Anthroposophy NYC Blog
MEETING OUR TIMES
Mars Squared and the Moon Eclipse: Confrontation!
Author: Jonathan Hilton
Is there a cosmological perspective on the recent events of the past weeks and for the coming days? Originally, I planned to write something about the 2020 eclipses, with a lunar eclipse this Friday, June 5th. However, with recent USA turmoil, I feel it is important to address the relationship of Mars in a larger context to these weeks, as well as in relation to the eclipse this Friday.
For about the past ten weeks, Americans have been in lockdown due to the coronavirus. During that time, there began to emerge many voices pondering what this virus meant for all of us on a deeper level, with questions abounding about the future “new normal” and a growing sense of how we were “all in this together”. From all of this, there seemed to be growing some real searching for new forms, with which to build a more compassionate, more environmentally clean, more whole world, where we cared for each other and our planet Earth in new ways. As the lockdown began to be loosened slowly this last week, there then erupted, like an astral volcano with powerful force of will, a wave of outrage over yet another senseless loss of life of a black man, George Floyd, on May 25th, due to overly aggressive police actions. Daytime angry, but peaceful, protests over this senseless death of a fellow human then took on raging violence and destruction at night. America, and in fact some cities globally, now face a wave of violence and division around racial injustice that it has not seen for many years, perhaps never at this scale of outrage. Our “we are all in this together” shifted radically to heightened divisions and polarization. The newly emerging sense of togetherness appears to be shattered with sides being taken. The American double awoke with elemental force, and has overshadowed the righteous outrage and calls for healing and repair voiced in the peaceful marches. Yet, one can maintain, even in the destruction, the hope that yet another awakening to change may be born out of the ashes of this violence. Birthing is not an easy process. If we look to the macrocosm, we also find strong “words” of revolutionary change, upheaval, destruction, renewal, confrontation, aggression… all as part of the greater transition from the old to the new. The old will fight to retain power spiritually and physically, and the new is just germinating, not yet clearly known in human consciousness, though on a spiritual higher level it is present and waiting.
At the beginning of April, I posted two articles about the meetings of Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto in the Archer, building up to the Great Conjunction this December 2020 (click here to read them). At that time I did not include the relationship of Mars to these events, but rather focused on the nature of Pluto in connection to revolutionary, destructive, but hopefully ultimately transformative forces, if humanity could begin to recognize the challenges of this activity in the Archer. As Pluto met Saturn, and even now continues to conjunct Jupiter in a threefold conjunction, one could see the potential for disruption, even in cataclysmic ways, of the old social order, the forms of the past that continue in unhealthy ways into the present. This includes the commodification of human labor (meaning also human value), the abuse of nature and its resources, and the permeation of economic forces as determinative in all aspects of life, including health care, education, and the general spiritual/cultural realms of human activity. In its conjunctions with Jupiter, there lies the potential for a radical change in thinking and in our ideals, even the gradual move away from the ahrimanized materialistic world view of life. This can lead to the shaping of a new vision, new ideals, new thinking for our future. All of this happens on the backdrop of the stars of the Archer, the constellation that represents the core challenge to seek a true answer to “what is the human being?” It is a challenge for all humanity to change fundamentally our sense, our very definition, of who we are. Rudolf Steiner has pointed out that without this central recognition of the spiritual nature of the human being, there can be no truly new social progress.
