Opening the Gate– Aquarius 2016

by Andrea Goodman

Now we have entered into Aquarius, air sign ruled by Uranus, carrying the ideals of equality, collective well-being, humanitarian values, and the honoring of each person’s uniqueness. It is the sign of a new vision for society, of new inventions, of breakthrough in the solving of old problems or limiting beliefs.

The first week of Aquarius this year is marked by the Full Moon in Leo (opposite the Sun as it always is at a Full Moon) on January 23-24, and by an unusually long conjunction of Mercury and Pluto. Mercury appears to stand still as it stops going retrograde and goes direct again right at degree 15 of Capricorn where Pluto is. This is also the degree of the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra. There is also, in the sky just before dawn, a rare view of the five planets, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury, along the arc of the ecliptic. Jupiter and Venus are very bright and easy to recognize. Mercury is rarely seen as it is usually too close to the bright Sun, from our Earth perspective. It will appear at the Eastern horizon just before the Sun, and we will know that Pluto, although invisible without a telescope, is right there as well.

Pluto/Hades in mythology is the ruler of the afterlife. It is the place of ultimate mystery, whatever is beyond death. When we are no longer present in our physical bodies, our souls are welcomed to Pluto and Persephone’s domain, and we are escorted there by Mercury/Hermes, the Psychopomp or Conductor of Souls. Pluto in astrology signifies a process of death and rebirth, an undeniable force within us that draws us magnetically to shed our old skin and revitalize our lives. Mercury as symbol of our conscious minds and our ability to communicate, can be our mode of transport and connection. When we are in the middle of a deep, Plutonian initiation–a death, a loss, a release, the ground shifting beneath us–it can be difficult to find the words to understand what is happening. In Egyptian mythology, the place of mystery is called the Duat, and we must pass through a series of gates as we move through to rebirth. At each gate we must know the password to open it. Mercury is the scribe, the one who knows the names of things, as well as the magician who combines opposites and elements to create wholeness. Mercury is our ability to find our voices, to speak the magic words, and to deliver the message that will open the gate.

One myth associated with Lyra is the story of Orpheus, poet and singer who accompanies himself on the lyre. When his lover Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies, he sings his deep grief so powerfully and beautifully that he charms all the guardians of the entrance to Hades, and is allowed entry and permission to bring her back to life. There is one condition, that he not turn around to see if she is following him as he walks out. Alas, he does turn around, just in time to see her recede into darkness. This is described as an allegory: Eurydice as the dawn disappears in the bright light of Orpheus as the Sun. But it seems also to be a lesson about the undermining effect of doubt.

Jupiter, the planet of faith, optimism and confidence, is conjunct the North Node of the Moon, the symbol of the soul’s purpose. We can make our purpose clear with Jupiter’s abundant blessings, shining at the top of the arc of planets as Mercury conducts us to pass through Pluto’s gate at the horizon. Venus’s love, Saturn’s commitment and Mars’ courage create the bridge to Jupiter. Whatever the gate may be for you, use the breakthrough Aquarian vision to see it open, listening for the magic words, trusting what must be said now, and step through.