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Shapeless Catalyst

Sunday February 11th

We begin our day with Mars approaching the fixed star Antares, which has been known as CorScorpionis, or the heart of the Scorpion, as it is the central star in the constellation of Scorpio, which is the Southerly most zodiacal constellation, and since it lost its claws to Libra’s scales in antiquity has had negligible contact with the actual ecliptic. Multiple cultures have seen his southernly orientation as evidence for haunting the gateway off the Underworld, and his poisonous attacks on Horus and Orion have marked their mythological trials which ushered them into the realms of the dead, thus Scorpio’s associations with traumatic transitions, intensity and initiation ordeals. But what venom is contained in the Scorpion’s heart? Antares translates to the “Anti-Aries”, or the Rival Of Mars, Aries’ ruler, as Antares fiery color and brightness is similar to Mars in the sky. This similarity extends to its significations, in the very Scorpionic sense: obsession, passion, zeal, intensity; this is a star that imbues the planet which touches it with an ability to seek success through dangerous extremes and willingly proceed toward objectives through tumultuous states of transition and transformation. There are certainly “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”, “no pain no gain” and shamanic initiation ordeals baked into this stars stuff. As Mars and Antares are already similar in nature and effect, their combination often pushes influences and actions into excess of danger, leading to risk of injury, accident and disaster, but also martial and militaristic bravery and clarity of focus. This is action without hesitation, and with a Mars very ready in Sagittarius to jump on any opportunity to push the philosophical envelope, it becomes go time for agenda’s advancement. Whatever Jupiter digs up in Scorpio that looks nasty enough to incite a riot, Mars will say “Charge!”, red buttons pressed and witch hunt flash-floods flared up so fast you didn’t even have time to take notice before the executions and excommunications already occurred. While we watch people spill their guts we must be weary to not get cornered and succumb to the reactions of those around us that breath fire and vomit poison.

Interestingly, Venus has entered exaltation in Pisces the previous night around 7pm on February 10th, and is already applying to square this revved up Mars. Jupiter, Sagittarius’ ruler, is trine by sign to the newly exalted Venus, so this square with Mars is an obvious clash of interest and attitude, but a much needed one. Jupiter could help inform Mars to his own as well as Venus’ angle, transferring some benefic perspective to the instigatory firebrand. Catalyst and initiation is often what’s called for, and it will be interesting to see if what Venus in Pisces portends makes it over to what we do rather than just how we feel. In Pisces Venus turns toward, or really re-turns toward the cosmic, the celestial and the primordial. The mysteries of the genesis of all things, the amorphous fluid alive with potential life that created us all, and to which, by Piscean intuition we shall all return as reality dissolves and we all become one once again, melting the barriers and boundaries away between our identities, there is only compassion, imagination and mystery. An ever changing, free flowing, shapeless, emotional, philosophical swirling of spiritual and psychic receptivity, ever expanding, and washing away division. For Venus, this aims her charms at intuitive and emotive forms; rather than the craftsmanship born of laborious efforts in Taurus or the refined cultural poise exhibited in Libra, here we have interpretive dance, expressionist painting, improve theatre, and ambient music. As she is exalted here but does not rule Pisces, she has less of an agenda, just seeks freedom, pleasure, fantasy, expression of emotion and an outlet for psychic insight. It can clearly be seen how this creates an interesting dynamic with Mars in Sagittarius aggressively motivated target orientation and Jupiter’s alchemical ingenuity to turn past poisons into future power potions. The last time we had this triple dynamic was February 7th to February 17th of 1828, a period in which Jules Verne was born, the author of Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). The combination of crossing dangerous liminal states for the benefit of expanding understanding, transitory culture transforming adventure and the ability to freely fantasize artistically is clearly exhibited. The past three years it was Saturn squaring Venus each time she entered her exaltation, so her boundless expressions were limited by restrictions of philosophy, spirit and perceived truth. This time currents of Yin crash against fireballs of Yang; a much more purely elemental combination, and both planets being of the nocturnal sect are able to use clashing impressions to paint a possibly disturbing yet dynamic picture; while Saturn actually sextiles Venus from Capricorn, where the rules and structures of the earth are able to work collaboratively with Venus’ pleasurable outpourings, like elixir rivers meandering between submerged columns.

