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Best evening for ritual: March 10 (Tuesday)
Theme: Carve out your goals
The energy of this Moon is dominated by the close proximity of Saturn. Together in Virgo, the Moon and Saturn seek to crystallize our creative intentions, giving them focus and character. Venus has lost touch with Mars, but now has a new sextile partner, Jupiter. They fuel our attraction for grand ideas and life-changing projects. The Sun in Pisces is unable to contribute any focusing or narrowing of these visions, but the passage of the Moon near Saturn tonight is an opportunity to tie things down. (The actual time of the Saturn-Moon conjuction is 4:26 pm.)
Use the Full Moon tonight to select one or two things to focus on from out of the cornucopia of hopes, visions, and ideals. Find the symbolic center of your intentions and let it be your guide and frame for the coming month.
Affirmations for this Moon:
I can see the next step.
I take my goals in hand.
I know what to create this day.
Out of many, comes the one.
The Dark Moon occurs this Saturday at 1:58 pm (here in New Mexico), so either Friday night or Saturday night is suitable for ritual or divination.
This Dark Moon in Virgo finally brings to a head all those issues Saturn and Jupiter have been bringing to our attention this year: organizing our time and efforts, being productive and successful, and creating something useful for others. The Moon and Sun are only about three degrees from Saturn on Saturday. (The Moon overtakes him Saturday night at about 8:30, which could be an especially powerful time for connecting with the Saturnian energies of this Moon. The Sun overtakes Saturn on Wednesday.) Saturn is closely trine with Jupiter at this time also, an energy which is still building to its peak – the aspect becomes exact on September 8. The Saturn-Jupiter trine has the potential to bring us some very powerful gifts of understanding and perspective concerning productivity and success in our efforts, if only we can take their lessons to heart, which is what the Moon offers us this weekend: a window into the subconscious, helping us understand how and why we work. This is the time to find answers about what keeps us from bringing projects to fruition, and what helps us to do so.
Mercury and Venus have just entered Libra as a team, and remind us that sometimes we can find these answers about our own work through conversation and communion with a friend or loved one. Mars’s placement nearby in Libra can make some of these conversations seem choppy or contrary, but if we don’t fix on those feelings, we can find some good ideas emerging from our interaction with others.
Questions for this Moon:
How do I bring my ideas to fruition?
What does my work give to others?
How can I put my time and energy to best use?
What is my own true and easy style of working?
Today’s card comes from the Thoth Tarot, designed by Aleister Crowley and illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. The card bears considerable esoteric symbolism. In the Golden Dawn system of tarot correspondences, The Hermit corresponds to the sign of Virgo, and hence we see the shafts of wheat forming the background. The Hebrew letter for the card is Yod, the first letter of the divine name. Yod means “hand”, and so the Hermit’s hand is at the center of the card. Virgo is ruled by Mercury (Hermes), who served as the psychopomp figure in mythology and esoteric philosophy, guiding souls between heaven, earth, and the underworld. Hence we see Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Hades, as the Hermit’s companion. The spermatozoon and serpent-coiled egg reinforce Virgo’s fertility theme, although we are dealing now with an esoteric understanding of fertility – the creative interplay between matter and spirit that gives rise to creation.
On the Qabbalistic Tree of Life, the Hermit card is assigned to the path from Chesed to Tiphareth. It thus represents divine life and blessing streaming into the soul center, symbolized by the sun-like light in the Hermit’s lantern.
More literally, the Hermit is a monk or other religious seeker who shuns the company of humanity to undertake an inward journey of discovery and transformation. He carries his lantern with him into the lonely and dark places, seeking to bring hidden truth to light.
As Crowley remarks, the legend of Persephone helps bind these diverse ideas together. Persephone, a maiden goddess with agricultural associations (hence Virgo) is taken into the underworld by Hades (hence Cerberus), where she finds her own power as Queen of the Dead, striking a bargain in which she travels between the Underworld and the surface (to ensure the continued fertility of the earth), with Hermes of course being the messenger and guide.
In The Hermit, we see how new life arises from what might seem like a bleak and solitary journey beneath the earth. Only by carrying the light of spirit into the deep places of body, memory, and unconsciousness can return to the surface realities of life and make them fruitful and vivid.
