrangement in the stars could reflect an internal eruption we experience from within- sudden insights, sudden upsurges of feelings and emotions, hopefully which will also include insight along with the inspiration. More to come about this . . .