The Moon joins Saturn in Capricorn causing us to feel like doing hard things for long periods of time while starving ourself of needs; this kind of thing normally lowers immune, mental and emotional strength. When satisfying the self starves the body from working to hard, but with Saturn and Pluto present, there may be obligation and fear motivating the toil. These are clear minor notes rumbling beneath the enchanted waters and pounding hearts. These might fall into similar categories to what the Sun sees separating from a square with Jupiter. Tensions arising in untangling and extricating ourselves from karmic traps as we engage with turning pain found in cycles of depravity into opportunities for emotional growth. This seems productive but tricky and sticky. Mercury can help some by facilitating separating logic and emotion, promoting objectivity, although as he advances close enough to the Sun to become combust on this day, much of this intellectual line will be internalized and kept to ourselves.

Monday Feb 12th

As the Moon conjoins Pluto at 1pm fears and mysteries, emotional responses to the beyond, the unknown and the underworld in general send us spelunking into the deepest emotions possible. This is a monthly transit but exacerbated by Saturn’s presence in Capricorn and is worth mentioning now as we find this dark pulse, once we submit the rhythm becomes normal, as Pluto is an integral element of the three year Capricorn story we’re now within.

Tuesday Feb 13th

Mercury squares Pluto in the early evening (6pm) forming tension between conceptual objectivity of intellect and fear, mystery, obsession, the unknown, the deeps. Imagine for example, coming to understand that a theory you’ve been working with intent-fully when put into practice might lead to annihilation.

A few hours later the Sun sextiles Uranus (9pm); Abstract, conceptual, fringe and out of the box identity, vision and will can collaborate with performance of pure individual impulse on a revolutionary, chaotic or epiphanic level. Especially abstract thinking that leads out of complicated entanglement. Simultaneously, Venus steps onto the fixed star Fomalhaut (9pm) which connects an already fully enchanted Venus to a source of mystical poetry. This star marks the mouth of the fish which drinks the water poured from Aquarius’ urn, and thus receives the mythical flow of life’s fertile emission. Greeks aligned Demeter temples to its rising and the Persians considered it one of the four Royal Stars, and it was considered the Watcher of the South, as Antares is the Watcher Of The West. Fomalhaut puts what it blesses in touch with an understanding of the nature of all relationships, an ability to intuit the poetry of natures design,and an ability to operate successfully from this subtle sense rather than from force of will. This is an interesting contrast to Mars’ recent visit to Antares. Venus here is a dreamer, and can even be fanatical in their acknowledgement in the magic of everything around them, which can even lead to the promotion of mystically aligned ideologies, which is interesting, as Mars is just waiting for useful ideologies to be promoted so he can consolidate them into campaigns. Outside of Mars’ seething, philosophical maneuverings, a Fomalhaut-Venus is a wonderful thing, eminence deriving from magical poetry. A great example of a Venus Fomalhaut is Camile Paglia, who’s book Sexual Personae follows the currents of decadence from chthonic magic to modern times and contemporary culture. She was known for her fanatical presence as a lecturer and professor. Another example is Marilyn Manson, or on the other end of the spectrum, Hugh Hefner and Benny Hill. Clearly, as we connect all of the above its obvious that sexual freedom is also in this combination’s nature. We also get Mozart, which reinforces the force of artistic abilities here, and the ability to enchant ambiently (instrumental music).

Thursday Feb 15th

Thursday brings us the next in the eclipse set, which begins the closing of the current eclipse season, a partial Solar Eclipse on the South Node at 4pm which opens portals to purge, loosening what dross clings as a lessening of identification with marginalization, abstract, fringe thinking, what was too conceptual or too untethered breaks up; what ideas are not tied down securely winnow away in the breeze, and probably for the best; what will release of conceptual disentanglement probably in a certain area of life for each person depending on their natal chart. A turn away from some form of decentralization in world affairs, such as extremist views beginning to seem increasingly preposterous, no matter which camp they side on. As it is an eclipse, it is naturally imbalanced, and typically experienced subconsciously, so hard to predict very specific effects, especially as it is partial it may be more subtle. It occurs in the 26th Mansion, which is good for love, marriage, friendship, health, healing, traveling by land, farming, gardening and commerce, and bad for sea journeys and building structures, so it may fall along these lines to a degree, but could be also an inversion of them as it is an eclipse rather than a New Moon lunation.

