Pisces, Mercury retrograde, Ceres, Persephone, and many other things

An Angel watches over an argument between Ceres and Mercury

Euphoria winged heart

In Pisces Time

  • Venus is conjunct Neptune in Pisces at 2 – 4 degrees.

  • Sun is conjunct Chiron in Pisces at 9 – 10 degrees.

  • Mercury retrograde is conjunct Mars in Pisces at 19 -20 degrees.

Pisces is always on our minds at this time of year, the end of Winter in our northern hemisphere, with green shoots soon to be Narcissus poking through the dark earth.  This February and March, however, has more Piscean energy than normal.  The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Chiron, and Neptune are all in Pisces, with Mercury retrograde combined with Mars, Venus combined with Neptune, and the Sun combined with Chiron now at the end of February.  The Pisces-Virgo full moon that just occurred on February 25 was within a couple degrees of Chiron in Pisces.

Pisces is an archetype of the infinite and timeless, of the higher Spirit, God, or Goddess interconnecting all of life, in all dimensions and realms.  Moving in time with Pisces means moving in rhythm more with kairos time, the opportune or intuitively correct time to do something, more so than chronos time, the chronological time we “should” do something.  In Pluto: An Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Jeff Green links the Taoist concept of Wu Weiwith the Pisces and the 12th House archetype.  Green explained that wu wei is an important Piscean development of awareness to act in accordance with the needs of the eternal now, more so than the needs of our egocentric point of view.  Therefore, if decisive action is required, we act directly; if it is a harmonious time to become more internal and self-reflective, we can enter a more contemplative state of being.  My cousin, who has been studying the Tao through acupuncture and qi gong, told me that  wu wei is “actionless action,” “action without action,” or “doing without doing” because if you are in line with the Cosmos, “then all of your actions are completely in integrity and you influence the world without trying.  The political idea (from ancient China) would be a ‘sage king’ who is so attuned with the Universe that the kingdom and all the subjects benefit without him doing anything. The simplest image . . . is to flow like water.”

Now that Mercury is moving retrograde in Pisces, it will take extra effort for us to keep up with chronos time and the deadline-bound demands, expectations, and responsibilities of our daily work and life.  It will be harder to make it to work on time or have an expected project completed by a specific deadline unless we place a lot of conscious focus there to make it happen.  In contrast, it could be easier to drift off into a more creative, artistic, and reflective pursuit that may on the surface appear to be escapist and not make much sense to the expectations of others around us.  We must be careful, however, of escapist desires that are masking deeper wounds in our psyche we do not want to face;  the Mercury retrograde and Mars conjunction in Pisces right now is in square to Ceres in Gemini, which could reflect addictions and compulsions we fixate on such as over-eating, drug use, or co-dependent relationships in order to provide for our nurturing needs in a grasping manner, instead of finding ways to nurture ourselves that keep us on a healthier path.  Also, remember that Mercury and Mars were traveling together direct in Pisces for most of the month of February before only recently coming into a square with Gemini Ceres; earlier in February Pisces Mercury and Mars were conjunct Chiron in Pisces and squaring Jupiter in Gemini.  Thus, throughout February the Mercury and Mars conjunction in Pisces could have reflected us stridently acting and perceiving events from an emotional perspective that could be either distorted by limiting beliefs or past unhealed wounds.  In contrast, if we have been working on facing past patterns and issues with intention of transformation, we could make choices from a more intuitively feeling place we have helped cultivate through a mindful practice of some sort that helps us heal and purify our inner psyche to create a healthier root foundation for our actions.  Now that Mercury has shifted into a retrograde phase, there could arise more discrepancy between our internal desires for what we want to do with our time and energy versus the external demands of our environment for our time and energy.  The strong squares from Gemini Jupiter and Gemini Ceres, the ultimate divine sister and brother team, to all of the intense Pisces energy of the moment could place us in fast moving and shifting situations full of turmoil and chaos.

From my personal experience during this time period, the universe has been asking me to embrace a higher level of frequency and speed in my daily life, a need to attune to quickly shifting needs relating to my daily work responsibilities.  My Mercury and Midheaven are at 4 degrees of Pisces and have been especially struck with Pisces transits recently, as well as my Pallas Athena at 9 degrees, and Sun at 28 degrees of Pisces conjunct Jupiter, all in my 10th House.  The difficulty has been balancing the myriad needs of my work environment with my own needs for personal time and the needs of loved ones in personal relationship with me.  I have felt, however, that the Universe has been asking me to think, process, make choices, and act at a faster rate and a higher frequency, not so much as multi-task as being able to focus on one thing and then shift focus to another. It has felt like an important time of preparation to be ready to face greater responsibilities and challenges in the near future.

The Venus-Neptune conjunction just coming into manifestation at this time can help with a greater heart opening and awareness of where we need to direct our love and energy moment to moment.  Venus and Neptune combined in Pisces can certainly lead us down illusionary paths, make us more prone to be lost in a fantasy world.  However, if we have been on a path of intention recently to connect more with our true Soul path in life, then this current conjunction of Venus and Neptune can help our heart pierce the shell of crystallized patterns, habits, and emotions we protect our true vulnerability with, for us to open to the potential of expressing unconditional love and faith in our daily life.

