The Wild Garden
Once again the eclipses are with us and we are being called to turn our eyes to the skies for even greater things – Venus’ transit of the Sun on June 5/6th is already being hailed as an astronomical ‘event of a lifetime’, a statement of fact as it will not occur again as an event observable from earth until 2117. Significantly, it is preceded by a partial lunar eclipse on June 4th – and, while eclipses, even partial ones, always draw attention and media coverage this one appears almost as a curtain caller, which itself is a measure of the importance being given to the Venus event – the 2012 Venus transit will be the most observed, measured, recorded and pondered over we have ever seen on this planet.
Coincident with recent astro-events, amongst which the solar eclipse, the Venus/Jupiter conjunction and the multiple alignment with the Pleiades constellation stand out as seed moments, a process is emerging, that asks us to recover our true nature and claim a level of maturity as a species that can bring us into harmonious and peaceful co-existance, with our planet and each other. The eclipse and Venus transit bring this feeling and potential energy to the fore once again, their symbolic resonance offering us a useful symbolic mirror and practical way into engaging with this process yet more deeply.
The Venus transit itself has been hailed as the re-birth of the Solar Feminine, a beautifully provocative symbol that appears to resonate with the promise of restoring balance to the genderised notions we have about the Sun, spirit and consciousness, as well as Venus’ own inner light of meaning. However, there is another side to these symbols and we do well now to be vigilant and discerning over the use of solar symbolism, especially to describe Venus’ transit of the Sun. There is in it an innocuous and covert assumption that is the product of millenia of suppressive historical re-writing, spiritual and political propoganda and anti-goddess (one could say anti ‘pagan’) dogma. And we should not forget the millions that have died as a result. In our times that assumption expresses a blind-spot and a bias that supports the perpetuation of solar supremacy. Infact, with the Venus’ transit in particular, there is a magnetic pull towards the re-emergence of the divine feminine, not so much defined by the solar masculine component as taking her rightful place back from the masculine as the ’embodiment’ of wisdom and, in the process, seeding the solar paradigm with her transformative power. If the events and their symbolic import here count for anything, it is indicative of the transformative power and fertility of darkness, especially in its relationship with the light, and particularly in the context of the divine feminine. Symbolically, it is the Black Goddess we are seeing re-emergent within the celestial processes at work through this eclipse and transit, in her simultaneous role as both mother of and midwife to the new paradigm.
This is not head stuff – the call here is emotive, powerfully so, and its energy is directed towards manifestation, making things ‘real’. But, what is real? A major factor in this paradigm shift is looking to our personal experience for answers to this fundamental question – it is part and parcel of taking back our personal power, a process that supporters of the old paradigm are at odds with. For them perpetuating the blind-spot does nothing but suit their conservative purposes and keeps the masses down, exactly where we most effectively serve any purpose but our own. So, how do we find a synthesis and integrate this apparent dichotomy.
With these celestial events taking place in tropical Gemini and on the Gem/Sag. axis the whole issue of awareness and communication, of head stuff and the need for open and co-operative thinking is not only pushed out into the open, but is pushed open, like the shoots of a new plant busting through a seed pod or an acupuncture needle stimulating energy channels to open and flow with new energies – we are given here a golden opportunity to break the mould of our habitual thinking, particularly in relation to stereo-typically masculine mental habits and regimes, and open our minds. There is here the irrepressible energy of organic thinking, the mind of nature taking shape, which means we do not have to have it all figured a-priori, that we can trust in the body of wisdom that we are. It also means that the old rules have been broken and there are no repacements – this is the artist’s reality and it belongs to Venus.
Venus is here delivering the acupuncture needle, the veritable bee sting of burning experience, that stimulates those old energy channels and opens up new ones with creatively ripe and powerful goddess energies. This is the turning point, the Yin seed awake and activated within the Yang…..
