Venus is moving into a square with Saturn...
Another I Ching Reading this morning, this time focusing on the question of how to handle challenges in friendships, partnerships, romance, or among colleagues, community members, in alliances, etc.
* Hexagram 9 is sometimes called "gentle restraint."
* The hexagram depicts a single yin line in the midst of all yang lines.
* The single yin line is "correct," or it's place is right (it's at a yin place in the hexagram), which means that despite the fact that it is overpowered by yang all around, it's position is good and therefore an auspicious omen.
* Often in life people rise to power, or seize or grab something, without taking the time to really earn, study, and gradually develop their way toward something. We're all guilty of this from time to time, and some worse than others. The teaching of hexagram 9 involves the gradual progress and development of something, and the trust needed to watch it become powerful in its own time. We are instructed to gently restrain the desire to make something happen faster than it's supposed to, or without proper precedents, respect for tradition, patience, etc. This is especially important when we are surrounded by people who are either farther along than us in some regard, or who are tempting us into competition, or who have seized or grabbed hold of power without real knowledge, devotion, or respect for due process. All of that yang surrounding the single line of yin in hexagram 9 is about knowing and trusting that good things come in time and by the integrity of staying true to who we are.
* Hexagram 9 also depicts a situation where we might find ourselves surrounded by difficult people, oppressive conditions, unfairness, injustice, or ignorance. If we look at the situation in terms of an us versus them, it can feel overwhelming. It can feel as though we're being blocked or thwarted in some way. But hexagram 9 suggests that if we look at the bigger picture of the flow of the Tao, then we can understand a secret power that exists in these situations. That single yin might be overwhelmed by powerful forces outside or beyond its control, but it's placement is proper, which means all we have to do is recognize our circumstance as an opportunity for the deepening of our integrity and the future will be bright despite the momentary constraints or limitations. In fact, in an odd way being surrounded by difficult people is ironically just the kind of circumstance that can cultivate our integrity and promise success for us down the road, which hexagram 9 describes like an eventual rain that will come through slow, gentle, small accumulations of virtue and integrity.
* It's sort of like saying, the things or people in life that restrain or thwart us are also the exact opportunities we need to become more substantively ourselves. For this reason, while being thwarted or overwhelmed by something more powerful than us, or by something we can't control, we are instructed to gently retrain ourselves from reacting and instead focus on what insight about ourselves and our own integrity the situation has provided us with. Hexagram 9 then tells us to gently, regularly, cultivate that virtue in small ways, and trust that its progress and development will eventually reach a place where we might be able to address those larger thwarting forces from a more empowered position.
* Hexagram 9 is also a kind of Kung-Fu lesson. People who surround or block us and try to intimidate us into being someone we're not will eventually create their own downfall, usually by overreaching or by underestimating their opponent, or by not truly understanding their opponent in the first place. If we simply stay true to ourselves, resist the urge to overreach or react, and focus on the continued development of our integrity, then in time our position will increase and the balance of power will shift.
* Bullying is part of the picture of hexagram 9, and for as cliched as this might sound, part of the Taoist teaching about bullies is that despite their best efforts to cut others down, they often make others far stronger than themselves (in the end) because they cultivate and reinforce a person's desire to be virtuous or to bide their time and eventually cultivate the power they might be initially lacking. Think for example of how many movies depict the small kid being bullied who eventually grows up to be successful and virtuous while the bullies end up looking wasted away and "small." Hexagram 9 isn't saying "don't worry because eventually you'll have your revenged," but it is saying, "if you think about it, being in the position you're in is actually auspicious when you study the fluctuations of the Tao...but it's critical that you recognize your position in the situation and be content within the restraint."
Imagine...restraint is showing us who we are...restraint is a way of recognizing where we are...contentment within restraint is therefore auspicious.
So, for all those experiencing hard, nasty, overwhelming, bitter, competitive, or bullying people...
Prayer: Teach us to recognize the peaceful center opened to us, for us, by enemies. And teach us to pray for those who persecute us.
It's last quarter Moon time...
Here's what to watch for:
* Mercury is badly combust at this point in its retrograde, which means that Mercury signified things may be weak or even in crisis mode for the next day or so. Look at the house Mercury is currently transiting in your natal chart, as well as the houses ruled by Mercury in your natal chart to see how the combustion might be showing up for you. As it's in my own first house, for example, I got a strange rash on my arm this morning and simultaneously was almost duped into giving my information to a hacker or identity thief over the phone this morning!!
* Mercury combust the Sun may also signify things that are invisible, secretive, in the process of being overpowered, deteriorating or even ill. The good news is that when Mercury conjoins the Sun it is symbolically reborn and will then begin to slowly recover (which happens in the next 48 hours after Mercury conjoins the Sun).