On March 20th, the start date of the enforced lock down in New York, Mars was conjunct Jupiter. On March 31st, Mars conjuncted Saturn, and on April 4th, Jupiter had its first conjunction with Pluto. Mars is the god of war. It is the sphere that builds the capacity to confront the outer world and to develop a sense of self, which is about “me” as an independent, separate self. It is also connected to our whole entry fully into the physical material world as reality. The sphere of Mars itself has gone through a transformation, which Rudolf Steiner speaks about, where a new seed was planted to bring a healing impulse to the overly aggressive nature of that sphere, an impulse that we can align ourselves with. This transformation is reflected in the 8-fold path of Buddha. The planet Mars, in movements in the heavens, creates the form of a double square, or 8-pointed star. However, Mars continues with its old ways as reflected in our continuing tendencies for separation and egotism. Its transformation depends on our activity of healing these tendencies in ourselves. The sphere of Venus comes into this activity. In these meetings of Mars with Saturn and Jupiter are perpetuated the challenges of Mars in our world karma and our capacity towards a new thinking, in a way that potentially could block the emerging new impulses, or can become, if we take up Mars in new ways, the power to put into practical reality in the Earth these new impulses for change. Mars also gives us the ability to take up the earthly material and shape it in applied methods.
Mars has since moved on from Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, but now into a new potent configuration. It is now in the stars of Aquarius, the constellation that carries the vision of our future age, the Aquarian Age, when the goal is that humanity will have transformed to the extent that, as Rudolf Steiner puts it, in that age “individuals will experience the suffering of another human being as their own suffering… in the sixth epoch the well-being of the individual will depend entirely upon the well-being of the whole.” And: “Humans will only be considered to have real knowledge when they recognize the spiritual, when they know that the spiritual pervades the world and that human souls must unite with the spiritual” (“Preparing for the Sixth Epoch,” June 15, 1915). This was spoken about in my article on Ascension (click here to read).
Now we have Mars in these stars with its tendency to block, or hinder, through a materialistic perspective, the recognition of what the new must become. As it moves through this constellation during the coming days, it comes into square relationships with the Sun and Venus, and it also meets Neptune in conjunction, which has been in Aquarius for some time now. The square (or 90 degree angle) relationship is a “martian” relationship. It is generally a relationship of challenges and obstacles to meeting the other. We even use the phrase in our colloquial English of “being at right angles” to someone as indicating a difficult, even confrontational, relationship that calls for special effort to work things out.
What can this square relationship between Mars and Neptune with Venus and the Sun tell us? Let us look at Venus and the Sun in Taurus. Venus has been retrograde since May 13th, the same day the Sun entered the stars of Taurus, meaning that it is swinging around between the Sun and the Earth, and on June 3rd, as I write this article, it arrives at an inferior conjunction with the Sun, standing directly between the Earth and the Sun, almost transiting the face of the Sun. Then on June 5th, Friday, we have the lunar eclipse with the Full Moon opposite the Sun and Venus in the stars of the Scorpion, with the Earth shadow on the Moon. This line of the eclipse (of Sun, Venus, Earth, and Moon) then creates another square, forming what is called a T Square, meaning that Mars with Neptune form a T with two right angles (or Mars relationships) to the line of Venus/Sun and the Moon opposite at the eclipse. This T Square one could say is like an enhanced square situation, creating even greater challenges and confrontational potentials. We will return to this eclipse line later.
For now, let us look at the one pole of this T, the Sun and Venus. The Sun is an image in the heavens of the solar “I AM”, our higher self, and the spiritual impulses this carries for transformation. It is in Taurus, where we have recently spoken of it in relation to this time of Pentecost. Venus is there with the Sun in conjunction. Though in its shadow nature, Venus can serve selfish passions and desires (the Luciferic nature), it is, like the Sun, a planetary sphere of transformation into the future. Venus is the god of love, in all its aspects, from eros (sexual love) to agape (divine love). In general, we can see in Venus, now between the Earth and the Sun, a potential for healing work that will bring the human being into harmony with the divine world. That it is in inferior conjunction means it is closer to us, leaning in to us with its transforming impulse towards harmony and love. But how further can we understand this current Venus conjunction out of astrosophy?
