Bridge over a creek

NB: All dates are US/Pacific time or UTC -8h.

This week, messenger Mercury returns to the sign of Sagittarius (Dec. 12 to Jan. 4) post-retrograde, adding to the exaggeration, overestimation of capacity and glossing over of important details that the self-centered Sun plus jolly Jupiter in Sagittarius can represent. While these placements can be great for big picture visioning, some of us will need to be extra tidy with details and mindful to stop talk-talk-talking and actually take in other people’s information and experience. Good intentions can actually interfere with desirable outcomes. At the same time, the lightness, optimism and hopefulness offered by the next two weeks of Sagittarian emphasis is a welcome counterpoint to all the heaviness and intensity of the strengthening Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which will come within three degrees of exact next April. The closer planets are in aspect to each other, the more vivid their correlations become and the grim reaper energy of Saturn meeting the irresistible inevitability of Pluto is about as dramatic as it gets in terms of depth and the possessive effect of archetypes.

To quote the founder of archetypal psychology, James Hillman: “By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable with a God.” Hence the practice of astrology that ideally allows us to take a step back from the archetype’s narrative of the world and be a little more responsive and a little less reactive (maybe). It’s even possible to honor the power of archetypes by deliberately engaging with the unique perceptions and powers of their cosmic vision and invite them to play along with stories you would like to enact. Although we mere mortals do not always understand the rules of the games these deities play, and we certainly struggle enough with our own self-control! it is very worthwhile to work on becoming more conscious of archetypes and their significant influence. We are all already puppets of these cosmological powers, enacting their tendencies without even trying.

Meditating Buddha with tea service

With that in mind, the first quarter of the Moon (Dec. 15) could stir an emotional challenge to our search for meaning—a good cry in a hot bath could do wonders to clear our heart-minds. Then on Dec. 16, socializing Venus makes her exact sextile to Saturn and feisty Mars makes his exact sextile to Pluto. A combination of irritation, enthusiasm, confidence and uncertainty could bring us face to face with some of the major themes in our particular lives that are contained within the much larger movement of Saturn-Pluto (2018–2021).

The sextile aspects especially point to the role of mentors, teachers, counselors and guides in our lives. Since Mars and Venus are concerned with pursuit, being pursued and our likes and dislikes, we might guide our reflections with another quote from James Hillman:

“Loving in safety is the smaller part of loving.”

To be clear, when I say “major themes” related to the longer Saturn-Pluto transit, I am referring to the predominant storylines, relationships, responsibilities, opportunities and losses related to the Saturn-Pluto archetypal complex. As noted above, this particular combination carries a very weighty, serious experience and sharpens our awareness of the difficulties which can either crush us or make us stronger (or both). Knowledge of where this conjunction falls in your natal chart can provide some clues around what you might want to become more conscious of and intentional with. To give just one example, if Saturn-Pluto is transiting your 7th House of relationship, you could be focusing heavily on the hard work of maintaining your partnership(s); creating a completely new persona to present to the public; experiencing the karmic consequences (positive and negative) of how you have related to others 1-to-1 in the past; or challenged to demonstrate or embody the wisdom gained from studies with powerful if sometimes abusive teachers or mentors (represented by Pluto’s transit of your 7th House). Saturn-Pluto can be very concerned with safety and yet fear can sabotage us with paranoia and misjudgment, making everything far less safe. We might wonder how we can pursue the greater part of loving, with all the risk that carries.

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All Souls Day, Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, Samhain, Ilg?s…these are some of the celebrations around the world marking this week of the thinning of the veil between this world of appearances and the other, more mysterious world of our origin/destination. Such remembrances of the ancestors serve as a reminder of the impermanence of our lives and circumstances, an awareness which is highlighted by the Sun’s annual trip through the regenerative depths of Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 22).