* Meanwhile, Venus is applying to make her square to Saturn again by the end of this week. Watch as challenges or roadblocks to harmony, unity, friendship, or diplomacy arise and likely reach a cross-road or standstill. Saturn retrograde and moving very slowly isn't likely to reach out or move much from it's position, and though the two planets will meet again, Venus and Saturn are also mutually separating from each other, painting the picture of two parties equally ready to move on.
* Venus square to Saturn is also the picture of significant changes in relationships, rites of passage in love and friendship, getting real and growing up in partnerships, etc.
* Meanwhile, watch as Mars will shortly enter the twins and be in mutual reception with Mercury in the Ram, just as Mercury backs into a conjunction with Uranus and appears as the morning star. Technology and war, the communication surrounding war and aggression....this is going to be a significant transit to watch as Mercury stations to turn direct at the beginning of May.
Prayer: Soften our hard hearts while strengthening the power of your truth.
Venus has turned direct and is now moving back into a square with Saturn.
An I Ching Meditation for this Venus/Saturn Square:
* The 58th hexagram of the I Ching is sometimes called "Cheerfulness" or "Joy," and it depicts two lakes conjoined with one another. The teachings of the 58th hexagram include the notion of joining together with other like-minded friends or colleagues in order to discuss, converse, and enjoy one another's company. Implicit in the image of joining together with others it the idea of encouragement, mutual stimulation, and the sharing of good vibes or enthusiasm.
* The 58th hexagram teaches us that with cheerfulness difficult things are made easier and in some sense impossible things become possible. For example, when you approach a difference of belief or opinion with someone else with cheerfulness they are often much more willing and interested in hearing your side of the story and vice versa.
* The 58th hexagram teaches us to hold fast to our decisions, to essential "decide inside" before we act. This way there is substance and commitment to our positions when we relate with others. However, the 58th hexagram also suggests that we hold whatever decisions we've made without flattering or fawning over others with a kind of false joy or enthusiasm.
* The 5th line of the 58th hexagram depicts someone in a powerful, honest, and joyful position being approached by someone who will use all kinds of tricks, flattery, and false joy or enthusiasm in order to seduce and manipulate. The 5th line warns that there is the possibility of someone with false joy, a "sycophant," about to approach us, or it speaks to the way in which false joy and enthusiasm eventually erodes harmony, truthfulness, and real happiness. When joy isn't in line with truth and some inner substance and conviction, the bonds it creates will eventually erode and the inner selfishness or greed or manipulation will be exposed.
* The second hexagram that was generated in my reading this morning was hexagram 21, called "Biting Through," or "Eradicating." The 21st hexagram shows an object or obstruction between the teeth, and the meaning of the hexagram has to do with the effort or action needed to bite through and remove the obstruction to harmony.
* Hexagram 21 is often related to justice, law, crime, punishments, and penalties. Given the sequence above, we might say that this Venus/Saturn square might bring up the idea of removing obstructions to harmony, and in particular those people or parties who may display a desire for harmony but are actually acting from a place of manipulation and self-interest. The sequence could also be speaking to the need to remove ourselves from relationships where someone isn't speaking the truth, is using flattery or seduction to get something from us, or where we ourselves haven't been fully honest or forthcoming about how we feel out of fear for our own stake in the matter. Biting through is often about speaking clearly, truthfully, and being bold about something (with compassion) when we feel that there is an obstruction that is damaging or harming a greater need for unity. It's also about clarifying our position, even when it means we have to risk the outer (and false) appearance of joy and happiness being disrupted.
* Hexagram 21 in this sequence might also be speaking about the end of various relationships or the termination of partnerships out of the desire to save face or to avert some public relations disaster. For example, it wouldn't be surprising to see some heads roll in the White House, at Fox News, etc, etc, in the coming days or weeks, and it wouldn't be surprising to see people speaking up or speaking out about one another AFTER relationships end...as though the truth finally comes out once the relationship has been terminated by one party or the other.
* Hexagram 21 in this sequence is also about the penalties we suffer relative to things we've done in good cheer and joy, or publicly, without a deeper inner sense of conviction or authenticity. Public reversals, apologies, and declarations of a new intent as well as a new sense of responsibility may accompany this Venus/Saturn transit.
As I grew up in the Christian church in Minnesota, cheerfulness was like the unspoken test of your faith. If you were really a good Christian then to some extent you were cheerful and good tempered. Ready to meet everyone and all encounters with cheerfulness and adaptability. Real cheerfulness IS in some ways a test of your spiritual mettle. It is outwardly flexible, and encouraging, healing, and generous...like a warm fire radiating into the world...but on the inside it's firm and true. However, the simple truth is that many of the dramas we get involved with in life stem from cheerfulness leading the way without any inner firmness. The inner firmness is lacking because we haven't taken the time to sit, get quiet, and reflect. We don't know the words we say. We don't know why we do what we do. A decision is necessary inwardly, in other words, for the sake of outward joyousness, and that decision is the firmness necessary for real outward flexibility and joy. Consequently, when we have an inward decision, the I Ching teaches us that allies come more easily and that we can also discern good intentions from bad intentions in others.
