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June 2020: Venus Retrograde, The Lunar Eclipse and the Kneeling Man

A Month of Intensity, New Horizons and Listening to the Air

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Eclipse Illuminates The Kneeling Man

The Lunar Eclipse on the Sagittarian Full Moon June 5 is aligned with the fixed star Ras Algethi in the constellation of the Kneeling Man.

The image of the Kneeling Man is as old as humanity, evoking something primordial

The image is hard-wired into our psyches and DNA. The image of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in 2016 struck a collective cord as did a wholly different image of a police officer taking a knee atop George Floyd’s neck, to the cities where cops and protestors together took a knee in acknowledgement of injustice and pain of the systemic oppression of our fellow black citizens.

The living enactments of the kneeling man archetype has rocked our culture, has created an outcry that has all but drowned out the threat of a pandemic in the U.S and in cities around the world. It is worthwhile to contemplate the Celestial Kneeling Man and what his eternal presence in the night sky, seen by all people’s since the beginning of time, might offer us.

There have been different perspectives and stories told of the celestial Kneeling Man throughout the ages. In all stories he is a strong man. A Warrior. A Hero. A Fighter. With a club raised in his right hand, a story is told of him crouching to strike his prey. In another, he is weary from labor and comes to one knee, exhausted from the strain of his efforts. In our modern culture, the policeman and the football player are heroic figures, figures of strong men, of fighters. Their coming to one knee has demonstrated the two sides, the polarity that this archetype holds.

The Greeks adopted Engonasin, the Kneeling Man assigning one of their greatest heros to him: Herakles (Hercules in Latin). Herakles is best known for the completion of 12 labors, acts of great courage and strength. But he was not immortalized for this. No, he was given his place in the celestial sky for the moment when he was in great pain, the moment he knelt down and prayed to his father Zeus to grant him strength to triumph. Zeus chose to honor that moment of surrender and loyalty by immortalizing him in the sky with an image of him down on one knee.

The fixed star Ras Algethi is the head of the Kneeling Man. Its presence illumnated on the June 5 Eclipse points to the mindset that gives rise to right relationship. To have a planet in our natal chart, or to have the Full Moon aligned with this star, brings our awareness to Natural Order, to how things work and how they don’t. There is an awareness of the true relationship between humans, between human and divine, between human and the natural world.

There is a compelling desire to seek order and balance of life when Ras Algethi is present. We naturally are inclined to kneel in honor of something larger than ourselves, and to praise the divine that breathes life into all creation with the recognition that all that is alive is thus sacred. With Ras Algethi illuminated, we are called to help, heal and bring balance. There is a recognition that we are part of a web of life, and that our actions, our words impact the harmonious or inharmonious balance of the natural order and the way it was initially designed at the dawn of creation.

"The ultimate measure of a man

is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,

but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coming back to the strong man, the warrior, the hero: The celestial Kneeling Man is associated with acts of great courage and humility but also with acts of treachery.

When [Ras Alegethi is] rising it can mean a wise and clever man, but can also indicate an individual trained in various tricks, a liar who deceives with different kinds of plots… the thug who terrorizes the heart of the city...[The Kneeler] will inspire him with enthusiasm for risky callings, with danger the price, for which he will sell his talents: daring narrow steps on a path without thickness, he will plant firm feet on a horizontal tightrope... [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century, AD, p.353.]

There is a dual nature to the Kneeling Man figure as we have witnessed in the intentions of the kneeling football player and the kneeling cop of recent times. Both heeded ‘a risky calling with danger the price.” As eclipses have greater influence and impact than a regular Full Moon, the Kneeling Man archetype will continue to fuel a movement within our society. We will witness examples of both types of Kneeling Man who will use their strength and heroic status to take a knee. Some will use their role as the strong man to dominate others as a way to strengthen their own status as a strong man. Others will use their role to empower others and serve something larger than themselves.

