I am very pleased to introduce a new guest blogger, my colleague Helen Beers.
Helen has a Master of Arts in Cultural Astrology and Astronomy from the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
If you would like to find out more about Helen, click here to go to her website.
As the tension preceding the lunar eclipse built yesterday, the sky over the Shropshire Marches was sullen, heavy and miserably oppressive. Under this, I spent the day in conversation with a range of people all feeling suffocated by a weight of restriction, disappointment and inevitable failure. Feelings ran along a continuum from enervating depression to deepest frustration. But a single problem connected them all. Everyone was hopelessly stuck and all were searching for a way to relieve their sense of doom. The lunar eclipse arrived and, with it, pictures which perfectly illustrated my sense of the day:
These came via my daughter who, living in Madrid, observed attempts to storm the Spanish Parliament from her office window. The demonstrators failed, politicians hid, police placed themselves in the middle and no-one got anywhere.
Today’s weather also offered a metaphor for my experience of the world. At times it was bright, sunny and inviting enough to draw me into it. But then black clouds would gust in carrying sharp, icy showers of punishing hailstones. Drawing on this to make sense of my feelings, I’d say that things aren’t as tense as they were in the hours before the eclipse. Nevertheless, today’s squalliness hasn’t banished the bitter discouragements of yesterday but, instead, defiantly scattered them so that efforts to catch and tidy them into neat piles are wasted. Translation: all the problems remain and are, if anything, less manageable.
But a funny thing happened this morning. I won’t place it into context yet but I’ll tell you that my little daughter was sitting very peacefully on the dining-room windowsill with the window pushed wide open. She was watching a crow – as she called it although it may have been a blackbird – and, then, this hopped onto the ledge and allowed her to stroke it for a moment before flitting away…
OK, so you’ll have noticed my natal chart above. This is to offer you a handle on the way I tick. It also allows you to see that Thursday’s lunar eclipse fell just three degrees from my natal first house Venus and transiting peregrine Saturn who presently afflicts her. I’d like you to remember that, in his proximity to the moon, he made a play for Eclipse Lord. He lost to Mars but he was still a powerful and malefic symbol. This means that, for me, the 25th April 2013 lunar eclipse fatefully wove personal Saturnian and Venusian themes into the social fabric so that wider themes are now sewn into my destiny.
You’ll have your own ideas about Venus in Scorpio but I want to describe my experience of her. Her natural cool moistness is exaggerated in cold, wet, feminine, fixed Scorpio. What this means for me experientially is that world for me is the Garden of Eden. I see that our planet announces herself as a verdant oasis as she spins emerald-green and turquoise-blue in a twinkling void and I know that her womb, as Gaia, brought forth the gods, the Titans and the giants. This means that she, as the mother of all, has provided for us regardless of who we are and what we do for a living. And with these myths hardwired into my fruitful Scorpio Venus, in spite of what anyone tells me, I know that the universe has made full Venusian provision for me, you and everyone else.
However, this sense of universal abundance has been horribly tried since Saturn first arrived conjunct my Venus at Christmas. It’s not that I think Gaia no longer provides. It’s that her supply has been cordoned-off and privatised. Saturn (very cold and unhappily soggy in Scorpio) pitched up as a social force at his most miserly and carping. Nevertheless, he didn’t convince me at Christmas and he hasn’t convinced me now that the world is a desert. Even so, speaking metaphorically, he has frozen abundant crops so hard into the ground that only those with the most powerful blowtorches have access to them.
As you see, besides occupying my first house, Venus rules my ascendant, eighth and twelfth houses by domicile and my fifth through exultation. This means that I, my children, my creativity and my husband’s income are all threatened by icily murderous Scorpio Saturn. He, being natally fourth house and ruling the cusp, will raid my home (in both a narrow and a wider sense) and wreak lasting damage there. But that won’t be enough. Since his rulership by domicile also includes my third house, he’ll damage my community too. And, by exulting in my ascendant and twelfth house, he’ll use my own hand against me. Moreover, while he assists me as I dig my own grave he’ll provoke others to stab me in the back.
Well of course my Scorpio Venus might be most happily passive but she’s not one to capitulate, so she’s fighting back. This means that, even under Saturn’s onslaught, I’ve been thinking of ways to free up Gaia’s abundance. And one thing I’ve been doing is exploring alchemical solutions to the threat of Saturn on Venus. These are possible where Aristotle’s elemental scheme is accepted at face-value. Alchemical lore arising from this was that lead and gold have interior and exterior qualities which are the opposite of each other: lead is cold and dry on the outside but hot, moist at its core while the opposite is true of gold. This means that they are elementally the same. Taken a step further, the common bases – sulphur (hot and dry), mercury (cold and moist) and salt (hot) – also have all these elements, albeit separately. But, if they were fused, all pecuniary issues could be solved at a stroke. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I understand that I’m talking about creating the Philosopher’s Stone which has never been done so I’m not filling my kitchen with alembics and stills just yet. Instead, I’ve been working with this metaphorically.
With this, Saturn and Venus in Scorpio are, between them, cold and wet. As such my Venus experiences Saturn as a blight of misery, envy and mistrust on my life. Where this transit is about me and my issues, I’m seeking to redress the balance by introducing the elements – heat and dryness – artificially. In other words, I’m working on my generosity, giving practical help where I can, leaving judgement to God and thereby playing a part in creating an environment of positivity. I’m not claiming that I’m wholly succeeding in my efforts. How can I? No alchemist anywhere has produced a universal panacea so I’m not kidding myself regarding success. But that’s not to say my efforts are a waste of time. I mean, speaking of transmuting lead to gold, who wouldn’t replace a Saturn on Venus transit with a sun on Venus conjunction if they could?
Anyway, shall I return to my daughter and the crow? Righto. In case you don’t know, there are seven stages in alchemical enlightenment which are symbolised by various images. In terms of spiritual transformation, birds – with the air for their domain – offer a metaphor since they fly heavenward as aspiring souls. Thus, they are reflective of a seeking for the divine as an inner experience and symbolise the loosening of material ties. So, in working with the idea of soul transformation, the crow offers a beginning metaphor for the alchemist as s/he turns inward to meditate. This first stage is the blackening where the waste matter of the alchemist is left behind as nigredo, or Caput Mortuum, which must be shed before the next stage – symbolised by the white swan – of inner light is possible. I think that’s enough alchemy to illustrate why my little daughter’s excitement at having brought a crow to her only through her silent invitation is precious and inspiring to me.
The events around the lunar eclipse have been divisive, fracturing, and have left many of us despairing in an abundant world. The stuckness that I’ve experienced in myself, in others and in the outside world means that we all know that something has to give. The appearance of the crow beside my daughter says to me leave the rubbish behind. Saturn on Venus and the fallen eclipse moon tell us that nigredo is to be found in the bad water of Scorpio. It’s also in greedy Taurus with combust Venus, the peregrine sun and detrimented Mars. But, as I’ve said, I’ve started with myself. By keeping the image of Gaia as the nurturing mother of us all, I’m working to balance the elements in my dealings with everyone I meet the best way I can. I’m not expecting to find the solution to the age-old search for the Philosopher’s Stone. But I’m giving it a try.