In the greater cosmic context of the ripening Pluto-Uranus square, with Saturn in Scorpio moving retrograde, the potential heart opening of Venus and Neptune together in Pisces could even feel shattering.  In current events, it is symbolically fitting that the Pope resigned earlier in February with the intense Pisces conjunctions of Mercury, Mars, Neptune, and Chiron, as the structure of the Catholic church is being shaken in a Uranian way for a potential Plutonic transformation.  Pisces, an archetype in line with the true message of Jesus, fittingly has intense energy being expressed at the same time a bright light is being shone upon the “viper’s nest” of political intrigue amongst Cardinals and other catholic power structure elite who have been covering up sexual abuse and other corrupt practices within the Church.  Whether or not Catholic officials choose to take this moment of “divine intervention” to truly attempt to reform and remake their structure,the opportunity has presented itself.

In our personal lives, the Sun currently being conjunct Chiron in Pisces, the recent conjunctions of Mars and Mercury with Chiron, as well as the conjunction of Venus and Chiron in Pisces in the near future, point to the combined archetypes of Chiron with Pisces being important in this time.  The Chiron archetype is often described as a wounded healer ability we have to heal and transform others as a gift from having done the hard work of facing our own wounds.  However, Chiron is also the trainer of heroes, and we are being asked to step more deeply into our special heroic identity and destiny at this time.  The call of our heroic journey has been more piercing recently because Chiron in Pisces has been in the process of being tested by a square from Jupiter in Gemini.   Integral to this process of stepping into our “Hero’s Journey,” as Joseph Campbell so famously illuminated, is the archetype and function of Mercury.  Mercury first moved direct conjunct Chiron while being conjunct Mars in Pisces at the same time at the beginning of February.  This was a time to begin to harmonize our force of Will (Mars) with how our sense of perception (Mercury) is shaped in relation to our Chiron issues: our wounded past, our special gifts and talents buried in our psyche, and the tremendous strength we can mine from going deep inside to confront our personal demons and fears, gaining the ability to re-emerge with gifts we can share with the people we attract into our life.  Recently Mercury stationed retrograde and became conjunct with Mars once again in Pisces, and now Mercury has embarked on his retrograde journey into our personal underworld, eventually becoming conjunct Chiron again moving retrograde, stationing direct around the Spring Equinox, and then moving direct to conjunct Chiron a third time in the Spring of 2013.

To put it all in a mystorical perspective, Mercury moving retrograde in Pisces at this time is like Hermes journeying into the underworld in order to negotiate a release of Persephone from Hades so that she can return to her mother Demeter.  The Gemini Ceres squaring the Pisces Mercury-Mars conjunction is like the anger and rage of Demeter over losing her daughter Persephone to the underworld and Hades.  She is furious at her brother Zeus for allowing it to happen, and so Zeus convinces Hermes to brave the underworld in order to guide Persephone back to the arms of her mother.  Taking my own creative license with the myth, I feel that Demeter as the Great Goddess of Earth and fertility would clearly have had strong opinions about exactly how Hermes should proceed and attend to the safety of her daughter; Hermes, being slippery and intelligent enough to negotiate not only the underworld but also the power of Hades, likewise would have had the ability to hold his own with Demeter in an intense debate about how he would have to negotiate with Hades.  Ultimately, Hermes is able to retrieve Persephone from the underworld, but it came at a price that Demeter would have to compromise in a Piscean manner of surrender:  Persephone would spend half of the year above ground with her mother Demeter, and the other half of the year presiding over the dead and guiding Souls in the afterlife in the underworld with her partner Hades.  The fact that this tragedy that befell Demeter ultimately resulted in our seasons of the year, the glorious fertility of Spring, and our corresponding conscious awareness of the rebirth from death element inherent to creation, means that her letting go of attachment to possessing Persephone has a fated quality linked to the guidance of the angelic realm.  This theme can be mirrored in our personal lives today anywhere that we are overly attached to based upon our nurturing needs, needs that often have to do with unresolved wounds from our childhood and later personality development.  If we are creating suffering for ourselves because of grasping to control or possess an object of desire, we may be forced to surrender and let go of it in order to find the Piscean faith that our lives will ultimately work out in a manner that will help us heal and rebirth ourselves in a manner for the greatest good.  Ceres and the Demeter myth have a lot to teach us about grief: our reactive ego parts of personality may feel like bitterly reacting with vengeance like Demeter, refusing to express our fertile love in our environment, metaphorically refusing to let flowers, life, and the harvest bloom around us.  If we keep in mind the wisdom that is often symbolized by the concept of Angelic guides, however, we can keep in mind that new life and creation will come out of the death and grief process, we can realize that new exciting endeavors await us.  Reflecting the recent transits of Chiron, Neptune, Mars, Mercury, the Sun, and Venus over the fixed star Fomalhaut, the Archangel available to guide us on our hero’s quest at this time is Gabriel.

