Illuminating The Underworld: Full Moon In Aquarius 2013

Hermes reunites Persephone and Demeter.
Detail from The Return of Persephone,
circa 1891, by Frederic Leighton. 

Full Moon @ 28 degrees Aquarius 11’
August 20, 2013
6:45 PM Pacific
3:45 PM Eastern

Aquarius tends to amp things up—it kicks it up a notch. That’s pretty much the deal with this lunation, since this is the second of two Full Moons to occur in this sign in 2013. It’s quite a big deal because in addition to two Full Moons in that Aquarian double current, August’s Full Moon is anaretic. That’s an astro-geeky reference for a significant placement at the very end of a zodiac sign, generally 28-29 degrees.

So what’s the big deal with that? The anarectic degrees of the zodiac are pressurized; anything placed there gets condensed, and the result is often explosive, literally or symbolically. I often say that “something is about to explode” whenever an anaretic degree is prominent. Many significant events throughout history were unleashed preceding a planet or significant placement occurring at an anaretic degree. I’m not predicting anything here. I am only pointing out the inherent nature of this zodiac hot spot.

On an individual level, we’re all likely to feel this in one way or another--this “building up” of energy, the sense of something giving way. The floodgates are bursting open alongside a critical culmination of energy which is inherent for any Full Moon. With Aquarius, and with the 28th degree, this process becomes more exponential. The Uranian side of Aquarius is radical, revolutionary, and rather unpredictable.

Combined with the simultaneous Pluto/Uranus square and Jupiter Square Uranus and Opposition Pluto—we’re all feeling the overwhelming growing pains that are symptomatic of a restless revolutionary undercurrent welling up from the collective psyche. Aquarius is fast paced and it likes to assimilate swiftly. We get the sense of a quickening evolutionary process, which means that new innovations are emerging within bright and receptive minds, alongside the illusory experience of time acceleration.

Whether these innovations are used for the improvement of society or for darker self-serving interests is entirely up to the free will of the recipient. Any events, intentions, or situations you find coming to a critical flowering or breaking point are likely tied to seeds planted back at the New Moon in early February of this year. The Full Moon conjoins Neptune in Pisces and sits in opposition, naturally, to the Sun and a rather interesting group of astrological entities: Ceres and Transpluto (aka Persephone) along with Mercury (Hermes).

Now since this is a radical, eccentric, and pretty much off the wall lunation, I’m going to take a moment to discuss Transpluto and its significance, since it’s only 2 degrees from a conjunction with the Sun, and since the Sun sits on the Ceres/Transpluto midpoint. Transpluto is considered a “hypothetical” planet. That means that as a physical planetary body, it can’t be tested since it has yet to be physically sited. I would argue that for astrologers, it’s definitely more theoretical, because they can test it, and they do. Needless to say, the use of Transpluto in astrology is rather controversial ground, especially from the perspective of traditional astrologers. 

There are several books about Transpluto and a large body of research conducted on this hypothetical object to convince me of not only its significance, but also its likely existence as a real tangible entity within our solar system. Transpluto appears to be a dynamic and impactful archetypal force within the ranks of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. My sense of Transpluto is that, because it is still unconscious and very much dormant within the collective psyche (like a lot of other stuff), we do not have the tools to deal with it on an individual level.

I find that it often overwhelms us completely, and as a result we end up short circuiting the energy and misinterpreting its underlying intentions (which is common with all Trans-Saturnian planets, since they deal with energies beyond our physical/tangible perception). But that doesn't mean we can’t use it constructively (there are many who do), but that most of us cannot fully grasp the complexity of the process it deals with, since it’s a part of an emerging paradigm we, as a society, are not yet (obviously) ready for.

Transpluto is the result of mathematical reasoning and speculation. After the discoveries of Uranus and Neptune, astronomers noticed that there were anomalies, or perturbations, in the two planets predicted paths—meaning they weren't behaving like they should, which could only result from the gravitational tug from another nearby object. In fact, Neptune’s discovery was catalyzed by these same observations in Uranus’ unusual orbit. Pluto’s discovery proved anticlimactic because initially it was believed to be the reason for the anomalies; shortly after however it was realized that Pluto failed to account for the perturbations.

And so, even with the discovery of a slew of other objects beyond Neptune, the mysterious Transpluto has yet to be seen, and must theoretically exist since nothing has as of yet explained away the anomalies. The first ephemeris (based on its mathematically predicted position) was published in 1972 by Theodor Landscheidt and Reinhold Ebertain (yes, collaboration between an astronomer and astrologer). Other ephemerides with differing calculations have emerged, but their variations are all but slight. Therefore, Transpluto has been studied by modern astrologers ever since, and has proved itself a reliable and testable object.