These are all things worth thinking about right now as Venus completes its square to Saturn with direct, repairing, motion.
Prayer: Create firmness inside our hearts and minds, so that our joy might be real and so that truth might grow between us in the glow of the good spirits.
Happy New Moon Everyone!
Today as Venus separates from Saturn and the Moon and Mercury separate from the Sun in Scorpio, a new cycle begins in the midst of Autumn.
Here's what to watch for:
* As the Moon and Mercury both separate from the Sun we are going to see the beginning of a process of recovery and change as new ideas, intentions, and innovation begins to take root.
* The Moon in her fall to begin the new cycle may imply that we've reached the bottom of something. The bottom is an image of truth and clarity, exhaustion and acceptance, finality or resolution. The bottom is an image of a beginning as well as the hurt and loss associated with an ending.
* As Mercury begins to emerge as the evening star it is likely that clarifying information will begin to emerge, or something that has been under wraps will be uncovered...something that has been working quietly or invisibly behind the scenes, waiting for the ideal moment, will appear and be recognized.
* As Venus is separating from Saturn we might notice that our relationships are standing on a new foundation. A foundation of greater maturity and respect, taking each other more seriously, more profoundly. Life is short, and love is one of the main attractions. Sometimes this simple insight hits us so squarely in the chest that we say, "Yes. Sign me up. Put my name down. Pour the concrete. Build it from this moment. I'm ready."
* Venus and Saturn show us that what is valuable is lasting and what is lasting is beautiful. Invest your heart here.
* Venus and Saturn...the flowers of grace, colors of heaven, blossoming gently through the cracks and crags of an old stone wall. How saying yes to saying no creates secret green gardens, small kept spaces that yield much, no's that are secret yes. Yield to fate and watch a thousand colors grow out of the wall before you...trust in the beauty of every failure, of every disappointment.
Prayer: Cold walls, burning grace, give us hearts of gentle green light.
Happy Full Moon Everyone!
Here's what to watch for today...
* The Saturn/Neptune square highlights the difference between the court of public opinion/perception, and the simple or direct reality of someone or something..."facts" and "stories" and the manipulation of facts and stories
* The blurring/blending of concrete reality and fictional, virtual, or imaginative reality...think Pokemon Go (this is also an expression of the Saturn/Neptune square)
* Unexpected, shocking, revealing events that bring something to a head or inspire rapid transformation (Full Moon square Uranus)
* Pride, vanity, stubbornness and denial (Venus/Mercury in Leo square Mars in Scorpio)
* Using appearances to manipulate others (Venus in Leo square Mars in Scorpio)
* Sexual tension, excitement, foreplay, seduction and desire (Venus in Leo square Mars in Scorpio)
* Issues surfacing within families or tightly knit groups, defending, protecting, or disowning members irrationally (Full Moon across the Cancer/Capricorn axis)
* Anger/hate/malicious speech, OR, bold, empowered, honest, direct speech (Mercury square Mars)
* Not playing by the rules, steroids, doping, cheating, plagiarizing, trying to gain unfair advantages, and concern with fairness (Mercury/Venus square Mars)
* The young woman and the elder (Venus trine Saturn)
* Beauty, lifestyle, and committed philosophies or practices (Venus trine Saturn)
* An important or revolutionary moment or series of events unfolding in succession that brings something to a head and serves as the pivot point for an important change or decision
Prayer: Teach us the beauty of honesty and the courage of transparency
The Moon is applying to conjoin Mars in Scorpio this afternoon and will enter Sagittarius by this evening. Meanwhile, the Jupiter/Saturn square is tightening again, the Sun is separating from Neptune and today, Venus and Saturn are sextile.
Here's what to watch for:
* As the Moon is in her fall and in Mars' sign her conjunction to Mars later this afternoon might signify a more challenging event, encounter, mood, atmosphere, or theme. Mars has power over the Moon today, which might signify something more vulnerable coming under the harshness or intensity of Mars' natural symbolism. Be careful of overly charged emotional dynamics or confrontations that lack tact, kindness, and patience. Watch for desire or impulse getting the better of something, and notice that hidden or concealed information might come spilling out unexpectedly. Also notice that the topic of sexual violence, violence towards women, women's health, or the subject of the body and invasive or protective measures for the sake of the body are on the radar today. Also watch for the themes of jealousy, betrayal, suspicion, spying, and irritation or aggression. At the same time, this transit might suggest addressing something head on, protecting someone or something, or probing more deeply for the sake of truth and authenticity.
