Middle Scorpio takes up heavy residence, as the Greater benefic and the lesser Malefic have come to share their significations and work as one. Robert Hand refers to this combination in transits as “fortunate action”, and describes it as generally lucky, exuberant, an influx and expansion of energy, great for physical activities and exertions (even and especially the labor of birth); the other side of this conjunction presents the potential to take exceeding risks, as Mars is brash and Jupiter optimistic. In Scorpio, Mars’ darker domicile, the subject matter of this energy and opportunistic optimism may be of a peculiar nature; for those of us with prominent Scorpio placements the spectrum of sex and death as well as the benefits of the poison path may already be apparent and well incorporated into our regular existence; for those that are currently getting an extra dosage of this cocktail poured into a part of their life, its an appropriate time to turn sex, drugs, pain, trial and violent mutation into a worthwhile ritual, even if it is only for the space of this year (and every twelfth year from here on out, as that is Jupiter’s transiting schedule). As displayed in the past few month’s news, this may have to do with unearthing past traumas and putting them to a greater positive purpose; or it could be more personal, or even more psycho-spiritual. You may want to get rowdy with your shadow side and other shades. It could be for you entirely physical; you may be wanting to demolish the dark end of your house and build your ideal dungeon in its place. This is drastic and obsessive growth in some part of your life, the energy should be channeled, something has to be done with the heat and motion anyway; but as mentioned, keep in mind overactive optimism might be inciting some to risky business. As this is Scorpio, deep inward reflection, bringing a torch into the darkest recesses of your soul, should reveal focus. There’s always the simple: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This may be too literal in this case, as this dynamic is wonderful for any kind of improvement, but as your deciding on what needs renovation and augmentation, begin with the squeaky wheel. Otherwise, knowing which house you have Scorpio in would be the best way to narrow it down.
I mentioned last week, this is the second decan of Scorpio, and will center on Scorpio’s relationship focus; intense and intimate exchanges where we challenge each other physically, intellectually or emotionally; sparring that tempers us and expands our skill set, as well as sexual scuffles that break, burn or dissolve our individuality; encounters so hot our identities are destroyed and we walk away altered; or leave the door open, and tether with strands of our desires until our array is inescapable, our strategies of seduction elongating the episodes. All of this applies to intense mutual action and reciprocal education that broadens our philosophical understandings, even if it feels like waging war fighting in a cave within the moment, it later defines and ushers in catalysts and sets precedents for our personal and collective histories.
Adding some more dark spice and space to our concoction is the sextile to Pluto which Mars completes as the Red Planet is beginning to separate from Jupiter. Where the energy is going is beginning to become a slightly different issue from the philosophical understanding; this is post-epiphany, (and literally it is only a couple days after the liturgical 12th night and the adoration of the Magi), but energy in the area has not subsided, only the opportunity and spiritual opening is beginning to be independent from the trigger of action, only barely for now, as in hours since the realization hit. Our dark, strange and distant planetoid at the boundary lands of our solar system is willing to work with what Mars and Jupiter are up to. Pluto says, ‘sure, you want to peel pack layers of trauma and reach into the darkness to pull diamonds tempered by pressure out of the ruff, I’m all for it” and throws a gateway to some unknown realm under the scab you’ve been picking; you scrape off the dried coagulate and fall into the void summersaulting into the Underworld, or where the Underworld meets with what is out beyond Cloud 9. This can of course be scary, startling and overwhelming; to best match your opponent you must avoid the glare of the Sun on the snow so you don shades, but they only replace brightness for total black blindness; your world is consumed, but, maybe this is the perfect thing for the moment— you have eluded capture ad act now invisibly, intangibly, or, this depth of mystery is what you had been hacking and depth sounding through the walls to reach. Mars’ spike strikes black gold on the 8th but the culmination of the entire array occurs the following day.