With Venus connection to Taurus the earthy nature of her powers, the goddess energies she connects us with and the rhythmic beauty of her dance in relation to our planet all come to the fore. She is tied in space and time, through spacial geometry and periodicity, with Earth. Together, Earth and Venus bring their own balance to the inner cosmos of both our bodies and the solar system and imbue all life with the divine potential inherent within their sacred geometry – they conjure the ‘Golden Mean’ to an 8/13 rhythm, their combined annual orbital pulse (musicians should try playing and dancers should try dancing this rhythm – a swirling organic polyrhythmic awakener). Their dance winds and re-winds the coiled spring and vector of potential life-force that drives manifestation within the physical realms. Together in their dance around the Sun they embody Movement and Measure in balanced and dynamic harmony, but, a harmony that insists upon constant change and achieves balance through the momentum of change itself – the fundaments upon which the medicine wheels of Life themselves are built. The symbol of this dance is the Rose, a sacred goddess flower embodying beauty and power, both radiant and fierce, the flower of ‘sensual experience’ in all its natural uncensored glory.
We are too easily swayed by the indoctrinated masculine mindset itself into taking ‘thinking’ as a substitute for experiencing, of reasoning as the path to knowledge. A direct corrollary to this is our relationship with the internet, and there is no doubt about the impact that this relationship has had upon our mentality and how we interact with the world. The evolutionary process for us now is something that cannot be reasoned into existance and, as if to push this point home, in combination, the eclipse and transit bring the full impact of nature’s innate power, both cyclical and fecund, into that light and earth it, at least on a symbolic level. Without the Earth perspective, both literally and metaphorically, this will not happen. But, this is far from being a ‘conservative’ process…..it needs the edge and gritty realism, the tension of creativity and the commitment of seeing the process through that a true birth demands. We are in that place, and the planetary matrix reflects this as well.
Mars will be square both the eclipse and Venus transit from mid Virgo. There is always a creative tension inherent in the ‘square’ aspect, and never the more-so than in this instance – the creative impulse here however is ‘explosive’, very high octane, its highest octave being transfigurative. To reach this level of realisation requires ‘purification’ and this is where the tension is expressed most sharply. Can we in actuality shake ourselves free of the limiting (and formerly, at least psychologically, protective) husk of the past and the body of the old paradigm. The evidence ‘out there’ right now suggests that the answer is not clear, as yet, but, that we are beginning to treat the process as a birth, that the movements that signal the onset of ‘labour’ are happening, that the energy is building and, crucially, that at some very important point we will without a doubt need to ‘PUSH’! But, the metaphor of birth itself describes only the active temporal aspect of the process – what is being birthed can only be answered by going through (with) it.
The eclipsed Moon in the 15th degree of Sagittarius asks us to look for the physical evidence and bring it out of the darkness, evidence that exposes the core beliefs and philosophies we collectively ‘know’ are necessary for our future – the challenge is in sharing the realisations and experiences this brings. Adopting feminine approaches over masculine is key, before we can regain balance, or transcend this particular duality. We need to be both expressive and receptive, to voice our truth in all its power and both hear each other and acknowledge what we hear – only then will the underlieing collective power we are being motivated by become a power we can resource for conscious change. Without this level of collective engagement this power remains dangerously unconscious and, as such, volatile, potentially destructive – what is the binding and resolving ingredient in this natural alchemy?
Mars direct motion signals outward expression while Venus retrograde motion signals inward manifestation – mutually re-inforced mental patterns and unresolved business here need fully conscious physical grounding and, if unattended to and consciously ignored, can lead to emotive eruption of those complexes that lie below the surface, especially those that collectively hold the tension between spirit and matter, male and female, thinking and feeling – once we start to ponder this it becomes obvious that, in our times, this is a very big deal and is very much tied up with the prevelant zeitgeist, and how we embody our desire for truly significant change.
On an individual level the placement of any planet mid-sign, especially in the mutable signs, will show the personal context within which we are likely to experience this tension and the degree to which we will have access to its energies…..meditation on this will go some way to revealing how it can be consciously integrated and handled within our own lives but the symbolism of the transit in particular helps us plumb its deeper meanings and tap into its potential energy.
Appropriately to Gemini the danger is in acting out while we do so, of allowing the unconscious to sneak below the radar of our awareness – but, acting out can have two meanings and we are looking to bring out the sacred dance of these energies here, as a way of owning them rather than projecting them unconsciously. It is better to act as if than to not act at all.
The power of expression here is passionately motivated, its highest manifestation is grounded on a matured understanding of dynamic balance and mutual interdependance and this is embodied through ‘letting go’. Such grounding has a dynamic like that between the energy moving through the dancer and the discipline and physical form that their body lends to the dance. The balance is emphasised here at a fundamental level between the active and the receptive, the co-existent and mutually interdependent dance between Yin and Yang.