Herakles roughly translated from Greek is: Glory of Hera (Hera being the goddess and wife of Zeus). Looking at the etymology, the name Herakles is broken down as 'kleu' meaning ‘to hear’ or ‘to listen’ and Hera as ‘air’. As a sky goddess, Hera is associated with air and with weather.

So, Herakles means: one who listens to the air. This definition brings us to looking at the planetary dynamics of the current astrological landscape and the Lunar Eclipse.

June: Listening to What is in the Air

The intensity and tumult of what is happening for humanity here in the U.S. and around the globe is mirrored in the dramatic and multiple astrological dynamics that form the backdrop for the June 5 Lunar Eclipse. Before saying more about the eclipse, it is worthwhile to spend a moment to give context to the astrological landscape for the eclipse that is compelling us and to take time to listen to the air and what is in the air.

For the last many weeks, multiple planets have been in Gemini, an air sign that rules the pulmonary system, communication, exchange of information, and air flow. Saturn (restriction) moved into Aquarius (air) in March reflecting restrictions with air travel and the spread of a pandemic effecting our lungs. It is notable that as humanity shut itself inside, the earth and her creatures began to breathe more easily. More recently, people have taken to the streets following the murder of George Floyd, a black man who said, “I can’t breathe” repeatedly for over 8 minutes before he stopped breathing all together.

The nodal axis recently shifted to Gemini/Sagittarius. The North Node placement speaks to the potential for a collective shift to take place, and in Gemini it compels us to soften cherished and perhaps rigid beliefs so we can listen and respond to what is in the air, to hear what has not been heard before and to adjusting accordingly so all life, not just some lives, can breathe with ease.

The Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn throughout 2020 is transforming and breaking down systems, laws and the status quo to usher in a way of living that is in better alignment with the natural order where laws and customs guide humans to live in harmony with the each other, the earth and the divine. Events are likely to stack one upon another throughout the year to usher in the required change.

Eclipse Season. June 5 Eclipse is the first of three eclipses that will take place over the next month. The next one is notable as it will be a Solar Eclipse happening on the day of the Summer Solstice, June 21. Eclipses interrupt the course of how things are going and allow for endings and new beginnings.

Retrograde Season – Most planets are currently moving backward

  • Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus are Retrograde

  • Mercury and Neptune will turn Retrograde later in June

  • Mars will move into Aries the end of June and will begin to slow down and ready for its retrograde. Instead of spending the usual 7 weeks in a sign, it will be in the fiery warrior sign of Aries until February 2021.

  • The Venus Retrograde is the most prominent of these retrogrades and worthy of further contemplation.

Venus Retrograde (May 13 – June 25 in Gemini)

I never lose.

I either win or learn.

Nelson Mandela

The retrograde motion of the outer planets is not especially noteworthy as they each spend roughly half of each year retrograde. They move at a relatively glacial pace and so their change in direction is not so jarring. The retrograde motion of the outer planets is felt more intimately in the aspects they form to our birthchart which stimulate natal potentials.

What is notable is that so many planets are retrograde and that Jupiter and Saturn turned Retrograde within days of Venus turning Retrograde on May 13. The middle of May when we were readying to be out of our houses once more, going back to the workplace, and re-engaging in social activites, the planets seemed to say: hold on, there needs to be added time of retreat from social engagement, from making big decisions and to take added time to contemplate and adjust to what has been stirred while we were indoors.

Retrogrades prompt us to take a step back to review, re-valuate, and regroup. They encourage a period of information gathering, and re-evaluating plans and goals. They are a beneficial part of the year’s cycle. Retrogrades only become problematic within a culture that values and rewards constant productivity and forward motion. The retrograde cycles remind us that life ebbs and flows, and that high activity is balanced by periods of integration and reflection.

There is a challenge inherent in having a whole cycle of retrogrades occurring just as we come out of our homes with the hopes of getting our worldly lives moving forward again. The Retrogrades indicate that life is not ready to move forward, that we are needing time to adjust our approach in a world has changed while we were at home. There is no getting back to normal anytime soon, and perhaps the old normal may be a thing of the past. For some this is good news and for others this produces anxiety. For all, we are encouraged to not charge forward, but to engage in reassessing how we want to meet this new world.

