It’s fun, and hopefully helpful, to sometimes write about how I am experiencing the transits about which I write. It gives the reader some idea of who I am as well as a chance to hear first-hand what a particular transit is doing. But this article goes beyond that, because the way I have experienced the most recent Solar eclipse gives me a chance to explain a principle in astrology that can illuminate you to something that links us with our past and future in a significant and profound way.
Astrology is best understood in terms of cycles, rather than regarding events as individual and isolated moments that are not connected to anything. Sometimes it is difficult to see these cycles operating, but one of the ways we can do so is when we are able to connect the transits occurring at present with previous cycles. Perhaps, I can describe this better by giving a specific example.
My natal Venus is 20° Cancer, which means that the recent Solar eclipse, was in close conjunction with that planet in my birth chart. I know that most of us think of Venus as an indicator of love and relationships, which is certainly true. But Venus is more than that. It rules our sense of the aesthetic and the way in which art, music, design, etc., connect us with the divine principles operating in the universe. Gurdjieff referred to this principle as “objective art.” This form of art is designed consciously by the artist to create a specific effect in the observer that speaks to not only the mind, but to the heart as well. It can even help us integrate the two, allowing us to experience something that takes us into new territories as we can apprehend something that speaks to our Soul, rather than to mere parts of our being.
In astrology, I often look for what I call ‘sensitive points.’ Today’s article is about this. A sensitive point is created in more than one way, but the one that applies to the recent eclipse is a very significant transit that occurred in 1993. I am referring to the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune, which last occurred in 1993. Its location was in the area of 20° of Capricorn. This means that the recent eclipse was in exact opposition to the newly born cycle of Uranus and Neptune that happened 17 years ago. This conjunction only occurs every 160-170 years, so it is very rare. Many generations can pass by without anyone experiencing this new birth or ‘renaissance’. The one word that best describes the meaning and effects of this conjunction is the word ‘Renaissance.’ By the way, the previous conjunction before the one in 1993 occurred in 1821 at 3° of Capricorn, which is also being activated by the present transits in the early degrees of the cardinal signs (Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn and Pluto).
Back in 1993, I was very aware of this conjunction and since it was opposing my Venus, I suspected I might be in store for some big changes in my relationships. This did not happen and I often asked myself what had happened. Why didn’t anything more obvious or noticeable happen? Well, one thing did happen, but it didn’t seem to be significant. I began taking harp lessons which I continued for about 6 years until I could play in front of people and have some fun. I was learning to play on a beautiful Dusty Strings harp that was perfectly made for Celtic and ‘troubadour’ music. I really enjoyed this, but still I wondered why something bigger didn’t occur. I knew that conjunctions mark beginnings so it can often be that the full importance of the new cycle isn’t revealed until later, which turned out to be the case for me.
Well, a Solar eclipse is exactly one of those periods where the ‘seed’ that was planted at the earlier conjunction 17 years ago can begin to come to some sort of fruition. I know that this is exactly what is happening to me now. The realizations I’m writing about in this article have only come to me in the last few weeks or so, although it feels like I’ve understood it for a long time. More specifically, what I’ve been focused on the last few months has been the reading of three books by Kathleen McGowan. Her books have covered many things, including the hidden role of women in history over the past 2,000 years, the nature of the Divine Feminine and the possibility of ‘sacred marriage’ (hierosgamos) and finally she presents a revision of the life of Jesus and his relationship with Mary Magdalene. To me, she goes way beyond the silly book by Dan Brown called “The Da Vinci Code.” She did a far better job of imagining a new scenario for what early Christianity might have looked like and connected it with aspects of early Christianity that Brown simply didn’t understand. In her third book, called “The Poet Prince,” she examines the historical period of the 1400’s in Florence, Italy, when there was a tremendous outpouring of art and philosophy that later became known as the Renaissance.
