“On a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself… Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering, but we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history.”
– President Barak Obama in Hiroshima acknowledging the world’s first use of nuclear weapons
The ongoing astral configuration discussed in the last AstroCast, which continues to reverberate during this time period, poignantly correlates with President Obama’s recent visit to America’s former enemies Vietnam and Japan and the sites of the deep wounds of war. In Hiroshima, President Obama evoked the memory of what is still widely considered to be the most devastating act in the history of humanity. The mutable grand cross between the Sun and Venus in Gemini, Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces has been peaking during President Obama’s healing “Reconciliation Tour,” during which his “gesture of peace has connected with the people of Japan in a way that no other American President has done in living memory.” (BBC) While the first U.S. presidential visit to Hiroshima is huge and deeply symbolic, the ever-present, highly guarded brief case containing the codes to America’s nuclear arsenal was never far from the President’s side. While the deep, healing compassion (Neptune) was evident, so was the element of fear (Saturn) of a future nuclear attack, either by such rogue actors as North Korea or by self-righteous leaders sitting in judgment (Jupiter) of their perceived enemies. Certainly evoking a past tragedy in order to open us to our compassion is infinitely more desirable than having to live through another such event and all the chaos it would bring. Somber remembrance of an event that synchronistically occurred during the 1945 Saturn/Neptune alignment may inspire us collectively to do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening again.
On June 4th, only hours after the Sun and Venus square Jupiter from their position in Gemini, and thus complete their translation of the mutable grand cross, the Moon in Gemini joins the tension-filled configuration, galvanizing the energies at play in the New Moon chart and the ensuing lunar cycle with the imperative to open to love (Neptune), release fears (Saturn), see the bigger picture (Jupiter) and make it our purpose (Sun) to join hands with the other beings on this planet (Venus) in recognition that we are all connected, literally, in a way that can’t be explained with the mind, and that what we do as individuals inevitably has an effect on others. If you put those last two statements together, it means that anything we do to others we literally are doing to ourselves. Therefore, this extraordinary New Moon in Gemini, as part of a 6-planet transitional grand cross, not only asks us to look at the connections we have with others, but to experience them in a way we may never have before. When we look into the eyes of another we are looking into our own soul, with all its glorious light and shadow. At this time we have the opportunity (Jupiter) to be accountable (Saturn) for our actions as beings operating through the confines of this physical reality. Where in our own lives are we supporting the life of another with unconditional love (Neptune), or where may have we devastated a life through an act of “extreme individualism” as Jim Sher puts it, that blindly served the mental construct of separation? What destructive energetic “wakes” have we created in our ego-based drive for self-determination that is blocked to the experience of the web of connectedness between beings? The grand cross configuration aligns the powers of the four directions focusing in on this query. From each perspective on the zodiacal wheel, we are being given the tools we need to answer these questions honestly, which is the only way healing can ever be achieved. Satun’s structures create order; Neptune’s cosmic awareness brings us to our higher purpose; Jupiter gives us an optimistic philosophical outlook; and the Sun and Venus together reminds us that creative collaboration is the greatest antidote to the feeling of separation and alienation. If a U.S. President can finally work with those who suffered the soul shattering effect of the decisions made from the seat of the office he holds, then so can we. As a restorative coda to their participation in this intense alignment, Venus and the Sun meet in their annual conjunction on June 6th, a sweet embrace that validates the bonds between us and emphasizes the love that compels us to look out for one another. The commencement of their new cycle may indicate new relationships being formed. Neptune is particularly strong in this configuration in that he is barely moving, only a fraction of a degree this entire month. His soulful energies thus highly focused, Neptune’s ocean of consciousness envelopes the earth as he turns retrograde on June 13th, beginning a cycle of review for us to check in on just how comfortable – and fearless – we are with our own level of being and connectedness. May the curiosity factor of the Gemini New Moon inspire us to explore our current state of being and bring us to realize that all sincere questions on this matter lead to love.
Mercury in Taurus opposes Mars in Scorpio on June 9th, activating our desires to perceive simple truths on a deep level. There may be a feeling of impatience to get to the answers we seek, which could result in rushing through the process as we grab hold of the first thought fragment we encounter. If we can hold onto the question but not let go of the deep desire to know, then when the answer comes, we will be able to experience it in a profound and holistic way.
As he pulls away from his encounter with Mars, Mercury moves into his home sign of Gemini on June 12th where he will spend the rest of June fine-tuning “the art of letting things happen.” This is the gift of Gemini according to Dane Rudhyar, and as the ruler of this sign, swift-footed Mercury’s biggest challenge is to learn that in stillness the power of his perceptive abilities is greatly magnified. Mercury in Gemini loves to learn and gobbles up information in his quest for knowledge. As long as he does so with discrimination, he will be able to finish the puzzle rather than having all sorts of pieces that may look great but just don’t fit into the picture.