In the early hours of January 9th (2am) Venus conjoins the Sun as they enter the same degree as Pluto in Capricorn. The triple conjunction sextiles Mars still within a degree of Jupiter. Meanwhile, in other territory, the Moon applies to opposition with Uranus. The Moon and Uranus’ position here is square to the Capricorn three but only by sign, and are separate by nearly five degrees. Although the Moon does pass the point to perfect squares with all bodies in Capricorn on the way to opposing Uranus earlier in the night. This is quite an array and is likely to be felt, to be experienced, and for some quite deeply. By planetary days this will still be considered Venus’ night until the Sun rises, so this is her story being celestially discussed. In Capricorn she is very hands on, similar to in Taurus but in Capricorn she considers worth of what she touches and tastes, and in cazimi with the Sun her objectives are in line with intentions and visions. This is a moment to consider what to do with the objects you are most obsessed with and also with the materials of value that you are most intimidated by. There is certainly a connotation here of major power plays, some of which strategized sexually, from both the Pluto and Venus conjunction as well as the intense energy and involvement of the planets in Scorpio— It’s not surprising that at that moment the Moon in Libra concerned with the needs and safety of the greater equilibrium of justice and social relations becomes disturbed by the revolutionary rumblings of unabashed, indivisible individuality. Seizing what one loves, even if this means in a playing dirty maneuver of control and manipulation and being flung into mortal combat over the capturing of what one desires and ultimately what is capable of ultimately transforming things. It’s hard to not read ring around the sexual archetypes in this one; the eternal sex magic that animates us all; if that magic could be taken and used for larger purposes; to destroy the world, or to manipulate an entire population. If leaders of countries could cause mass destruction with orgasms in series like dropping white hot and rotating bombs that pearl the earth with craters and fuse sand into the precious things of a far flung future. There are plenty power objects laying around in the forest shadows beside and behind our own dwellings; we might follow the garden path that cuts through the bower into meadows less tame where what gods and fallen warriors slain dropped as they slunk off their horses skewered through the heart, or torn asunder their entrails unloose and spell out the formula for transcendental torture; its a list of simple ingredients, weeds and stones and roadkill scraps, and if we collect them all we might make a thing that shatters the mirror which separates us all from ourselves; from what we can’t reach; banshees shriek ruins harrowed glass as careful cordial tastes the friar’s lips; he may have sworn to celibacy but still a demon delivers him a nightly kiss.
With Pluto involved it’s hard to pin down exactly what we are talking about; it is beyond our current comprehension now by nature; but it will soon enough not only be what our hands crave to grip but what we desire and how we look to love. Apparently, although immediately disturbing emotionally and socially, it is part of the process of coherence, understanding and growth playing out.
Perhaps some things finally hit their ends, are no more, finally run out or can no longer go on, and in that moment of absurd or acute loss we reach for the nearest stone and hold it, both for comfort and protection, because it is both beautiful ad dangerous, because it is suddenly the only thing we understand, because we’ll need it tomorrow, because it has lasted so damn long in a world where all around it decays and rots away, because it is an instinctual act, and an intentional act, and in the bliss and pain of going beyond what seemed once an ultimate barrier the souvenir we found, that which caught our fancy in that moment of blindness becomes the new standard of aesthetic. This that is, that is known by its shape and touch and scent, can not be confused with inferior articles, this here is the corner stone, the talismanic token, the elixir, the mineral mother. From this we make our hatchet blade and swipe our first tree, and after that all else will lock into place. From this we lay the foundation that all crystalline and high tension and flexible tensile lattice spin and grow into a new world printed on demand out of advanced carbon fibers. From this which I hold in my hand above my head, says yee, the future is a result of the void which is creation and it is under my will that tomorrow arrives, as today is gone, as if had never come, and only in comparison to time’s notch-marks, the scrapes on the hull of the ship spell out the mistakes we must now avoid as an entire reality shall unfurl from the density of an egg of basalt and steadily replace the old dominion that was so privy to shooting itself in the face.
So we see, the meeting of the Sun and Venus which occurs at a regular schedule, and is colored of course by where it occurs, in which Zodiacal territory, is additionally loaded on this date, overlain Pluto and in collaboration with Mars-Jupiter’s Scorpionic machinations.
