June 17, 2015

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New Moon, Adaptive Breath


Alexander Baker

New Moon, Adaptive Breath

The waxing crescent moon is in the second decan of Cancer, evoking themes of love, abundance and family karma as it opposes Pluto in Capricorn.  As Jupiter in Leo trines Uranus in Aries, mixes of loyalty and pride compete with defiance and awakening.

Tuesday’s new moon occurred in the third decan of Gemini — the ‘Seeker’ and launch of flight — conjunct with the Sun and Mars.  Mercury in Gemini, direct for the past week, continues to engage its last square with Neptune in Pisces.  Saturn’s retrograde has moved it back into Scorpio until mid-September, out of its t-square with Neptune and the Gemini grouping.

I would like to highlight the last few months’ theme of trusting the process.  Yes, I’m -still- seeking!  How did this new moon represent a launch of flight when I’ve been in the air for so long now, trying to get where I’m going?  While Saturn is no longer in Sagittarius engaging that restless t-square — the whole confluence desiring quick movement but finding uncertainty — in a season some of the same themes will arise as it re-enters this sign to square Neptune again.

It rarely does justice to characterize an entire calendar year as being some type of way; celestial cycles are far more layered and nuanced in how they interact with gregorian years.  Yet for me, 2014 was very much that steady karmic reaping, for better or worse, of what I had coming — mostly for better, mostly awesome things.  Saturn moved through the last degrees of Scorpio, and as we neared the year’s end I felt the opening of a new chapter.

Not long after December drew to a close and Saturn entered Sagittarius, its square to watery Neptune in Pisces brought a very different pace — existential roller coasters, an emotional wild card factor, passionate relationships like tectonic plates nonetheless.  No matter the strength of my connections, no matter my sureness of the creative paths I’m walking, it doesn’t feel like I know where any of it is going.  And how can we ever be sure of anything?  Do we really want to be?

With Saturn’s jovian placement of the next couple years, there is at once freedom, a fiery sagittarian desire to soar the highest expanses and hit every target — yet there is also a contractive deepening, bound and saturnine.  The first part of 2015 yielded the question: Which target to hit?  Should I stay or should I go?  What course of action or path of learning should I commit myself to?

There is a rather beautiful word — ‘stellium’ — used to describe three or more planets in a sign at one time.  Mercury, Mars and the Sun have been wielding this effect in Gemini, the Moon having recently joined and departed them.  With their sharpness and the fire of Saturn’s movement whether retrograde or direct, is it Neptune’s piscean depth, at times foggy but ever beckoning our trust, that contributes to the unsureness?

With so much clarity in ways, why does our direction sometimes feel like a jolt between farsighted and myopic?

As the recently ended t-square featured heavily in the energy of Gemini, Sagittarius and Pisces, I believe one of many ‘answers’ to this question lies in the restless adaptivity of these mutable signs — the breath and rhythm with which we relate to the world.  The waxing moon is carrying our unsureness of direction to meet stirring waters of clear progress as the Sun and Mars enter Cancer over the next couple weeks.  Until then, let us learn from our inhalation and exhalation…

Seasonal Synthesis

Astrologically, the four seasons and the four house quadrants represent the self (Spring), self-development (Summer), relationship (Fall) and the world (Winter).  The breath of the year brings energy inward towards the self, before it is expelled outward towards the other.

While the four elements are called triplicites (there are three signs of each element), the three modes — cardinal, fixed and mutable — are called quadruplicities.  Each mode arises four times a year, moving with the seasons.  Cardinal signs are described as instigating, beginning each season; fixed signs as focused, the center period; and mutable signs as adaptive, the transition from one season to another.

In days of antiquity, the mutable signs — Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces — were referred to as ‘common.’  The astrologer Lynn Bell reminds that this actually means ‘commingled’ — they can take any form, behaving as cardinal or fixed as they please.  Similarly, the mutable signs have dual symbolism associated with them, especially in the case of Gemini, the twins, and Pisces, the two fish. They end each season, synthesizing what has been learned since that season’s instigation.

I speak of the modes in this way:

Cardinal signs represent generation and preparation.

Fixed signs represent transformation and concentration.

Mutable signs represent reintegration and dissemination.

In the breath of the year, Gemini is the end of Spring’s inhalation — filled up with the thought of each potentiality.  Virgo is the end of Summer’s full lungs — the boundary of self and other, honoring the sanctity of both before an autumnal exhalation.  Sagittarius is the end of Fall’s exhalation, the last of the inward energy’s expulsion, seeking affirmation of its cause.  Pisces is the end of Winter’s empty lungs — the relationship of self to the external and universal has been integrated and dissolved. 

Whatever sign a given planet or wanderer of this solar system might have pointed to at your birth, its instinct will speak not only through the elemental character and spectrum of images found in the sign, but also through the sign’s mode.  Those in mutable signs often take on this nature — a sort of stir-crazy desire to communicate lessons gathered and synthesized.  As someone with seven planets across the Capricorn-Cancer axis, I still feel the draconian nature and restless fire of a Scorpio ascendant with Mars in Sagittarius in the 1st house.

Mutable Movement, Flourish in Flight

The Gemini-Sagittarius axis is known for its connection to ‘short journeys’ and ‘long journeys’, the ‘lower mind’ and ‘higher mind’, the particular truth and the overarching truth.  Learning the nuances and pushing the boundaries of one’s immediate environment, committing the intellect to pursuits within the domain of one’s immediate self… this is very much a territory of Gemini and the 3rd house.  Seeking something transcendent, a broader path through which to trace oneself back to ‘source’, committing to ‘higher’ knowledge beyond your own devices… this is a realm of Sagittarius and the 9th house.

While the communicative nature of air signs deals with language as both a creative tool and a limiting abbreviation, Gemini loves to poke playfully at any fixed notion or definition.  The breakdown or ‘split halves’ of this sign emerge from never settling long enough with one role or self-characterization to achieve stability — or settling too long with one, only for an epiphany to pull the rug out from under their own identity.  A restless trickster, a hole-poking heretic who can fall prey to his own games.

The imaginal nature of fire signs expresses the suchness of inner vision, perhaps before subordination to words.  Sagittarius is the vision and cause seeking temple somewhere — a distant land or an elusive spiritual ideal.  Whereas air is more of a ‘process’ type, fire is into immediacy.  A shadow of Sagittarius is to burn and collapse endless spectrums of truth into a unified yet reductive oneness narrative — an all-affirming positivity that is unconsciously tyrannical in not receiving each truth individually, on its own terms.  A restless jester, blending all roles as one in the court of a king he sometimes fails to see himself projecting.

What of these types of flight… these seeming conflicts of process and immediacy?  Where do they lead?

Four years ago, I had a dream while laying asleep next to my partner at the time.  In this dream I was flying over vast expanses of lakes and trees.  Though I did not see rippling hills, I knew that I was soaring over a wide valley between mountains.  As I dipped slightly in flight, I became lucidly aware that the rise and fall of my flying vessel was synchronous with the rise and fall of my sleeping body’s breath.  Upon realizing this, I awoke and involuntarily blurted out the word ‘prana’ — that life-giving force of breath, each fullness and emptiness of the lungs containing all seasons.

Trust both the vision and the process, each a journey and flight.  Sing a hymn to the subtle god of every rhythm at which you live your life.

A solar system sanctuary.

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