The Venus Retrograde is a signature event for June

Venus turns retrograde once every 18 months. As a faster moving planet, her retrograde motion can be disconcerting.

Venus Retrogrades invite us to take a step back from our relationships to gain perspective on what is working and what is not. We may have felt compelled to get some distance from a loved one or them from us. This is a healthy movement when Venus is Retrograde. We are needing to get in touch with what we value and to evaluate the degree to which our most cherished values are validated and expressed within our relationships. To the degree they are not, we are contemplating how to address the lack. We may be feeling a relationship is over or that a serious conversation is needed.

It is advised that while Venus is Retrograde, we hold off on making decisions or ultimatums about relationships or big purchases (as Venus rules money). It is beneficial to question if a decision is as urgent as it feels and to err on taking added time to ponder, discuss and explore our values and the value of our relationships. If a decision must be made, then make it from a place of calmness and consideration.

Former lovers may suddenly reappear. It is not necessarily about rekindling the relationship, but about bringing resolution to what was left hanging. The renewed connection can stir powerful feelings. This can be beneficial, but we are advised to not renew sexual intimacy until after the retrograde cycle is over on June 25 (and given Mercury will be Retrograde until July 12, taking things slowly in any relationship – current, old or new – through the middle of July will potentially produce the best outcomes.)

Venus is Retrograde in the sign of Gemini

We are looking at how we perceive and take in information and the mediums we can utilize to communicate. The desire to retreat from relationship during a Venus Retrograde may be circumvented by the desire to engage in dialogue, to gather and exchange information. We need to be mindful and take care when we feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of communications, information, misinformation, and ideas.

The constellation of the Kneeling Man reminds us to listen to the air (Gemini), to allow our need to communicate to be tempered by an equal interest in listening. This is what will foster fruitful discourse.

Venus was Out of Bounds from April 3 – June 2

All planets travel along the pathway of the ecliptic, a pathway whose boundaries are defined by the Sun's northern and southern declination points. Venus moved out of the ecliptic, out of the defined pathway of the planets for the last month.

Having ventured out of bounds, Venus becomes unrestrained, excessive and extreme in her desire to express her values unchecked and untampered by the response they may engender. Artists may have found an unbridling of their creativity. There may have been a freedom and abandon in lovemaking, if the partners where expressing values shared between them. To the degree that they were not, lovemaking may have carried some into dangerous waters.

On the world stage, the protests following George Floyd’s murder reflect Venus’ unbound, out of bounds, determination to assert her values, to communicate (Gemini) in an extreme way. Venus’ normal inclination of compromise and diplomacy were discarded as she boldly asserted values she lives by that she wants seen better expressed in the world.

Her retrograde ultimately has us doing the inner work to validate and stand by what we value, and not compromising our values in the face of circumstance. In Gemini, we are looking at new ways to hold a conversation, looking at how social media and other platforms can support what we have to say, looking at we can better listen and better speak to the values that give life meaning.

The Sagittarian Full Moon Eclipse - An Adventure for the sake of Learning, Freedom and Truth

As you are shifting,

you will begin to realize you are

not the same person you used to be.

The things you used to tolerate

have now become intolerable.

Where you once remained quiet,

you are now speaking your truth.

Where you once battled and argued,

you are now choosing to remain silent.

You are beginning to understand

the value of your voice

and there are some situations

that no longer deserve your time, energy and focus.

The Mind’s Journal

The Sagittarian Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on June 5

The Sagittarian Moon beckons to our adventurous spirit in the quest of freedom, truth, and the wisdom that is found from this. We are prompted to set aside cherished beliefs, listen and welcome a fresh perspective to expand our horizons beyond what we know.