We are at a turning point where the Yin seed is activated within the Yang.
Culturally and spiritualy this signals a return of the goddess energies through the leadership of powerful women who are supported rather than opposed by men – the onus is upon the men to realise their role as consort to the goddess and protector of her sacred power, rites and rights – they act similarly and pay respects towards their own in doing so. Remember, this is the energy expressed in the square, the question being asked of us, and it is initiated by the eclipse…..the transit sees it followed through and the symbolism of Venus re-birth develops how this can happen…..
There is, however, the other connection between the eclipse and the transit, the Pluto/Uranus square, and it is the Moon that manifests this connection most strongly. The eclipsed Moon in mid Sagittarius carries the seed energy forward to conjunct exactly with Pluto at 8 Capricorn at the time of the Venus transit, which means that it is the People who will embody the alchemy of this transfigurative movement for rebalancing and feel its power surging from the roots – for those who have a mind and heart to receive it this is the re-birthing goddess’ inner light and it will mark the beginning of the seven square cycle between Pluto and Uranus. Culturally and sociologically this says it could begin to manifest the ‘push’ now as a molten tectonic impulsing to drive change through. We always knew, deepest in our guts, that the Great Mother would have her say and it seems it will be through her children that she brings her wrath to bear at the injustices and crimes that have been committed against her, at least at the outset. The eclipse is partial – we are literally caught on the horns of our dilemas…….this is a moment of choice.
As seen from Earth the pathway that planet Venus is taking will see her loop exactly between the horns of the bull in the constellation of Taurus, and the Sun is on a path that is coming to meet with her directly from the bull’s heart. This brings to mind the ancient bull leaping acrobatics of the Minoans, a sacred rite itself dating back to the Taurean age. The symbolism of Venus path alone is deep enough for a book of its own. Astrologically speaking, however, the conjunction will take place in the 16th degree of tropical Gemini……
As an aside, it is interesting that in the run up to this eclipse and transit that, just as Venus was conjuncting Mercury, the arch Geminid trickster and artful dodger, elbow powered propogator of anarchic left-fieldism, that it comes to light that Cafe Nero is blocking wifi connections within its coffee shops to any website that is supporting or propogating ‘alternative’, esoteric and non-mainstream views, especially those with a non-conformist line in spirituality. Mercury calls time, time to occupy said establishments en-masse with flasks in hand, and make art, hold mass journeys using headphones and make art, hold tarot readings, practice astrology, divinations, all with a flask, and make art……buy a biscuit and they can’t stop you! How alternative, how deviant is a human being being human………
“….the ‘alternative is now mainstream. The paranormal is normal and the people who have supernatural experiences are, as Rodney Stark put it, no longer ‘kooks….deviants (and) social misfits’, but, may actually ‘be more emotionally healthy than those who do not have such experiences'”(1) These reflections give us something of the flavour of how this emergent energy is going to show its face and will both expose the old paradigm at work and alert us to those areas of our own everyday life in which the blind-spot mentality is at work, even the most mundane areas, and release new energy into our midst.
And what of the high side of this process – is it in how we bring our expanding awareness and developing understanding of the issues, any issues demanding a new line of action, to bear on and in the physical world? There is a 3rd/9th house dynamic involved as well that is very much about capitalising on the true value of our personal gifts, releasing them from censorship or suppression and bringing more and more of them into the shared space of community, and then using them, as well as the shared dialogue that naturally arises, once we claim our free voice, to propel us forward on a meaningful path out in the world and the future. Infusing consciousness with improv powered drives, totally personal, unique – its finest highest promise showering richess beyond belief, that have never been seen before, such that we become ‘fountains of blessings’ within our communities…..here ideals and materialisation interpenetrate at the heart center and create the nectar of the rose.