This is the Superior Conjunction, meaning it occurs on the other side of the Sun from us on Earth, and metaphysically, she reaches outward, specifically in this case to the Sphere of Pluto, and we assume, as Pluto is also Hades, and his Underworld is a place of gatekeepers and portals, to even further beyond, out to the fixed stars and their strange significations, other stellar systems alien to our own. Even though we certainly have a unified beyond, on a more personal level my beyond may not be your beyond, so for each of us the transmission may be different, but cazimi is always a good time to search and meditate (and sometimes initiate) as this is where Venus drops her seeds in the soil from celestial heights; allow the stellar rays to penetrate the stillness of your winter garden, let these songs of distant tongues describe the shapes and textures of tomorrow, the beauty that will blossom may be one darker than before, but also more real, as it is in the absence of the light we can best see the stars.
But the Sun is not absent from this equation, not in the least; it occurs in his heart, and it is at the center of this rod where we can feel the grace of motion that pulls our existence into being, within this oscillation, this rotation, within the sacred circle we feel the objects of our work, and their beauty is not just ephemeral, but operative.
So there is much to gather and much to wonder. We must be careful to not deceive the world or destroy it, and in our manipulations we are to massage the good from it, and in this we also face the worst and the most deceptive or destructive. Venus is the ladder rungs of obsidian that we climb up the hierarchy in Capricorn, and the falling in love with the plans to dominate the universe, or the passionate desire for a monument the world has never seen. Mars-Jupiter in Scorpio say, yes, melt down the earth, burn it and pound it and from its baseness make a thing of gold.
The Scorpionic and the Venusian qualities of this larger array may land this solidly in or on your love life, or may very well trigger a sudden infatuation or fatal attraction; make sure that you incorporate this strange and intense energy into some productive and consensual fantasy as this may be a combination whose safe words are replaced with passcodes and persuasions, whether this is between you and your normal partner or another.
Otherwise search out tomorrows epic aesthetic and fall in love with your future, a monolithic construction that stands firmly on the everlasting past.
Saturn in his rulership is powerful in the first decan of Capricorn, and it is here that the definition and limits of the world are least malleable, they are what they are by the laws of nature. One property may have copious clean water and dark, rich soil while its neighbor may have scorched sand and perpetual drought. What is possible her on the terrain we stand upon is very cut and dry in Capricorn, and what we are is measured by how we manage and deal with what is available and the obstacles we face. Quick and observant Mercury in Capricorn is able to assess these details with swift accuracy and know, as if by instinct, what is valuable around us, what can be used to our advantage and what is in our way. When he enters Capricorn at 12am, the first hour of January 11th, a certain cleverness and ingenuity becomes available, our options seem to increase, when really it is only our sight and thinking that have better assessed the situation. Similarly, he can help us see the hopelessness of a position and lead us into a more strategic, if one exists, if not he might prepare us to notice one when it arrives.
Mercury holds no fantastic dignity in Capricorn, but he is no longer in detriment, and he enters into his bound, so he takes a foothold into workable territory, and is able to get traction on the first step. This also Marks Mercury’s exit out of the shadow of retrograde. He enters Capricorn in considerably better condition than he’s been in for months. This is ideal timing, as shifts are occurring that have us looking at the ground, or for grounding as it comes to us from outer-space; we could use someone like Mercury who knows what he’s looking at and is organized enough to sort through it quickly. Nothing is particularly quick in Capricorn, but Mercury’s presence should speed things up enough that we should be able to keep up with the shifting of the sand in the hourglass. Trying for Mercury elections while he’s in his bound (the first 7 degrees, or roughly the 11th through the 15th) might bring a lot of clarity to a series of daunting situations.
Mercury steps into Capricorn applying to a conjunction with its ruler Saturn, but this doesn’t perfect until 2am on Saturday the13th, which will still be Mercury’s night until sunrise, and in the context of Saturn’s day. This might be the most ideal time to walk around the cliffs and castle corners and inspect the fortifications with the Noble Scribe, picking his brain and sending him on errands to retrieve invaluable blueprints and maps. Saturn tends to be prohibitive (only confirmatory to those who’ve earned it), but combined with Mercury he likes to get extremely organized and sort everything into boxes. This puts a damper on how far or where Mercury can step, and how much he might be able to say, but if anyone can sneak through the cracks in the foundations and slip you tools of escape its the Trickster, who has Saturn busy making lists, organizing tools and materials and calling labor into flanks. This is an excellent time for you to either do the same, or petition for the most crucial information Mercury can get while he is in close proximity to the Capricornian Emperor. There is much to advantage here, and though Capricorn presents everything difficult very literally, this Mercury ingress and conjunction is a moment to learn what we can, sketch up sound plans, draw up accurate maps and ready ourselves for the years ahead. Our Messenger is on the inside, so make use of your direct line and tap some wires.