The name Persephone was initially proposed by astronomer H.H Kritzinger; he reasoned that because the object was just beyond Pluto (god of the underworld) that Transpluto must be its consort (Persephone as Queen of the Underworld). There is an asteroid by the (official) name of Persephone, and many argue that Transpluto cannot be named Persephone as well.  With official naming aside, I will say that from my experience Transpluto carries with it many elements pertinent to the Persephone mythos. A very convincing and extremely well researched book on this subject is Persephone Is Transpluto: The Scientific, Mythological & Astrological Discovery of the Planet Beyond Pluto by astrologer and astronomer Valerie Vaughn. I highly recommend it for astrologers, astronomers, or those just interested in the subject. 

Since both Transpluto (Persephone) and Ceres sit in opposition to this pressurized Aquarian lunation, I will suggest that the myth of Ceres and Persephone is playing a prominent role at this time, and will likely have an association with whatever emerges from it. Ceres (or Demeter) is Persephone’s mother. Depending on which version of the narrative you read, Persephone is either abducted against her will, or she willingly chooses to go to the underworld. In the much later patriarchal version (which I feel is more relevant to our current collective awareness), Pluto, god of the underworld, abducts Persephone and takes her away from Ceres and Mt. Olympus after tempting her with a narcissus flower.

Persephone becomes Pluto’s wife; accruing the title of Queen of the underworld, and together they rule and govern the dead. Neither Ceres nor Persephone is happy about the situation. Ceres searches everywhere for her beloved daughter, for nine days, but obviously fails to find her. She ends up conversing with the Sun who tells her the whole story. Ceres, as the goddess of fertility and harvest, causes the earth to dry up; it becomes lifeless as a result of her grief, creating an environmental crisis of sorts.

Ceres leaves Olympus and goes to live (and wander) the barren and ice covered earth, disguising herself as an old (mortal) woman. Ending up in Eleusis (in some versions) Ceres sits by a well and meets four young sisters who ask what she’s doing there. She makes up a story (obviously, because she couldn't possibly tell the truth, revealing her divinity). The girls invite Ceres to come stay with them and their family.

Ceres agrees, and ends up becoming a sort of midwife, nursing their mother’s newborn son (perhaps an attempt to compensate for her personal loss). Eventually, Ceres reveals her true identity, and demands that they build her a temple. There Ceres sits, still heartbroken and sorrowful due to the loss of her daughter. The world becomes ever more barren, lifeless, and cold, an epidemic of famine takes hold of the immortal earthlings.

Zeus decides that something must be done, and so he sends Hermes (being a sly and silver tongued trickster) to the underworld to retrieve Persephone. Pluto realizes he cannot refuse the order of Zeus, and so agrees to let her go. Before leaving however, Pluto convinces Persephone to eat a pomegranate seed (or seeds, depending on which version; sometimes she eats three). As a result of this, Persephone must return to the Underworld during one third of the year (three months of winter). And so, the story correlates to the origin of the seasons.

When Persephone must return, Ceres grieves and the earth becomes barren and cold creating the winter season. When Persephone returns, life once again emerges and spring is born. The story is very much about the process of death and rebirth, the impermanence of beauty, life, and innocence. It describes a process of initiation, which changes Persephone forever; she’s never quite the same again. Persephone is taken (abducted) from an idyllic field of flowers on the ascended Mt. Olympus. She’s dragged against her will, kicking and screaming into the underworld.

Upon her return, she is permanently stained by her experience. She brings the underworld back with her. Such is the experience of Transpluto; it permanently alters our reality and leaves an everlasting imprint upon the individual. It offers us a powerful initiatory process in which we must cross an evolutionary threshold, leaving old ways behind us. Often that takes us into an alternate dimension, or we become a part of two separate and seemingly conflicting realms. It is a planet of paradox, but ultimately, it is a construct of reconciliation.

Certainly not a reality we humans have yet to fully experience or comprehend—but, once or if it is discovered, we are likely to get catapulted into an entirely foreign and unimaginable paradigm. I have found Persephone/Transpluto to have an antithetical resonance to that of Pluto. While Pluto deals with death, decay, and entropy--Persephone embodies growth, empowerment, and ectropy; she seeks to pull us up and out of the mud, so to speak. Although, that process involves extremely harsh demands placed upon an individual, in which they must learn to rely entirely on themselves.

Another researcher who has done a lot of work on Transpluto is astrologer Lynn Koiner[1]. In her article, Transpluto Is Real! she reveals the results of her research and its effects within the individual natal horoscope. Lynn found a distinct personality type that emerged when Transpluto was conjunct significant natal placements, such as the Sun, Moon, and the angles of the chart. She found very strong perfectionist qualities associated with Transpluto, much like the zodiac sign of Virgo.