As Venus sextiles Saturn around 6pm highly emotional and free flowing art and fantastical imagination become able to collaborate with boundaries, structure, rules, tests or strength, strategy, foundation, history, and time, preferring primordially inspired long-games, such as geological genesis role play. Even though this is a soft aspect, any contact between Saturn and Venus tends to bring some discomfort, as there is always some restriction of pleasure in the conversation, but this is the very recipe necessary to turn poetry into stage productions, or even published poesy for that matter; as books require spines.

Friday Feb 16th

We may fall deeper into Venus’ spell come 11:30 am Friday morning, as the Moon conjunct Venus brings feelings of the imaginative emotional fantasy and dreams, stream of consciousness, and needs in sync with the expressive romance. Dancing is likely. Twelve hours later the Moon conjoins Neptune (11:30pm) and we get another dose, but this time even heavier on the fantasy, illusion, hallucination, and even drugs and alcohol end. This combination looks like maybe starting out moved and enchanted by the vibes but becoming inebriated and disoriented by the end of the night. Again, the Moon passes Neptune often unnoticed each month, but with Venus’ co-presence in Pisces this becomes an event.

Saturday Feb 17th

Coincidentally, Mars squares Neptune by 6:30am the following morning, and our amped up, opportunistic shit-starter comes clanging into our dream world. Imagine tension and friction, whether productive or destructive, between Shackleton and languid Dionysus; maybe there’s a bit of Aguirre: Wrath Of God in here, as there could be aggressive attempts to convince others or be convinced of something utterly untrue. We may wake up or lay dreaming about what we’d do with our life if we had all the resources at hand, with an either irritating or inspiring taste to it.

Luckily, a half hour later the Superior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun (7am) occurs, where celestial, divine and heavenly insight funnel directly into our intellects. This is Mercury, on the far side of the Sun from us, completely in line with the Sun’s will of abstract concepts of disentanglement but receiving messages from the heavenly and stellar spheres and transmitting them to where they are in our sight. These are best experienced by active listening, so some Mercury meditation planned for this moment usually reaps fantastic results, especially if you are already deep in by the time the alignment perfects. Maybe ring a bell or light a candle on your Mercury altar at the moment of conjunction to center the aspect, surrounded by anise seed stars and clothing of indistinguishable colors with transceivers switched on and coins organized into number and letter formations.

Going an extra step for this Superior conjunction is not a bad idea as Mercury ingresses into Pisces around midnight, entering detriment, so get your divine messages while you can. Mercury organizes and separates the minutia of logic, language, process and concept, whereas Pisces dissolves all boundaries so everything can be let go as all becomes one in love for the universe as it flows away. Mercury in Pisces is not unlike language and logic and travel on acid (maybe a good trip, normally, rather than a bad) Psychedelics can be great for poetry but bad for book reports. Things become more artistic and impressionistic but also confusing and often impossible. Logic becomes stuck being artistic. Non-artistic types tend to suffer more here while artistic people are struck by unusual inspiration, although, with a tendency to neglect responsibilities. Saturn in Capricorn will punish this behavior, so it would be good to schedule and strategize for this poetic period before hand. Also, whatever process of separating the intellect and emotion in Aquarius’ third decan is utterly lost. Logical objectivity swerves back to subjectivity heavily, everything is felt more than analyzed, and we are immersed in a world judged by parameters of either good or bad vibes. Perhaps Saturn’s sextile by trine to Pisces will allow the pragmatic and the mystical, the sticklers and the structure-phobic, to work together and help each other out, and perhaps create something both wondrously weird and structurally stable.


Moon of Hyldemoer Herbal Notes for Liminal Light

February 11-17, 2018

These notes are suggestions for herbal allies to assist with the effects of the cosmic influences of this week. 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, are our Elders & have much wisdom to offer.