Willi Sucher describes Venus as the sphere that through the Christ event seeks to bring the new Christic mysteries into humanity. Those mysteries that lead to “not I, but Christ in me,” which stands opposite the Mars impulse of “what about me!” Out of what does Willi Sucher say this? Venus weaves in the heavens, in its conjunctions with the Sun, a five-pointed star or pentagram around the Earth, which retains its perfect harmonious form, the form of the Son of Man. But this form rotates as a whole form gradually around the zodiac over 1200 years, returning to almost the same point. In his research, Willi Sucher traced this form back to the time of Christ’s incarnation, and to specific deeds of the Christ during the Three Years, and just on either end of the Three Years. These deeds were all associated with the founding of the new Christic mysteries through His activity. Thus, one can follow this particular “corner” of the pentagram, which occurs around this eclipse, back to its original conjunction. This particular corner’s Christic ancestor occurred in 34 AD, which Willi Sucher associates with the event described in The Acts as the experience of the etheric Christ to Paul on the road to Damascus. Saul was participating in the killing of the new Christians, the persecution of a minority, one could say, and then on the way to Damascus in this work, he experienced the Christ Being, saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” From this experience, he became transformed, initiated even, into the new Christic mysteries, into a recognition of the Christ. One can say that this conjunction of June 3rd, still related to the June 5th eclipse activity, is a re-membering of, or presence in, the etheric tableau of the Earth of this Damascus event. We can draw from this event and unite ourselves with it as an inspiration and call to action with this conjunction. It brings to my mind the current situation in America, the persecution of Christ in the current acts of violence, and persecution towards our fellow human beings. I am reminded of the words of Christ, “as you have done to one of the least of my brethren, you have done to me.” This is the future realization towards the 6th Age, which is in preparation now. This is the application of the potential for Christic love carried by Venus, which is what underlies the calls of the protestors, the cries against how “the least of these my brethren” are treated today. [These Venus conjunctions and their history is a fairly complex subject. For those interested, they are covered in the online video introductory course at www.astrosophy.com, or can be found in Willi Sucher’s book Cosmic Christianity, also available for free on the website.
So now we build our picture. Mars with Neptune in Aquarius in square relationship to Venus and the Sun in Taurus. A battle, a confrontation between the old and the new. And on June 5th, Friday, we have the Full Moon in Scorpio, actually at Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, which literally means the equivalent of Mars, in an eclipse coming into the picture to form the T Square configuration. We have spoken of Scorpio in relation to the lower self, the fallen astral nature, in need of transformation into the Spirit Self, in my recent article on Pentecost (click here to read). We will go further into this later.
See the diagram below for a picture of this configuration.
Let us look at eclipses and the penumbral lunar eclipse on June 5th in this context.
A total of six eclipses occur in 2020, including one total and one annular solar eclipse.
See the chart below with dates, types, and where visible.
|January 10||Penumbral lunar eclipse||Europe, East Africa, Asia, West Australia|
|June 5||Penumbral lunar eclipse||Africa, Middle East, West & Central Asia, Australia|
|June 21||Annular solar eclipse||Africa, South-East Europe, Asia|
|July 5||Penumbral lunar eclipse||North America, South America, West Europe, Africa|
|November 30||Penumbral lunar eclipse||North America, South America, East Asia, Australia|
|December 14||Total solar eclipse||East Pacific, South America, South Atlantic|
The four lunar eclipses will be what are called penumbral eclipses, so the Moon will not be fully darkened. There are three types of lunar eclipses—total, partial, and penumbral—which are determined by how completely the Full Moon enters into the “umbra,” the Earth’s dark shadow, the center. For example, if the Moon enters only partially into the umbra, then there is a partial eclipse, meaning that part of the Moon is in almost full light and part in the reddish umbral shadow of Earth. If it is a penumbral eclipse, one sees only the penumbral shadow over the Moon since it passes through the fringe of the Earth’s shadow, so one side of the Moon looks only a bit clouded over. This is the case on June 5th.