In many of the situations, the individual with strong configurations often had a highly demanding and critical parent. Lynn provides keywords associated with the Transpluto personality type: The Perfectionsit/Perfectionism, Self-Sufficiency, The Reformer Complex, and Alienation. One key element of Transpluto was that it was associated with extreme self-sufficiency, which was a psychological backlash to protect one from criticism and fault finding.  

From my own observations over the years I've found Lynn’s discoveries to be incredibly accurate and consistent whenever Transpluto is poignantly placed in the chart. It’s significant in the charts of highly “successful” (by the standards of our society) and infamous individuals who seem to “go their own way” and really push the limits of their talents and abilities, and as a result become extremely self-sufficient in the process. It also carries the theme of apotheosis, giving an individual a certain, "god like status". However, that’s not always the case.

It’s also prominent in the horoscopes of lottery winners. Lynn mentions that in all the cases she studied, Transpluto was making a conjunction or square to the ruler of the second house cusp, a planet in the second house, or Venus. In Astrology’s Special Measurements, in which Lynn’s article was originally published, Noel Tyl mentions a case in his article titled The Measure of the Astrologer, where a client of his “received a great deal of money unexpectedly”[2], while transiting Transpluto was opposing his client’s natal Venus.

Of further interest is the work of Astrologer Joyce Wehrman[3]. Joyce spent a great deal of her life studying the astrology of luck and gambling. She came up with a system she claimed could determine, at any specific moment, when an individual was either “on the wheel”, as she called it, or “off the wheel”. In other words, through her method you can determine when someone is either lucky or unlucky at any given time or place.

Joyce’s system is highly specific and incredibly complex. It requires a great deal of work because the horoscope needs to be extremely exact, down to the second. That means that you must test the chart over and over, to not only rectify the horoscope to its accurate time, but to also determine which specific planets or transiting house cusps trigger, for the individual, the most fortunate times. Joyce suggested starting out with penny blackjack, otherwise, that could be an expensive process.

Anyway, my point is that Joyce equally found that Transpluto was involved in the process of determining lucky wins or losses. So much so that she included it in her system, which as I stated, only works if the chart is incredibly precise. This eventually became a computer program developed by Matrix Software, which definitely makes it much easier to utilize. In my opinion, Transpluto is real! There’s something there, and that something is a force to be reckoned with. Because of its influence on these latter cases I've just described, I was led to discover that Transpluto has a distinct influence on money and economics.

The word economics is Greek for the management of the home, ecos (home) and nomia (management). In the myth of Ceres and Persephone, the earth (our home), becomes barren, cold, and desolate--leading to a global environmental and economic crisis for all (us) mortals. Economics isn't just about money, it’s about natural resources which we exchange with symbolic currency; it’s about how we sustain ourselves, and that often involves food and nourishment (themes related specifically to Ceres).

Again, this Full Moon sits in direct opposition to both Ceres and Transpluto (Persephone). It also happens to conjoin the natal (or radix) Moon in the U.S. Sibly horoscope--a highly sensitive point which was activated by none other than Transpluto itself (along with other transits and secondary progressions) during key events which lead to the Great Depression and the recent Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2012, which I would say is definitely not over, unfortunately.

This Full Moon isn't an eclipse, but it is, in my opinion, a very significant lunation that could carry a symbolic impact. It sheds a bright light on our national (and global) food supply, new and emerging technological advancements, economic issues, and the general well-being of planet earth. I believe that currently, Persephone is trapped in the underworld and that Ceres mourns the loss of her beloved daughter. Our world has become neglected and is dying. This compelling astrological object is slowly but surely becoming conscious within each of us, it is vying for our attention.

Persephone will one day return to the earth and spring will once again flourish and embrace the earth with new life. Its probable discovery will not signal a “solution” or “cure” to our global (economic, financial, or environmental) crisis, but rather the opening of new realms and realities which completely alter the perspective and understanding of the very root of such problems. With this lunation we have the opportunity to embrace the contradictions we’re currently dealing with, and to accept them for what they are. 

What that means is that the world is changing. There’s no going back to the way it was. The good old days will never return, even the perfect agrarian ideal of endless green pastures and bright sunny days. No, we have crossed a significant threshold; we aren't in Kansas anymore. So what do we do? Well we can’t hang on to the past (Norman Rockwell and Apple Pie Americana), and we can’t just give up and let the world become a barren and lifeless landscape (adopting a sort of hopeless or nihilistic attitude).

The myth of Ceres and Persephone points us dynamically to the concept of compromise, of both/and, not either/or. We must embrace the inherent polarities and contradictions, surrender to the chaos, and love it for what it is. Everything dies, all will come to an end. But the end is just another step within the process. Finality is merely our perception and assumption. So where is it all going? I can’t claim that I know, but we’re all going with it. You can either go willingly or….kicking and screaming, take your pick.