Still travelling closely in tandem, the Sun and Venus sextile Uranus in Aries June 12th through 14th to bring out the uniqueness in all of us. We may be connected but that doesn’t mean we’re all the same. Current metaphysical knowledge expresses it by saying each of us is an individuated unit of consciousness within the larger consciousness system. Each of us is unique and thus we have our own special creative gifts. The harmonious Sun/Venus/Uranus alignment may awaken us to this fact and something brilliant will come through that will contribute to whatever it is we’re working on (depending on where the configuration falls in our natal chart), be it a creative endeavor, a business plan, a group outing, a home improvement project or an unusual yet delectable manifestation out of our kitchen.
Venus hangs up her social butterfly suit for the warmth and security of the family experience when she leaves Gemini and enters the tribe of Cancer on June 17th. Venus approaches her relationships in an emotionally nurturing way here, favoring the established over the novel and the collective over the individual. In that sense of collectivity, Venus must learn the gift of Cancer, which is according to Rudhyar, “knowing where one belongs.” In that knowing, she will lose all fear and resentment about where she is at any point in her life. Coming off her encounter with Uranus, Venus may be better equipped to see her role in Cancer, as Rudhyar puts it “to feel through and through that [she] belongs, and to realize that [she] has a definite place and a definite function, clearly [her] own, in the economy of society and in the life of whatever group is claiming [her].”
While Jupiter moves out of the t-square alignment with Saturn and Neptune by the end of June, the square between Saturn and Neptune will remain in effect well into November. Their second of three exact aspects over the course of a year occurs on June 17th, marking the midpoint the third quarter “crisis of consciousness” square period, which is the dominant planetary alignment of 2016. According to Richard Tarnas in his seminal work, Cosmos and Psyche, the 36-year Saturn/Neptune cycle coincides with “periods of profound spiritual forging, soul-making, the redemptive embodiment of spirit, reflecting the struggle and higher synthesis of incarnation.” What may become evident for each of us to explore are the themes behind these movements, which Tarnas eloquently states as “the dichotomy between materialistic reductionism (Saturn) and imaginative vision (Neptune), between matter and spirit, and between cosmic disenchantment and an ensouled universe.” The current Saturn/Neptune cycle began at the conjunction in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. The ultimate in boundary dissolving marked the end of the Cold War and ushered in a new era of détente that led to increased individual freedom for the people of Germany and Russia. The “crisis of consciousness” in testing sovereign boundaries we are experiencing is most strikingly represented by the freedom seeking refugees and migrants from war torn, economically depressed Middle East and Africa, many of whom are tragically lost at sea as their overcrowded boats capsize. The fear-based response by European leaders is to tighten security and border controls and broker rocky deals with countries such as Turkey to take on the burden. The events happening now may take another 10 years to come to true freedom of movement across these territories – the current cycle ends in 2026. Until then, we can work on a personal level to dissolve any dysfunctional boundaries within as they relate to our perception of the world around us. Are we so bound in by material reality that we are unable to see the enchanted world around us? Is the human mind all there is, as our modern thought leaders would have us believe, or is there a greater intelligence at work in the entire cosmos of existence? If we begin a cosmic inquiry into who we are and what is love, we may find the answers we seek.
Here’s the data (using Pacific Time and planetary positions rounded to the nearest whole degree, unless otherwise noted):
June 4 – Sun square Jupiter at 14° Gemini/Virgo at 3:57 a.m.
June 4 – Venus square Jupiter at 14° Gemini/Virgo at 5:49 p.m.
June 4 – Moon conjunct Sun (New Moon) at 15° Gemini at 7:59 p.m.
June 6 – Sun conjunct Venus at 17° Gemini at 2:39 p.m.
June 9 – Mercury opposite Mars at 26° Taurus/Scorpio at 10:01 a.m.
June 12 – Venus sextile Uranus at 24° Gemini/Aries at 8:12 a.m.
June 12 – Mercury at 0° Gemini at 4:22 p.m.
June 13 – Neptune station retrograde at 12° Pisces at 1:43 p.m.
June 14 – Sun sextile Uranus at 24° Gemini/Aries at 12:54 a.m.
June 17 – Venus at 0° Cancer at 12:39 p.m.
June 17 – Saturn square Neptune at 12° Sagittarius/Pisces at 8:23 p.m.