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Replies to This Discussion

Awesome.  Spot-on. Thank you for this in depth and well-written article.

My own interest in the Demeter and Persephone mythology (I have a project of my own involving exploring these transformations) is greatly intrigued by your connecting it to this current surge of Pisces and Neptunian energies about.

Thank you, Roberta. Well, my interest in the Persephone myth is intrigued by your mentioning of working on a related project.  I would love to hear about what you are doing.  I've had ideas for art projects involving the myth in the past but have never gotten very far with them.  It's an incredibly powerful myth symbolizing such deep phenomenon.  I'm just starting to look more into the Persephone asteroid, transits and meaning- it is actually opposite my Mercury in my birth chart.  I'm thinking of going back and re-writing some more depth into the section of the article about Persephone, because I wrote it in a rushed manner trying to get it done while the transits I was writing about were still there.  Thank you for your compliments and interest!

Gray, hi:

Thanks for the wonderful article. I have several planets in Cancer, and my natal Saturn is in Scorpio, so I’m experiencing many lovely and powerful trines and grand trines these days. It’s great to hear your input on this.

An interesting take on the Demeter/Persephone myth has to do with patriarchy and ancient Greek cultural traditions. In ancient Greek culture, marriages were often arranged in such a way that the father’s wealth would stay in the family, often leading to daughters being ‘given’ to their uncles in marriage. Much is often made of the fact that Zeus and Demeter were the parents of Persephone, but little mention is made of the fact that Zeus and Hades are brothers. Zeus promises Persephone to his brother Hades. So what is often described as the “rape of Persephone” was actually a marriage arranged by her father. For ancient Greek women, the outrage of Demeter towards Zeus for doing this, and towards Hades for keeping her daughter away from her, would have been seen as a parallel to the oft arranged marriages to paternal uncles, and the long distances from the home that the daughter would have to travel (away from her mother) to live with her new husband.

I think these details add a great deal of significance to the story, both in terms of its lasting influence in the ancient world, and its meaning for modern women dealing with patriarchy. I’m not sure how all of this all fits with your reading of the planets in Pisces, but I thought I’d mention it.

All the best,
James

Hi James,

Thank you for your compliments and for sharing more about the myth. I'm using the blog mostly to get myself writing and do not always do a high level of scholarship: like, last week I was mostly writing this very fast to get it posted while the transits were happening.  I have been into this myth for a long time, but never thought about who Persephone's father was before- Zeus! That really blows my mind because I just had not thought of that.  I have been aware of the other aspects of the myth you mentioned, that Zeus thought Persephone would be a good choice to be the Queen with Hades, and so had given his approval to Hades.  I did not put this into the article because I wanted to focus more on the interplay of Fomalhaut with Mercury and Ceres, but this is actually also reflected in the astrology of recent times, since Jupiter has been in Gemini squaring all of the intense Pisces energy.  

I also had not thought of the dynamic of arranged marriage that you are referencing, but that makes a lot of sense.  I noticed your comments about synchronicity, and one form that has been showing up for me is that the times I've had access to mainstream media, I have seen intense imagery of slavery. I caught a moment of a History channel movie about the Bible showing Moses and the Jewish slaves of Egypt being whipped, and then I just saw the movie Django Unchained through an odd manner that literally just showed up for me- again with slaves being whipped.  There is a lot of dark oppression from the patriarchy that is being processed on a huge collective soul level in these times, in my opinion.  I appreciate your comments because they give me more to think about.

Also, I just want to check if you actually read my whole blog, through clicking on the link above this image, or if you just read the excerpt I have above. I'm not sure if I'm presenting it in the right manner here for people to read the entire article.  I noticed you have a background in religious studies, so I would be curious to get your feedback about how I wrote about the star Fomalhaut, also known in astrology as the Archangel Gabriel.  I also go more into the Persephone myth.

Best,

Gray

Gray, hi:

That is very interesting, the oppression of patriarchy that you mention. I wonder if some of that may be related to the ongoing Uranus Pluto square. There is certainly a lot of Hades-like influence resisting the radical freedom of ongoing new growth in the world today.

In any case, no I did not notice that this was only an excerpt (you may want to explicitly invite people to visit that link). Wow…that is quite a lot of writing you’ve done there, I’m afraid I haven’t had time to read all of it. I am amazed, though, to learn of the ‘angelic stars,’ I’d never heard of them. That whole area of thought sounds fascinating, though. I’m pretty much an amateur at astrology, still trying to learn all of the basics. I’m afraid my religious studies background has not given a lot of exposure to Gabriel (or the angelic host) aside from Gabriel’s appearance in the Quran and Hadith of Islam. He also appears a lot in the poetry of Hafiz of Shiraz, a wonderful Sufi poet.

You’re doing fascinating work, though, Gray. Thanks for sharing it with us.

All the best,
James

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