Transpluto/Persephone is slowly moving into the sign of Virgo, and will officially leave Leo in July of 2014. Persephone has been transiting Leo since 1938. I believe this transit correlates our current economic, industrial, and cultural emphasis on all Leonian themes: amusement/entertainment, ego glorification, self-indulgence, pleasure orientation, glamour, celebrity idols, etc., etc. It's transit through Virgo is likely to pop our collective ego bubble, and quite literally rain on the parade. Leo is all about the power of personality and the individual. Virgo is about how the individual fits into the larger scheme of society, and how it can serve the greater good.

That's quite an inversion, and a definite cultural shift. Virgo's emphasis is on improving health, the environment, and serving a larger collective purpose. What the economic ramifications will be--let your imagination run wild. Persephone, again, correlates to the theme of apotheosis, and creates a collective worship of the symbols inherent to the sign it is in. Ego/Self worship is meeting its end, the party is over. Economic structures related to the qualities of Virgo will gradually build and replace those outmoded Leonian industries as the curtain comes down.

Now, from that digression, let us look at other aspects of the Full Moon. As I stated at the beginning of this article, it correlates to a powerful flowering, culmination, and an explosive archetypal influx. Anaretic degrees signify a critical shifting of energy, a build-up, and can equally correlate to instability within a structure. In the Full Moon horoscope Jupiter is within minutes of an exact Square with Uranus, and just leaving its first Opposition to Pluto. The Jupiter and Uranus square is exact about 5 and ½ hours after the Full Moon.

This is some intense and critical energy, which has been active ever since Jupiter entered Cancer at the end of June. Jupiter expands and amplifies this highly individualistic, rebellious, and cutting edge Uranus in Aries—and both Squares (Jupiter Square Uranus and Uranus Square Pluto) are waxing squares. That means there’s a lot of cutting away and consolidating that needs to be done. Jupiter in Cancer relates to our home, our sense of security, nourishment, and foundation. Uranus in Aries relates to our need to be free to express ourselves authentically and to forge new frontiers.

This Full Moon, again, brings up the issue of reconciliation and compromise. How can we allow change to progress and take shape without losing our place in the world completely, without uprooting everything? How do we integrate these two needs so that they both have free expression? How do we acknowledge the need for those things that provide safety and comfort without clinging to the past and stifling forward progress? The only way is through trying it out, working out the kinks, and by allowing ourselves to make mistakes.

The tension suggested by these aspects requires that we tough it out. Through the friction and tension a new form emerges. Jupiter makes a Trine to the North Node in Scorpio, and a Trine to Chiron in Pisces. Jupiter Trine the North Node is an incredibly supportive influence, it reveals that as long we are real, open, and vulnerable--we are likely to find plenty of help and support as we face very deep, dark, and rough terrain. It also allows us to free ourselves of stagnation, pushing us through the clutter and obstacles to get to the bottom line essentials. Perhaps this Full Moon sheds light on paths that lead us effortlessly toward an essential cleansing and decluttering process, and allows us to merge easily with others going in the same direction.

On a personal and collective level, we must be open to support and feedback, especially when it’s literally being handed to us on a shiny silver platter. Jupiter’s first Trine to Chiron ignites a powerful healing opportunity that will last until next summer. It allows us to heal and integrate the root of certain wounds, and to guide us toward higher perceptions which reveal the truth of those wounds. This is a time of incredible insight that opens up a clear and numinous perception.

From now until next May, Jupiter Trine Chiron can assist in deep emotional processing, physical healing, integration, and the gifting of powerful intuitive insights and understanding gleamed from higher densities. Amidst the conflict and potential instability of the T-square with Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter—the Chiron/Jupiter Trine asks that we remain open and vulnerable, and that we surrender to our own healing process. This is tricky because many other elements are encouraging us to fight and attack things head on (Mars conjunct Lilith and Jupiter square Uranus).

Perhaps, along with this lunation, comes a moment of acceptance, trust, and surrender, since the Full Moon conjoins Neptune in Pisces, creating an awareness of higher omnipotent forces. Aquarius is a powerful conduit of objectivity. Perhaps we get a glimpse, if only momentarily, of why things are the way they are, or why it all unfolds the way it does. If we surrender our judgments and preconceived notions; if we let go of all fear, paranoia, worry, and anxiety, for just a moment, we may just see that at the root of everything there is a divine and benevolent force guiding us toward a truly higher purpose.

Sometimes, that higher purpose takes us into lurid and disturbing landscapes, such as deep into the underworld. But at the root of it, we’re all going the same direction, despite the perceived detours. While it may not seem apparent from our limited third density perception, we are oneness striving to know and love itself. Remember that, and see that truth reflected in all eyes your gaze encounters. 


[1] Lynn Koiner's full article on Transpluto is posted on her website:

[2] Astrology's Special Measurements, Llewellyn Publications (1994), p. 4. 

[3] Joyce Wehrman, What Are Winning Transits. Astro Computing Services.