Sagittarius is a lover of freedom – freedom to learn, to travel, to explore the distant horizon. There is an optimism and sense of possibility that open to us with the Moon in Sagittarius. Beliefs and truths we have come to hold act as rudders that can guide us to true freedom.

We may seek this freedom on a wooded trail, by diving into spiritual teachings or taking a vacation. The urge is to break out of both cultural and self-imposed limitations. We may seek this freedom by speaking and advocating for social justice . We feel chafed by the bridle and the reins that have held us back and we are ready to break free.

The Moon in Sagittarius opposing the Sun in Gemini creates a tension that begs resolution. The information we are receiving and the dialogue being generated (Gemini) challenges beliefs and notions of what defines freedom (Sagittarius).

Truths we have held may be upset. There is something new for us to hear, to engage. And yet, it is difficult to discern truth from lies, facts from alternative facts (square to Neptune). Lies, deceit and control tactics make it difficult to discern what is happening at the heart of the dialogue. We may be feeling bottled up, agitated, wishing to take bold action to express our beliefs in a passionate way (square to Mars).

The Sagittarian Moon opposes

The Sun and Venus Retrograde Conjunction and Squares Mars/Neptune.

Gemini’s constellation is The Twins. It is fitting that the city that sparked demonstrations around the world, is known as the Twin Cities. The last time the North Node moved into the sign of Gemini, 20 years ago we saw the attack and destruction of the Twin Towers in New York. Sometimes the symbolism of astrology can be literal and not just metaphorical. What began at the Gemini New Moon and in the Twin Cities, reaches a point of culmination at the Full Moon Eclipse marking the point where resolution can begin.

As the twins, Gemini embodies polarity and the ability to see two sides of an issue. Gathering data is empahsized over synthesis of information. In Gemini, issues can become polarized and duality heightened– day and night, black and white, progressive and conservative, chaos and order. Gemini can be a super salesman spinning information, using it to further some hidden agenda. It is with the Sagittarius Moon that we can process disparate information, untruths, and arrive at wise vision for how to reconcile the polarity so that the whole is served.

In the same token, our beliefs (Sagittarius) are being challenged and opened for review by the influx of information (Gemini). We are called to re-evaluate the lens through which we view life and how we hear information shared. We are prompted see the beliefs that have oriented and guided us as a lens we constructed to that provides a particular orientation. It is time to question our lens for its integrity, its alignment, its clarity. To look through a different or adjusted lens will change the perspective of what we are seeing. To a lesser or greater degree, our lens is shaped by our conditioning, through prior questioning and experiences that crystallized into a belief system about the way things work and what makes sense. When the world no longer makes sense, there is sense in re-evaluating how we make sense of things.

Eclipses cause a disruption to the course of how things are unfolding. There is an opening for something new to be introduced or resolved. The eclipse falls within weeks of the nodal axis shifting to the Sagittarian/Gemini axis introducing an 18-month collective movement towards rethinking the truths we live by in response to information we are receiving. Those who resist may alternatively become increasingly dogmatic and rigid to reaffirm a belief system that has served them. Having our beliefs come into question can be disconcerting and yet the willingness engage in a period of questioning can lead to expanded wisdom, understanding and greater freedom.

The 2020 Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn is showing us that the way we have been living is not sustainable, has mechanized us, and has entrenched us in a culture that favors control and domination over respect for all life. At each stage of the transformation, we are to respond to what emerges as it emerges. Right now, addressing a culture that upholds and recognizes that Black Lives Matter is a key step towards creating a world where all can breath more easily. Other circumstances will continue to emerge that ask, even demand, that we adjust and move with the change that is dawning. This eclipse provides a means to invite questions as a chance to embark on an adventure where we take a collective knee for the true meaning of freedom for the sake of our children and the future of our beloved earth.


Follow on Twitter: @livastrology

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ejpine Pine
ejpine Pine
Jun 06, 2020

Thanks for sharing your insights. The Kneeling Man is rich in aspects.

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