What captured my attention the most was the story she told about Marsilio Ficino. I had read many of his works before, but had not fully grasped the nature of the contributions he made to Western thought. He was an astrologer and revolutionary philosopher who was responsible for the translation of the ancient text called the “Corpus Hermeticum” which brought forth ancient Greek philosophy that was developed even before Socrates and Plato. What he was really doing was re-interpreting Christianity itself and revealing its connection to both ancient Egyptian and Greek thought. His works, in fact, were direct attacks on the Roman Catholic Church of his time and the form of Christianity that existed then. Ficino was not alone, however. Along with his patron, Lorenzo de Medici, his friend Sandro Botticelli, he and many others such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were instrumental in transforming the lives of the people of Florence, which was then extended to all of northern Italy and in time, to all of Europe. This group of true artists changed the world and still are affecting us today.
Let me describe briefly what Hermeticism is. It is a philosophy that combines science and spirituality as well as other divisions in human thought into one discipline. Its purpose is to lay a foundation that can lead a person towards a spiritual path that is non-dual in nature, a unity state of consciousness that assists a person to truly align with the Divine spark within. This can be thought of as the definition of Wisdom. The Hermeticists combined astrology, numerology (the study of sacred number) and other systems of symbology and mythology into a system that can change the way a person thinks, lives and perceives the world. The system is integrative and holistic in nature and ends the separation between body, mind and heart. Astrology, then, can be seen as an aspect of the hermetic traditions and as such, reveals itself to be a tool for transformation of one’s consciousness and the expansion of a person so that the highest potentialities of a person’s birth chart can be realized. In fact, this view regards astrology to be a map of potentials, rather than an indication of a singular Fate.
So, what does this have to do with Venus and the Solar eclipse on my natal Venus? What this eclipse did is activate the transit of Uranus/Neptune opposing my natal Venus that occurred in 1993. As I look back on it, this transit changed my whole sense of relationships, art and most of all, my aesthetics. I just didn’t realize it at the time. It broadened my life in ways I couldn’t see back then. I have now remembered that this is when I began an intense study and practice of the ancient Greek hermetic tradition. I just didn’t think of it as being related to Venus. I began a study of the connections between astrology, numerology and the Tarot. Everything I was doing was somehow related to every other thing. It felt like a whole new world opening up for me.
Uranus brought about an openness to radically new ideas, and an attraction to new ways of knowing that are integrated and holistic in nature and which lead to a new way of understanding people and the world we live in. Uranus can take us to new modes of thinking that are non-linear and even outside the usual time constraints that we hold so dear.
Neptune brought a sense of divine love, a divine way of relating and even a new way of living that is full of joy and happiness. Neptune pushes us to a greater participation in our world and unconditional acceptance and love for each person as well as for the world itself. It touches our hearts and teaches us that the loss of ego does not diminish us in any way. It can never take us away from what in us is real or authentic in us. What it does do is dissolve the thoughts and considerations that divide us, that prevent us from being and feeling all that we can be and enables us to identify ourselves as citizens of the world, solar system and even the galaxy.
The fact that I am writing about this so openly is the result of the recent eclipse and its effects. I am aware that the symbology of Venus can take us far from the limits of our small and restrictive definitions of love and expand our hearts to where we are able to live in a state that takes us beyond our limited sense of self. This is when life can really be lived, in a way where our hearts are full and where being fully alive is an everyday occurrence.
This new state is when we are able to live in a state of Love and know that it is the highest expression of the Sacred. This was the spirit of the Renaissance in the 1400’s, which our world today so badly needs. It is seen in the great paintings of Botticelli and in the profound hermetic philosophy that Ficino translated and found in the Corpus Hermeticum. And perhaps more importantly, it can shine a light for us now and create conditions where we can experience the spirit of that very renaissance. Let’s hope for the emergence of a Renaissance in us and a new expanded vision of what is possible and even necessary, for us and for the world. May our experience of Venus go beyond the focus on ‘getting what we want’ from a relationship to an understanding that real Love is a condition that has nothing to do with a person, but is actually a state of consciousness that is an aspect of Divine Love.
As always, I hope our readers will continue to write about their experiences of this eclipse and perhaps also their thoughts about this article. Perhaps I am being taken away by idealism and imagination. OR, perhaps I am beginning to sense the existence of the divine spark that is in the center of my being and in each of us. I’d love to hear more from you.