In general, eclipses (solar and lunar) occur when the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth line up in the Lunar Nodes at the Full Moon so that the Earth stands directly between the Sun and the Moon. In this article, we will not go into the broader meaning of the Moon nodes, except to say they are like open portals between the Sun sphere and the Moon sphere. At eclipse, we have both the Sun and the Moon in the nodes. The solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun in this nodal line (at New Moon). The Lunar Nodes are located where the orbit of the Moon intersects the apparent orbit of the Sun (the ecliptic path), and since the lunar orbit is tipped about 5° to Earth’s orbital plane, this occurs only occasionally, roughly about every six months. See the diagram above.
Let us look particularly at this eclipse on June 5th. The Moon will on that day stand before the star Antares, the heart of the Scorpion (at exact eclipse time it will be 6 degrees past Antares). The Sun is opposite in the stars of the Bull, not far past the star Aldebaran (6 degrees past), the Bull’s eye. As was already mentioned, the eclipse occurs exactly at right angles, 90 degrees to Mars and nearly a 90-degree angle to Neptune. Venus is only 3 degrees away from the Sun, between the Sun and the Earth, having just completed an inferior conjunction with the Sun two days prior on June 3rd. This forms our T Square, a tense challenging form, requiring great difficulty to overcome.
Let us look more closely at this eclipse as part of this picture in the light of a spiritual scientific star wisdom. Rudolf Steiner speaks about what occurs at a lunar eclipse as follows:
“[W]hen there is an eclipse of the moon, the man of today merely says: ‘Now the earth comes between the sun and the moon; hence we see the shadow cast upon the moon by the earth.’ That is the physical explanation. But in this case also the old initiate knew that a spiritual reality was behind the physical fact. He knew that when there is an eclipse of the moon, thoughts stream through darkness down upon the earth; and that such thoughts have a closer relationship with the subconscious life than with the conscious life of the human being. The old initiates often made use of a certain simile when speaking to their pupils. It is; of course, necessary to translate their words into modern language, but this is the gist of what they said: ‘Visionaries and dreamers love to go for rambles by moonlight, when the moon is full. There are, however, certain people who have no wish to receive the good thoughts coming to them from the cosmos, but who, on the contrary, are desirous of getting hold of evil, diabolical thoughts. Such people will choose the moment of a lunar eclipse for their nocturnal wanderings… Eclipses of the sun and the moon, recurring as they do in the course of every year, may really be looked upon as “safety-valves.”… The lunar eclipse exists for the purpose of allowing the evil thoughts, which are present in the cosmos, to approach those human beings who are desirous of being possessed by them. People do not, as a rule, act in full consciousness.’”
The Moon is in the heart of the Scorpion at this lunar eclipse, thus streaming through the shadow to the Earth can come the “thoughts” from the Scorpion, and not just from the Scorpion, but from the “heart” of the Scorpion, which in our time is a dark heart in need of transformation. Again, we referred to this in the Pentecost article. In many astrological traditions, Antares works from primal, animal-like survival instincts, and it stands opposite Aldebaran, in Taurus (where our Sun and Venus are), which was seen as the star of Michael battling the dragon heart. Thus, in many ways, this eclipse opposition portrays the Michael/Dragon polarity. Scorpio represents the fallen Luciferic nature of the astral body in the human being, the fallen “creative” forces often misused, the impulses of the lower earthly self, driven more by passions and self-seeking interests. The Moon is a complex sphere of activity, but is connected to the lower astral nature of passions and drives, or one could say, the untransformed karma, which we pick up again before birth. We see in frequent imaginations of the Virgin Sophia that she stands on the crescent Moon, a symbol for the transformed Moon nature, or lower astral nature. However, we have another image of the Moon in Scorpio. At the Resurrection of Christ, the Moon entered Scorpio. The fallen Luciferic was redeemed and transformed. We can also understand the Moon as the realm of the Angels, who assist us in incarnating and weaving our karma into the oncoming life. It is our Angels who carry our higher becoming, our higher selves, and seek through our destiny to help us with who we truly are striving to become.