Sunday, February 11

Continuing on with ones daily Oatstraw tea or Milky Oat Tops tincture/vinegar will behoof us today & this week, along with Nettles &Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) as we find ourselves working hard from a deep, possibly unknown motivation from the profoundness of Saturn & Pluto, without the self-care that is needed for such hard labor. We’ve talked much about the nourishing, mineral-rich, stamina & uplift of Oats & Nettle, both a true warrior’s ally. (see previous week’s herbal forecasts). Ashwaganda, part of the Solanaceae family (think nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, bittersweet) is native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & parts of Africa. It is an annual in my Maine garden, so can be grown in many climates. Ashwaganda is one of our calming Adaptogens (helping us to adapt to our varied, often stressful situations) as Ashwaganda supports our nervous system, calming anxiety, relieving insomnia from stress, & bringing needed energy after exhaustion. This iron rich plant helps to re-regulate the thyroid in cases of hypothyroidism, supports the adrenal glands, & can help relieve pain & inflammation of those dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Caveat: Ashwaganda is not to taken when dealing with hyperthyroidism, hemochromatosis (excess iron), or if one is sensitive to the nightshade family.

Any of these three herbs should be taken daily over extended periods of time for the most positive impact. Being that Ashwaganda is also an herb of Ketu (also Skullcap, another nervine) this would be a great time to begin incorporating this into your daily routine with the partial Solar eclipse in Ketu on Thursday, February 15.

With Venus coming into exaltation, ingressing into Pisces, at 7pm EST on February 10th, this is a great time to begin celebrating & nurturing their dreamy role here. Some ideas could include drinking Venusian Mugwort ale or tea, placing some in one’s hair, adding VenusianCardamom or Vanilla to one’s coffee or chai tea, drawing/painting Venus influenced Passionflower around one’s home, or sensually eating a Venusian Pear, Peach, Apricot, or Plum.

Monday, February 12

As the Moon conjuncts Pluto at 1 pm EST, a monthly occurrence, but for the next three years with Saturn’s influence, we may feel some monthly fears of the unknown creep up. One of my favorite herbal allies to call upon when I am facing such fears is Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca). Taking 3-6 drops of Venusian Motherwort tincture in times of overwhelm will allow one to see portals, paths, keys, directions that were hidden in the shadows of fear previously. Motherwort tea is extremely bitter, so add some Mercurial Peppermint for taste & clarity if taken in this form. Sometimes I add a few drops of Lunar Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) for uplift & ability to bring back wisdom that is lurking in the depths.

Adding some Mercurial herbs this day & as the week progresses will allow for an objective view of these mysteries, at least while still in objective Aquarius. Burn some Mercurial Lavendar or drink a cup of Mercurial Peppermint tea for a stimulating, mind opening view as gazing/scrying into the unknown.

Tuesday, February 13

Continue with Motherwort tincture by your side as well as begin to call upon nervine Skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia) (3-5 drops of tincture) as Mercury squares Pluto at 6 pm EST to help release tension felt as ones mental concepts venture into the depths of the unknown. Relax with Venus with a chalice of your favorite Honey wine or mead, maybe infused with Venusian Rose or Mugwort.

Thursday, Feb 15

Continuing through eclipse season, this time in the South Node (Ketu) in Aquarius at 4pm EST, we will be called to let go of some abstract, fringe thoughts that are now serving us anymore or maybe never did. Some of my herbal allies that help let go are Silk Tassel (Garrya eliptica),Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) & Peony (Paeonia officinalis). These I call upon as low-dose botanicals, herbs that are to be used in small (1-3 drop) doses.

Silk Tassel, found in western North America, offers long, white, silky tassels of flowers in January, a beautiful sight of one letting go, possibly tears falling or ones momentous onus being released into the world. Silk Tassel also aids us letting go of the grief that accompanies loss. Medicinally, Silk Tassel is often called upon for spasmodic cramp & pain relief (of the GI tract & menstrual cramps) & increasing bile production thereby supporting the gallbladder in its great work in our bodies. Emotional & physical release often go hand in hand.