When I began my study of tarot, The Hermit was my special card, just because my personality was naturally inclined toward privacy, solitude, and study. (The Led Zeppelin album didn’t hurt either.) But The Hermit, like all the cards of the major arcana, is not just a personality type, but is a teacher, a guide on a great journey through different layers of experience and understanding. The Hermit is solitary not just because solitary study suits him, but because his mission of discovery and transformation can only be achieved in the interior landscape of contemplation.
He knows the way in.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Saturn, I thought I would turn to Saturn’s placement in the stars at this time, and the astrological implications for us.
Saturn entered the sign of Virgo in September last year, and will not leave Virgo for good until July 2010. (There will be a short dip into Libra and back again in late 2009 and early 2010.) Because of precession, the sign of Virgo is now located in the part of the sky where we see the constellation Leo. You can easily spot Saturn in the sky. Go out in the evening, after it is dark, and look toward the southwest. You should be able to see the star pattern in this illustration (it may appear tilted in a counterclockwise direction, depending on what time in the evening it is). Leo is recognizable because of its “backward question mark” that makes the front of the lion, and the triangle that makes his tail and hind quarters. The bright star at the base of the “question mark” (the lion’s front leg) is called Regulus (“little king” in Latin). Saturn is to be seen just to the left (east) of Regulus, and is actually brighter than it.
What are the implications of Saturn in Virgo? My own picturesque title for Virgo is “releaser of the harvest”. Virgo takes the brunt of a lot of astrological humor, because of its predilection toward organization and focus on detail. Although there is truth in this, it is important to step back and appreciate the motivations that underly Virgo’s nature. Virgo is a mutable earth sign. It seeks out tangible, tactile activities that create something new and useful. Virgo’s nature is actually quite creative, but it prefers hands-on creativity to the “head in the clouds” musings we sometimes associate with the creative temperament. Virgo seeks to master the practical realities of things in order to transform them into something of value. The Sun is in Virgo during harvest time, and the harvest is a perfect symbol of what Virgo is about: The care and labor that went into raising the season’s crop of grain is transformed into the miracle of bread and nourishment.
When Saturn is in Virgo, he becomes focused on practical work and what it creates for our benefit and nourishment. Unlike Mercury, Virgo’s natural ruler, he finds little delight in skill and craft for its own sake, instead focusing on the product and the discipline required to produce it. His lesson for us at this time is the importance of planning, procedure, and productive work. He will lay down the law on us if our preparations are haphazard or if we don’t manage our time. Saturn in Virgo will find a way to make that seemingly minor detail you forgot to plan for into the linchpin of the whole project, just to illustrate the importance of thoroughness.
Saturn’s energy is relatively subdued now, as he is closing out a retrograde period. At the beginning of May, though, he goes direct again, and we can expect to see some of his lessons hit home with a bit more drama and finality.
Saturn’s effect will be felt strongest by those born with Saturn in Virgo. Most people born in 1978, 1979, and 1980 will be experiencing their first “Saturn return” this year or next. Most of us, during our first decade of young adulthood, develop strategies to appease or evade our Saturn issues. But when Saturn completes its journey around the zodiac and returns to its placement at birth, it can teach us that we haven’t taken care of things very well after all. If you were born with Saturn in Virgo, this time may teach you some very dramatic lessons in the importance of thorough planning.
I’ve also found that Saturn is prone to get to us by transiting our natal Sun. The Sun represents our personal sense of mission and identity, and makes a good target for Saturn’s ego-bludgeoning methods. If your Sun sign is Pisces, Saturn’s time in Virgo can manifest as an apparent conflict between wanting to “go with the flow” and the demands of planning and proactive work.
People born under a Gemini or Sagittarius Sun can also expect some frustrations during this time, as their natural activity, volatility, and curiosity gets reined in by Saturn’s plodding attention to detail.
How do we use Saturn’s time in Virgo productively? The answer will be somewhat different for each of us, as we have different resources to draw on. A good starting place, though, is to take on some productive projects that appeal to you, and be open to developing your organizational skills along the way. Obsessing on the failures and victories can set you up for an unhappy roller coaster ride, though, so try to keep some objectivity about the projects you undertake, and see them as a learning experience. And – who knows – there may be something good to harvest from them in a couple years.