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The Bacchanalia Moon
By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis | Lunations

The Bacchanalia Moon
New Moon in Pisces -- March 7, 2008, 17:14 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.

MAKE ROOM for divine madness and get ready for the Bacchanalia, held in a "gigantic tent." The stars are now inviting you to a wild party. The Bacchanalia were wild and mystic festivals held in March in honor of the Roman and Greek god Bacchus.

The Sabian Symbol for this New Moon is Pisces 18 A gigantic tent. (The Sabian Symbols are a degree-by-degree symbolic reference system that helps illustrate and demonstrate the level of astrology that is symbolic). This is what Dr. Marc Edmund Jones says about this symbol:

"This is a symbol of the completeness with which man is able to see his experience both steadily and whole, dramatized here by the circus as representing an utterly naive intensification of self-consciousness. The totality of life is brought to some single center in every moment of true excitement or total sharing of skills and risks, and each individual at such times has a renewed insight into his capacity for putting his world in order for his ultimate on-going as well as for his immediate entertainment. The keyword is apportionment."

On this New Moon of March, planets and asteroids have gathered in a razzle stellium in Pisces -- like the colorful crowd accompanying Bacchus on his travels. Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac; winter is soon turning to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and a new cycle of life is about to begin. Worship of Bacchus was related to the cycle of seasons and to the renewal of nature. Bacchus was also the patron deity of the theatre, which is one of the more Piscean activities.

The Sun and Moon are closely conjunct the rebellious and experimenting Uranus. In the same degree with Uranus there are two asteroids, Child and Bacchus. Also Vesta and asteroid Orpheus are in Pisces.

Asteroid Child can relate to one’s experiences as a child, but it also can indicate childish reactions, or stir up the childlike spirit within.

Asteroid Bacchus is named after the Roman god of wine, fertility and inspired madness. It was discovered in April 1977 by Charles T. Kowal (the same guy who later on the same year discovered Chiron). The god Bacchus was known by various names. He was also called Dionysus or Liber (also Liber Pater). He is the liberator who frees one from one's normal self by madness, ecstasy, or wine. In Roman mythology, Liber was originally associated with husbandry and crops, but then was assimilated with Dionysus.

Jim Morrision as Bacchus/Dionysus.
In art, Dionysus is usually depicted as a young, attractive and feminine man, wearing a crown made of vine leaves and grapes and holding a staff. He traveled from land to land, taught people farming and the art of making wine, and he spread drunken ecstasy and disorder everywhere he went. He was followed by singing, noisy, unruly revelers, many of them women. Peak experiences, pushing things past the limits, divine inspiration, wildness, excess, altered states, intoxication, alcohol, drugs, and escapism are attributes that can be associated with Bacchus/Dionysus. The archetype has a strong Neptunian association but the energetic intensity involved is similar to Pluto and Chiron.

Bacchus was the consort of Ceres and the father of the fertility goddess Libera, who is associated with Persephone of Greek mythology. At the moment asteroid Libera is also in Pisces in close conjunction with the Sun, Moon and Bacchus. In Taurus we find asteroids Ceres and Dionysus in conjunction. They are opposing Pandora and Psyche also in conjunction in the corresponding degrees of Scorpio. These aspects are echoing the unpredictable nature of this chart.

Pandora relates to curiosity. "Pandora's box" is a familiar concept -- we may face unexpected consequences for our actions or be getting something else than what we asked for.

Psyche points to psychological wounds and traumas and talks about the sense of oneself as having a wound that cannot be healed. It can be healed, of course, and Psyche can represent the key to finding how to resolve the negative thought pattern.

Vesta is the brightest of asteroids, and is now in Pisces as well. She is the goddess of the hearth. Vesta represents the core creative and erotic human fire. She is about tending a flame as part of a collective responsibility, and there is something impersonal about Vesta's energy. She brings in the Piscean themes of sex and service.

Asteroid Orpheus in Pisces is opposing Saturn in Virgo. In mythology Orpheus was a magical musician and poet. His lyre and sweet voice could charm even wild animals and make rocks and trees dance. He was one of the Argonauts, and it was his music which prevented the crew of the ship Argo from being lured to destruction by the Sirens. Orpheus is also said to be the founder of the Orphic religious cult. The Orphic Mysteries were comparable to and linked with the Dionysian Mysteries. Orphics also revered Persephone and Dionysus or Bacchus.

When Orpheus' wife Eurydice died of a snake bite, Orpheus descended to the underworld. His songs were so beautiful that Hades agreed to allow Eurydice to return to the world with Orpheus. There was one condition: he must not look back on their way back to the surface. Nonetheless Orpheus looked back and lost Eurydice again. In astrology Orpheus is often associated with sorrow, loss and grief, but also with power of music and lyrics. When we allow a change and move into a new phase, we may feel sadness because we know that at the same time we have to leave something behind us. Pisces is the sign of art, music and poetry, and Orpheus in Pisces can simply symbolize an exceptional art experience.

In Aquarius we have another impressive stellium. Chiron, Mercury, Neptune and Venus are in conjunction in vicinity of the North Node. Asteroid Lilith is close to the Node and asteroid Icarus occupies the same degree with Chiron. The Sun, Moon and Uranus are semisextile to the Chiron-Icarus conjunction.

Asteroid Lilith tells about the original woman inside the woman. It is her deeper idea of herself and, in the chart of a man, his deeper idea of what a woman is, and how he relates to her. Lilith can also represent the crisis that "being the real me" brings into the lives of both women and men.

Asteroid Icarus speaks about peak experiences, desire to break free or take a risk. Icarus can point to matters where you possibly want to have a lot of perspective. A broad perspective available is also one of the distinct qualities available in Pisces. In the Greek myth Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned. They were able to escape with wings that Daedalus prepared for them. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high or the Sun would melt the wax he had used on the wings. Icarus forgot the warning, the wax melted, and Icarus fell down into the sea.

Pay attention to the tight Mars-Pluto opposition aligned with the cardinal points, an aspect which adds some more explosive energy to this lunation. The cardinal points are the first degrees of the cardinal signs -- hot spots related to the Aries Point. The cardinal points join individuals with the collective. At the Aries Point we are having a strong protective image though, Pallas Athene together with Bienor. Pallas is the archetype of strategy, law, protection and wisdom.

Jupiter-Varuna opposition offers another protective image in the chart. Jupiter, the traditional ruler of Pisces forms a harmonious sextile to the New Moon cluster. Varuna -- an energy which is too large to comprehend, but which somehow touches us personally -- forms a flowing trine to it. Varuna can be thought as a force that we invoke personally; we can ask for the help of this seemingly invisible energy, and it responds.

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