Ghost Pipe, a parasitic forest wildflower that taps into the intersection of the mycelium of fungi & the rhizomes of the nearby trees & thereby receives nutrients from both fungi & tree, is found in much of North America except for the Southwest portion. This ghostly white, lacking chlorophyll, plant rises from the forest floor with white bells which hang to the ground & after pollinated reach up to the sky & form brown seed pods that release seeds through little slits in the dark pod. This dear ally has a connection to both Earth & Sky on many levels, including rising from the ground in a position of honoring where they have come from & then an honoring to the sky & release. A few drops of Ghost Pipe tincture taken alone or in a formula, can help release deep grief, old habits, & that which does not serve. Ghost Pipe is also called upon for assistance with dealing with great physical or emotional pain, often giving the feeling of the pain being outside the body offering the ability to stand beside it & really see it for what it is. Herbalist David Winston says Ghost Pipe is “antinociceptive, which means something that reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli. So Monotropa is primarily an antinociceptive, it raises the pain threshold.” Herbalist Sean Donahue has called upon Ghost Pipe successfully many times for helping to bring people back from a bad trip from psychoactive drugs/plants. For the pain relief & the bringing one back down to Earth, 3 drops – several 1 ml doses is a recommended. As with all plants, Ghost Pipe is not to be overharvested & to be honored.

Peony, including ornamental Peonies, can be called upon for releasing that which is not serving & feeling confident in who one is upon this release. Medicinally Peony is called upon in small dosages to offer relief from cramping & for women dealing with excess estrogen as they traverse through menopause. As well, peony root has been proven time and time again to stop fits & seizures in children when worn as a necklace around their necks. The vapor of the peony root is released as it is drying & stills the spasms of the person wearing the necklace.

Friday, February 16

The Moon conjunct first Venus, 11:30 am EST & then Neptune at 11;30 pm EST is a great day to access ones imaginative, stream of consciousness realms. Venusian Hibiscus/Rose/Jasmine tea, Mugwort/Wormwood/Poppy tincture, a glass of honey wine/mead, dreaming under a branch of Mugwort, adorning oneself with Lunar Sandalwood, Gardenia, or Jasmine, or whatever your favorite way to access your dreamy, imaginative realm is recommended.

Saturnsday, February 17

With Mars squaring Neptune a half an hour before Mercury has a superior conjunction with the Sun, following the advice of a Mercury meditation is greatly encouraged. This may also assist Mercury heading into detriment in Pisces at midnight. Mercurial herbs that I often recommend allying oneself with include Peppermint/Lemon Verbena/Pomegranate tea, Lily of the Valley scents, Lavender/Marjoramincense, or carrying an Elecampane (Inula helenium) root on ones body. Ask for Mercury through these herbal offerings (at Mercury’s hour is preferred) to guide one in making a strategy for working through Mercury’s murky journey through Pisces. (Writing as someone who has Mercury in Pisces in my natal chart, I understand this curse/gift.)

Saturnine herbs like Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) & Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) both have the plant intelligence of setting bones & ideas in their proper places. Low doses of 3-5 drops, 2x/day, or carrying some root/leaf in one’s pocket will guide one in this way. Meditating on the slow, stable strength of the Saturnine Yew (Taxus baccata) or sitting under a Yew tree can remind one of the measured & deliberate strength of Saturn. The Yew, due to the intoxicant scent of the berries, also can bring one to a dreamy realm, e.g. falling asleep/meditating under a fruiting Yew tree on a warm summer day can lead to this altered state. Caveat: All parts of the Yew plant are toxic, except the fleshy red berry (minus the brown seed which is very toxic!), so unless being directed by a professional homeopath/herbalist, call upon the spirit of this sturdy, fervent ally.


Cunningham, Scott. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs Llewellyn Publications, 1997.

Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West Red Crane Books, 1993.

Culpepper, Nicholas. Culpepper’s Colorful Herbal Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1983.

Hopman, Ellen Evert. A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year Destiny Books, 1995.

Winston, David and Maimes, Steven. Adaptogens, Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief Healing Arts Press, 2007.

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.

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