* As the Jupiter/Saturn square is tightening watch for generational conflicts, conflicts between older and younger, parents and children, the new and the old, conservative versus liberal, and visions of the future versus respect for the past. All of these themes are intensifying and will likely play a strong role in both current events and personal dynamics over the upcoming months, especially as eclipse season rolls through and Saturn turns retrograde next month. Advice: stay respectful of the past, stay respectful of elders, tradition, and traditional values while also looking forward to what changes are needed moving forward. If your vision of the future only works by condemning the past, or by calling someone or something outdated, old, or through negative or divisive comparisons, try harder to be humble. On the other hand, if your view of the past only works by reprimanding or condemning the present, then try harder to be humble in your reminding. At the end of the day, much of this transit has to do with what we're loyal to and how our loyalty effects our vision of what is at stake in this present moment, and how to carry forward our loyalties into the future. Perhaps the bottom line is that we are each commissioned to be bridge builders...and how can we take that just as seriously as our stake in the past or the future, especially if we step back and consider the idea that linear time isn't the measure of something's worth, maturity, or sophistication.
* Watch again today for the Sun/Neptune themes. Leaks and clogs, drains and filters, illusions and deceptions, intoxication and excuse making, longing and redemption, victims and saviors, weakness and immunity, fathers, heroes, sinners, saints, and delusions of grandeur. Visions, dreams, and seeing clearly beyond what is visible.
* Last but not least, Venus is sextile to Saturn today. Watch for beneficial contacts with elders, authority figures, or teachers, and watch for the artist and the prophet to combine with a kind of utopian or promethean intensity. Venus in Aquarius is like an artist whose work is political, social, and cultural, and whose style isn't exactly a style but a value statement. Watch also for the rigidity or dogma of Saturn to influence our friendships and alliances right now, but also note that it might be a good time to clarify our philosophical values or learning goals and to find like minded people to share them with.
Note that Mercury is approaching a square to Mars...more on this in the days to come. We need to be especially careful of violence of words, thoughts, and actions or causes.
Prayer: When we see what we're looking at in the planets, appearing in our lives, when the words and symbols become flesh and we see the heavens appear as people, places, and events, help us to remember what we're really seeing...the name above all names, the way that cannot be named, the love that loves without qualifications
The Moon is in Gemini today, void of course until late tonight. Meanwhile, Venus in Pisces is square to Saturn in Sagittarius. Let’s take a closer look at this aspect and see how it might be reflected in our lives right now.
While Venus in Pisces represents a kind of unbounded beauty, Saturn in Sagittarius represents the wisdom of mortality, age, and limitations. The result might be that we’re learning how to harness, control, or set limits to various forms of indulgence that we tend to participate in without appropriate boundaries. Drinking, eating, spending, love making, daydreaming…are we forgetting that our bodies won’t last forever? Are we forgetting that the choices we make will determine the way we die?
The demands of Saturn in Sagittarius often revolve around the implementation of a more rigorous belief system or spiritual practice, and yet with Venus in Pisces we have to ask ourselves how the experience of beauty, art, imagination, poetry, and mystery or paradox will be part of the regiment.
Right now we might be trying to discover a way to let the dream river continue carrying us along while simultaneously building something like a boat and a paddle to help us stay dry and maintain a little more control and focus along the way.
The Venus/Saturn combination can also reflect in some of the following images:
* Ageing wine
* The holy book, alongside the glowing mystery
* A guru wearing iridescent sneakers, gives a talk on fashion
* A drunken rant unintentionally becomes an eloquent treatise
* The disciple is drawn away from his duties, finds the bliss of guilt
Saturn/Venus can also help us to fall in love with a future image of ourselves…the image of what time, dedication, hard work, and study might do for us if we keep with something. Like a young piano student seeing a master play and then setting out with renewed inspiration to become her own master. On the other hand, we might envision a classical musician walking along the street in some urban environment only to stumble into a jazz club…the freedom, the smoke, the improvisation, the dark saturation of soul and colors and depth…the smoke and mirrors, the hip tease and alleyway sidetracks….Venus may inspire a new style within the classical musician just as fluidly as the two fish moving in their circles. Or what about the math professor who breaks his own unbreakable code… accidentally finds god at the bottom of the wine bottle and under the sheets with some pagan priestess from the English department. Wakes up interested in quantum mechanics and dildos.
All fun things to consider.
Also worth mentioning…any new ideas or commitments to being ourselves at all costs and against the grain are especially strong today as Mercury is cazimi (at the heart of the Sun) in the sign of Aquarius. Where are we being called to be more of a rebel?Where are we being asked to care less about what others think of us? Listen up because with Mercury at the heart of the Sun we’ll likely find a few empowering messages coming through the wires.
Prayer: Beauty and Mastery…bliss and discipline…I’ll drink to that
Image by courtesy of Doug J Schulte, at creative commons image licensing
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.