Mercury may also be able to count the clock in the Lord Of Time’s house, and as the Thrice Great One, he who traverses between the worlds, Mercury can remind us here that Time respects the Timeless over the Temporal because he acknowledges what endures.
Herbal Notes: From Moon of Hyldemoer Herbals' Suzanne Stone :
These notes are suggestions for herbal allies to assist with the effects of the cosmic influences for the second week of January, 2018. As stated in earlier weeks, before imbibing any of the herbs recommended, research what is a recommended dosage, & ask yourself & research such questions as, Does this herb interfere with any medications I am taking?, Does this herb match with my constitution?, Do I really need to take this herb into my body?
Be wise: listen to your own body, intuition, guiding spirits & the plants themselves.
Imbibing the herbs recommended is of course only one way of meeting the herbs. There are multitudinous manners of developing relationships with our herbal allies including sitting with the fresh or dry herbs, or a picture/drawing of the herb, making an amulet to wear or have on your altar (adhering to planetary hours/days is important here), visioning or meditating with the plant, & taking an herbal body or foot bath (In this case remember your skin is the largest organ of your body). Use your imagination & listen to the plants, they have been on this planet much longer than we have & have much wisdom to offer.
“…Even if it feels like waging war fighting in a cave within the moment, it later defines & ushers in catalysts & sets precedents for our personal & collective histories” The forecast for this Sunday has both Mars’ brash & Jupiter’s optimistic qualities continuing the joined forces in the depths of the second decan of Scorpio, continuing with the idea of the Tower of the Tarot, of collapsing that which does not serve. During this time, I would offer to continue working with the spirit of Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), ruled by Venus & under Leo, as stated in last week’s herbal forecast. I consider Motherwort to be a warrior, one who knows how to don armor, slice through that which is not needed, support the heart, as well as make an action plan amongst adversity.
Some other warrior herbal allies who know the terrain of the Underworld & whom it would behoove one to befriend, are Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), & Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum). These are strong warriors & it is only recommended to work with them if you are prepared to do the work, not for those who want things to comeeasy. Those prepared to call upon hard-working Saturn in Capricorn, as an ally & cohort who challenges & pushes, & not those who wish to hide from the long, determined, slow work of Saturn. If these herbal allies are new to you, read about them, look at pictures, meet them in person if possible, draw pictures of them, mediate & vision with them. Take it slowly, building relations takes a while, often a lifetime & beyond.
Black Cohosh seems to have access to the earthly underground realm as well as the cosmic realms. The dark roots & rhizomes smell of the forest floor telling us of the strength & stability of our groundedness on Earth. These dark roots can remind us of our shadow selves, which when called upon as strength, can be a real ally. The white brilliant flower spike of black cohosh is reminiscent of the light & vastness of the stars helping us to envision & reach beyond ourselves & our sometimes murky emotions. (Follow the bees in summer, they know.) With these signatures, Black Cohosh can assist with deep, dark depression, uncertainty or inner struggle & help us to be expansive with our thoughts, emotions & life. If calling upon Black Cohosh for depression, make sure one has a strong support system, as Black Cohosh can bring up our deepest depths of feelings & emotions. This is important work, but also important to have support in this work, as we are not islands. It is interesting to note that another strength of Black Cohosh is to assist our bodies is healing from whiplash, a possible physical or emotional repercussion of the crash of the destruction of the old to allow for the rise of a truer path for oneself
Caveat: Moderate to large doses of black cohosh can lead to cramping, unpleasant feelings, nausea, & headache, so smaller doses are recommended.