Like the events unfolding in the world around us now, that reflect the struggle that accompanies the birth stages of this process back to us, these celestial events are visceral, their power manifests in phenomenon and goes beyond the mental and spiritual solar plane. So much of our human world is becoming removed from this power, but, it need not be so, says Venus, so says the astrologer. Astrology itself is all too often nowadays conducted in the virtual world, calculated, described, prescribed and experienced via computer, has an instantaneous quality to it that has superceded contemplation and physical experience, particularly of the stars and planets themselves, as well as the cosmos within which we share those experiences. As Nick Campion says in his history of astrology :
“That we are in the middle of the electronic revolution, with its new narratives of cyber-communities, creates an appearance of profound change. The Hubble space telescope has provided visual evidence of galaxies billions of light years away, but, to all intents and purposes, the experiential world has shrunk.”(2)
That miniscule dot in front of the Sun is a planet. And yet we suffer an impoverished sense of what the enormity of the cosmos in the face of this experience really means or, sadly, feels like. So innured from the emotional, psychic and mystery swollen wonder of the experience itself have we become, not least of all through our obsession with pixilated information, or the pollution of light itself in our skies and homes, and fundamentalist beliefs. That feeling, that Venus resides symbolically within a mantle of, is accessed through direct experience and actualisation, rather than conceptualisation or vision. We need, so desperately, to fall in love with the cosmos again, and to loose our heads in the process, as lovers do……
Earth is also our lover, if we let her be. What is life like, we have to ask, without indoctrinated Oedipal projections of taboo laden fear stiffling our joy at coming home to the embrace of her lush fecundity. Earth’s role within these events is crucial, as is the role of darkness and shadow. As it is for the seed in the soil and the egg in the womb, that, responds with its own inner impulse and releases the power of its own internal light, its life-force ‘multiplies’ in response to the fertile warmth of inner-body sensuality. Earth is the place to which we come to embody this integration of impulse and manifestation…..and experience it!
The inner luminousity, the very power of the Black Goddess present within the ‘body of experience’, is carried forward from the eclipse by the Moon, and the Moon conjuncts with Pluto in Capricorn at the exact time of the Venus transit. We have to dive down into our own inner cosmos, as the eclipsed Moon suggests, just as Venus dives down across the face of the Sun, showing us her deepest darkest shadow side, and, scooping up a handfull of the clay of our inner being, let it be moulded by the molten alchemy of Pluto’s root realms. There can be no ascent without this alchemy becoming rooted through Life experienced in the body.
The ‘earthing’ of spirit, the role of ‘soma’ and the conscious utilisation of psycho-somatic energy is also key here. It is the expression of raw life force seeds consciousness with transformative powers. Experience transforms knowledge into wisdom, the visceral ‘lived-in’ wisdom that belongs to Her. This moves beyond the symbiotic partnership of masculine and feminine and produces the third archetype that is the progeny of their synthesis, which expresses the psychic force of the emergent new paradigm. The Sunchild, if it is its symbol, is not of the Sun alone…..and births its own inner sun.
It is important to remember here that the function of the new paradigm is not to destroy the old one, but, to integrate it – the dark-mother archetype, whose representative is the Black Goddess, is the overseer of this process. Here’s Marion Woodman :
“The most difficult transformation, as we move into this new paradigm, is the realisation of an interiorised spirituality. Polytheism and monotheism as we have known them involve a projection ‘out there’ onto Mother (Nature) or Father (Sun) or their surrogates. The Divine has relied, and continues to rely, on the evolution of human consciousness for continuing revelation. The most important step in the evolution of our consciousness is the pulling back of the projections so that we can begin the process of looking for the Divine within……
….Today, we are collectively moving to a higher plane as we are ushered into the new paradigm and the new millenium. We are being impelled to find our ‘Interior Castle’ (as Saint Teressa of Avila described the realm of inner spirituality). The dislocations of the outer sphere of public policies, attitudes, and behavior are making it imperative for us to turn inward to locate ourselves in the ‘ground of being’. Within the center of every living thing dwells the soul of the world, the ‘anima mundi’.”(3)
It is precisely this re-ensoulment that the eclipse and Venus transit signify. Astrology is well placed to assist in this process and actually, if taken beyond the screen, chart and keyboard, provides a perfectly pragmatic counterbalance to the feelingless analysis of science and virtual reality, that is to say ‘verging-on-reality’, of our technical world. If we were to only tear ourselves away from the screen and wander outside we might just discover a beautiful wild garden has grown, through and in spite of our neglect, and that we have the mirror of this garden within us. And, at the center of this garden is the most beautiful fountain, of clear vital refreshing waters, the fountain of Life……should we choose to go find it.
(1) & (2) A History of Western Astrology; volume II : Nick Campion, Continuum, 2009
(3) Dancing in the Flames : Marion Woodman & Elinor Dickson, Shambala Publications, 1996