Peacemaking Venus has also amplified the presence of the Scorpionic lately due to her retrograde motion through that sign. Yet she will pierce the veil between Scorpio and Libra this week (Oct. 31), just after making her second opposition to upsetting Uranus (exact Oct. 31). Venus is far more at home in the conciliatory and other-oriented sign of Libra but her extended opposition to Uranus could have her acting a little strangely and less predictably. The consideration of distance, freedom and experimentation within our intimate relations will continue, and some parties may become a little more open to such conversations than during Venus’ time in Scorpio.

Openness to new ideas is aided by the messenger Mercury’s entry into Sagittarius (Oct. 30), which tends to enjoy a broad, expansive view of things. The down side to expansiveness is glossing over or failing to notice important details, and being overly optimistic in assessing situations, including a tendency to exaggerate. Mercury is also in the shadow of its upcoming retrograde, which may correlate to events that are later disputed or result in misunderstanding or perhaps lead us to make overestimations. Patience is advised in navigating any communication snags. Recall that it is perfectly possible for you or anyone else to overlook something important without any malice intended. Beware of assuming the worst and spoiling an otherwise good opportunity…don’t pretend that problems aren’t happening but also let someone clearly demonstrate incompetence, ill will or negligence before assuming that and/or just walking away.

Luckbringing Jupiter’s trine to achy breaky Chiron (exact Nov. 1) suggests that what seems to be just bad luck has another very positive side to it, but that will require a fair amount of patience given the total astrological picture. This particular trine of Jupiter to Chiron is also supportive of using unusual (to you) art-based therapies to honor and release persistent pains related to Venusian areas of life—such as love, belonging, the sweet things of life, income, gifting and receiving, how you like to be received and so on. Music therapies, Playback Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, psychodrama, using modeling clay to create representations of brokenness and wholeness, making a mandala, SoulCollage®, Five Rhythms dance or simply cutting loose in an ecstatic dance space or any kind of dance/movement therapy—any intentional art-based exploration, especially those highly unusual or unexpected to you, could facilitate some positive reconfigurations of psyche.


Forge a connection to your ancestors during this special time

The astrology of this week – plus a divination on the topic – suggests the following…

Consider constructing a substantial altar to your ancestors in your home. There you could place offerings of incense, food, flowers, prayer, poetry and/or remembrance. Consider displaying images of your ancestors, whether you knew them or not, and especially those more distant and far flung from you—whether that distance is in imagination or in terms of physical location.

You could make prayers for your ancestors to have a beautiful home in your heart, in this present time. This is not always an easy or joyful task but one which can encourage those of us in the present time to serve the healing and repair of our world. The past continues to live through us today and the quality of our connection with the past is absolutely critical while Saturn conjoins Pluto (2018-2021). Particularly relevant questions for exploration are: Who among your ancestors migrated from their homeland, if anyone did? Where did they come from? Why did they leave their home? How can you offer them comfort and welcome here and now? One idea suggested by the divination is to make a ritual gesture for their healing, one which would also support your own health.

You could also spend time in a prayerful or sacred manner with your ancestral altar or remembrance shrine, letting your heart-mind search for the things you are concerned about, the people you would like to help, any personal soul wounds you would like to heal, relationships you would like to create and relationships you would like to heal, whatever guidance you feel you need, the people who are the most important to you, opportunities you have, decisions you want/need to make…and intentionally offer these up as prayers.

photo by Roberto Robles flickr@roblesr

Key dates for Venus retrograde:
Sept. 3, 2018 – Venus enters shadow 25° Libra
Oct. 5, 2018 – Venus stations retrograde 10° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Venus stations direct 25° Libra
Dec. 16, 2018 – Venus exits shadow 10° Scorpio

Key dates for Mercury retrograde:
Oct. 28, 2018 – Mercury enters shadow 27° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Mercury stations retrograde 13° Sagittarius
Dec. 6, 2018 – Mercury stations direct 27° Scorpio
Dec. 24, 2018 – Mercury exits shadow 13° Sagittarius

Step into the realms of Soul and enlarge the conversation you are having with the world through an astrological consultation. With Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. Get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!