I tend to work with herbs that are growing in my bioregion, but sometimes I am drawn to those that reside elsewhere. For meOcotillo is such an herbal ally. Ocotillo, native to the deserts of the SW, Baja & Mexico, has been called upon for pelvic congestion, UTIs, & lymphatic drainage. gall bladder & liver health as well as for its protecting warrior qualities that assist one in stepping into their own fullness. The physical protective armor of this desert plant rises from the ground, sometimes with a hundred arms 15-20’ high, reaching like ones nervous system sensing the world around us. The bright red, hummingbird like, flowers after a rain show this plant’s exuberance & vitality for life. Before I even met Ocotillo, I called upon this plant in tincture form for pelvic congestion. Not only did I feel the clearing of stagnant energy, but I also felt the reminder of the upwelling of my own personal strength & confidence. A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Ocotillo in the deserts of California & was moved to tears by the strength of this 20’ tall ally, reaching its many fingered, spiky spires into the sky. An undeniable, life-changing warrior. A good way to sustainably honor this ally is to call upon its flower essence or vision with the plant for its steadfast guidance.
Devil’s Club is a true warrior & protector of the Northwest forests shown with its spines & the way it grows in stands, the strength of many. Devil’s Club is a mover of stagnation from loosening congestion in the respiratory tract to completely allowing the unnecessary to fall away in ones life like the Tower card. In fact one growth pattern of this spiny, umbrella-leaved ally is that when the spiky spire becomes too top heavy with spines, leaves & red berries, it falls over & roots itself, creating great stands in a beautiful slow motion undulating movement. Devil’s Club medicine is only for people who really feel ready to face themselves & truly grow, as to call upon this ally is to call upon personal integrity & change. Calling upon this ally can lead to great life change & disruption, as the instable structures fall away, leading to real growth in rich, dark soil. For me, Devil’s Club is also the guardian of the central fire that leads to the Underworld. One must dance round the fire & then jump into it to burn away the stagnancy & to allow for new growth to grow from the ashes. New/old life is breathed into the ashes from the lower realm (putrefaction into rebirth).
You could choose one of these warriors that calls to you, or another warrior like Yarrow, Nettle & Borage mentioned last week, as a warrior herbal ally for this year. They will be invaluable friends & comrades in arms as we are called to reassess & realign parts of our lives this coming year & beyond.
The sextile to Pluto calls to our need to continue the deep, challenging, & difficult work of the Underworld helping to “pull the tempered diamond from the ruff”. This is also an honoring day of one of our great Goddesses, Hekate, of crossroads & the Underworld. Offering herbs like Angelica, Lavender, Yew, Pomegranate, Cardamom, Garlic, Almonds & Willow to Hekate today would honor & petition for your deep transformations in the darkness.
As stated in the forecast, the Superior Conjunction of Venus & the Sun, or cazimi, is “always a good time to search & meditate & sometimes initiate.” This is an auspicious time, reaching all the way to the Otherworld realms of Pluto, “whence Venus drops her seeds in soil form celestial heights. Allow stellar rays to penetrate. Listen to the songs of tomorrow.”
On this day, I recommend burning some herbs of the Sun & of Venus together on the Sun or Venus’ hour, while focusing the intention of setting certain visions in motion. Some Sun herbs I would advise are Cedar, Juniper, St. Joan/John’s Wort &Sandalwood to be mixed with Venusian herbs like Mugwort, Yarrow, Geranium, & Rose.
Saturn in the rigid first decan of Capricorn, is joined by Mercury, allowing for accurate details & quick observation so to understand our surroundings more lucidly. Also Mercury exiting the shadow of Retrograde, leads to clarity we have not felt in months. Mercury elections recommended. A Mercurial cup of Peppermint, Red Clover, Fennel or Fenugreek tea can bring a quickness to ones brain & thought patterns. Mix in some Saturnine Comfrey or Knotweed for steady structure. Calling upon mind clearing & alertness herbs like Sage (Salvia officinalis), Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), & Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) through tea, tincture or meditation will help with the Mercurial elections.
Cunningham, Scott. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs Llewellyn Publications, 1997.
Johns, Cassandra. Numen Naturae: Dismantling the Tower House of Hands, 2017.
Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West Red Crane Books, 1993.
Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants North Atlantic Books, 2008.
Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants North Atlantic Books, 2009.
Moon of Hyldemoer, Suzanne Stone, Community Herbalist.
This information is not a substitute for a health care practitioner. Not to be reproduced without permission.