We have here some mighty pictures and thoughts for this one line of the “T square” formed by the eclipse line: the Moon in the heart of Scorpio under the shadow of the Earth, through which, as Steiner says, stream from the Moon thoughts and impulses that “have a closer relationship with the subconscious life than with the conscious life of the human being” (meaning, impulses from the lower unconscious nature). This is opposite the Sun, which represents our higher self in the cosmos, our spiritually conscious self, and is with Venus, which carries the living memory of the Damascus impulse, at the star Aldebaran/Michael, in the stars of Taurus. Above the stars of Taurus, we have this Michael story played out dramatically in the stars in the story of Perseus.
Into this line comes the T square with Mars near Neptune in the stars of Aquarius, the square relationship of challenges and obstacles. Mars, which represents our separate earthly self, our capacity to confront the object world, and carries also the tendencies towards confrontation, even aggression, is joining with Neptune, which in its lower aspect, serves the activity of Ahriman, the will to harden and mechanize the human spirit, as well as the animalization of the human, binding it to the material world. Though Neptune also holds the potential, if transformed consciously, to serve the capacity for true inspiration and etheric vision. Neptune works more on a global humanity scale. Mars and Neptune, being in Aquarius, can, one could say, block or frustrate, the Aquarian impulses, which are those impulses of the future age, the age of spiritual brotherhood and the unfolding of the Spirit Self.
All of these events are figuring into the larger cosmic perspectives of the approaching Great Conjunction in December 2020, and the meetings of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, which have been occurring throughout this year. In fact, Jupiter will have its second out of three exact conjunctions with Pluto on June 30th, though it has been essentially conjunct Pluto since late February, and Saturn essentially conjunct Pluto since November, with exact conjunction in mid-January.
When we bring ourselves to a consciousness of the starry world, and then to a consciousness of the spiritual realities of this world, we must do so with an all-encompassing view, which takes up the full gestures of configurations, the multiplicity of gestures, as a weaving whole. The movements of the planetary bodies are for us, in our present consciousness, like physical markers pointing to the activities of the greater world within the spheres of planetary being. We are also called upon in astrosophy to recognize our pivotal role in how these planetary activities play out on Earth. As Rudolf Steiner spoke in verse form, “there grows and ripens what human beings speak to the stars.” This is the new astrosophy. The stars are not deterministic, but rather each configuration offers both a lower and a higher possibility. If left to unconsciousness, the lower will prevail, as the opposing forces work in unconsciousness. It is our consciousness, even a conscious relationship to the stars, which can bring about the higher potentials. This configuration, as we see already, can manifest in powerful displays of malevolence, destruction, lack of self-control, hostilities that heighten hate and division. We are in a very difficult time. It may appear in the world at large that the lower nature, the unconscious activities, are winning the day. However, the higher perspective is working in ways that may not be seen outwardly immediately, but are working still in the great transformative activity humanity can accomplish now. It is mandatory that those who can see our human potential, our universal shared humanity, our true spiritual nature, carry the banner of Michael now. In the end, the good will prevail. Even out of the external ashes and destruction, human beings will grow increasingly in awareness of their true spiritual nature. In the mighty imaginations in the Book of Revelation, describing Michael’s battle and the war in heaven, it is said that the adversary was cast down to the Earth, “having great wrath, because he knew he had only a short time.” We are truly blessed to have the insights of Rudolf Steiner. May we take them up actively in the world as Michaelites.
June 3, 2020
Jonathan Hilton is currently the President of the Council of New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He has been working with anthroposophy in various ways for over 40 years. His work includes a new approach to star wisdom, arising out of anthroposophy, as developed by Willi Sucher, with a particular focus on the cycle of the year as a path to the new Sun mysteries. astrosophy.com
This article is available in the PDF format for the followers of astrosophy.com.
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