The Archetypal Significance of Jupiter as the Apex of the Yod on Dec 21 2012:
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
In recent years the ending of the Mayan Calendar on Dec 21, 2012 has attracted an increasing number of articles and discussions. With limited knowledge of the Mayan calendar, I cannot comment on it ending at this time. However, as a psychological astrologer the importance of this date cannot but draw my attention in that it has acquired a symbolic meaning of significant collective importance. In initially focusing on this chart in 2010, when I was preparing a workshop in Dublin, on the Transits of 2012 with my colleague Christeen Skinner, I found myself repeatedly drawn to the importance of the astrological, psychological and symbolic significance of Jupiter as the apex of this powerful Yod, in our individual and collective evolutionary[i] journey. This article is an extension of the material I presented at that workshop.
The Yod as Geometry
Through the incarnation of abstract concepts into form, geometry offers a valuable means of connecting the celestial heavenly realms with the earth plane of manifestation thereby reminding us of our connection with the divine. Geometrically shaped like an isosceles triangle, a Yod is essentially a triad, which is universally recognised as one of the most stable and complete forms. With a strong foundation at the bottom, the top of the triangle can reach into the heavens and channel energy down. Pyramids which were considered to be spiritual doorways, energy conductors and gateways to realms beyond us, are of course based on triangles. Many of them which were used as burial sites for royalty were placed in astrologically chosen locations on the belief that their rulers’ safe return to the heavenly realms would be most easily facilitated by these placements. Although most of the pyramids were based on equilateral triangles – the equivalent of grand trine formations, some, like the Nubian pyramids in what is now modern day Sudan, were constructed at a steeper angle, more similar to a Yod. Our spiritual/esoteric associations with the number three is therefore not surprising. Amongst many others these include: the third eye or brow chakra, heaven, earth and the underworld, mind, body spirit, father son and Holy Ghost and the conscious, personal unconscious and collective unconscious realms. Acknowledged as a sacred number by the Egyptians as well as the Inca, Mayan and Aztecs civilizations there was recognition that two individual entities coming together form a powerful third entity. Encompassing both of the individual units, this is greater than, yet also the original matrix from which the individual entities arose from and which they will also return to at some point in the future. It is of course the principle of creation and birth and the integration and hence resolution of duality. I believe this latter resolution is one of the primary tasks the Yod of 2012 is inviting and assisting us to focus on, at this particular point in our evolutionary history.
The Astrological Yod
The common term ‘the finger of god’ used for the Yod, apparently derives from the 10th letter of the Jewish alphabet: ‘Yud’. On the simplest level, ‘the design of the yud is a point: a dot which represents God’s essential power; the one God who is indivisible’. Additionally, ‘the yud represents the method by which the blessing descends from God to his people’. [ii] Another definition for the Yud is ‘the concentration of the infinite within the finite’. [iii] Astrologically the term ‘finger of god’ has been mostly interpreted as bringing our attention to a core theme described by the apex planets’ identity and placement by house and sign, which we have undertaken at a soul level to integrate in this lifetime. Hence transits and progression to any point of the Yod, but particularly to the apex planet, awaken the energies of this planet, inviting us to focus on a further level of integration of this core theme. Yet traditionally the astrological Yod has been considered a challenging aspect. Made up of a sextile, joining two quincunx’s, our focus has been on the apparent lack of common ground on any level between the signs either by element, modality or polarity. However, If we are to consider the Yod as a doorway to the numinous and a means of integrating a core soul theme in this incarnation, the issue is not whether it is challenging, but more about understanding what it is that we are invited to integrate individually and as a collective at this point in history and how we might best facilitate this process.
The Mythology of Marduk
Our starting point for our exploration is the focal point in the Yod of Dec 21st 2012 which is Jupiter in Gemini quincunx Saturn in sextile to Pluto at its base, opposite Venus within an orb of 1’ and Mercury, within a 7’ orb. In most versions of Babylonian cosmology and mythology, the god Marduk[iv] was equated with Jupiter the ‘Lord of wisdom’ [v]. He was considered to be the most important of the planetary deities and the hero of the Enūma eliš – the Babylonian Creation myth. The chief qualities he was revered for were his courage, wisdom and power, particularly in overcoming the dragon Tiamat who was the representation of chaos in the universe. Defeating Tiamat using the Elements amongst many powerful tools offered to him by the other deities, Marduk created heaven and earth and organized the planets and stars, thereby restoring order and light. In the words of Christopher Siren ‘he supplants the other Babylonian deities to become the central figure of their pantheon — was of proud form and piercing stare, born mature, powerful, and perfect and superior. He becomes a firm lawgiver and judge — He is also gifted in magic. ”.[vi] In The Phoenician Letters[vii] the authors describe the following, ‘the truth of Marduk is this. … he is the changer of shapes, the one who cannot be restricted for long’. His destruction of Tiamat can be interpreted as the regeneration and recreation of a new fairer more expansive enlightened order from unbridled chaos.
Zeus, the Greek king of the gods, known as the Roman Jupiter, inherited many of the qualities and characteristics of Marduk including his association with justice, enlightenment and expansion. Similarly to Marduk, the father of the heavens, as described by his name (the second half of Jupiter derives from Pater meaning father in Latin), was concerned with law and morality.
However, although he retained his position as king of the gods in the planetary pantheon, the Sun God Apollo, whom the Greeks viewed as encompassing all the gods in one, increasingly took centre stage from his father Zeus. This coincided with rational scientific thinking coming strongly to the forefront and replacing the dream vision centred, nonlinear process of intuitive enlightenment, favoured by the Babylonians. In Rome, particularly under the reign of Augustus, the worship of Apollo became widespread making him one of the chief gods of the time. Through the ages this has been strongly reinforced by cultural and psychological developments which focused largely on the importance of individuation and solar consciousness firmly embedded in duality and separation and resulting in a diminishing of the status of Jupiter within our psyche. I would suggest that the Yod of 2012 offers us an opportunity to reinstate the importance of the Jupiterian archetype, back alongside the Sun in our evolutionary movement forward. I would also contend that the primary focus on our solar consciousness has been of the utmost importance until this time in history, as it has assisted us in developing a conscious sense of self. The term self is used in this context as defined in the Jungian sense of “not only the centre but also the whole circumference, which embraces both conscious and unconscious”. [viii] This has been necessary for us to fully engage with the transformational changes invited by the current planetary deities, particularly with the transit of Neptune in Pisces. The more engaged we are with developing a conscious individual self, the more creatively we can attempt to mediate this powerful planetary energy through experiencing our reconnection with all within the realm of incarnation rather than being seduced to believe that we need to transcend human form to attain it. Hence the possibility of creating heaven on earth becomes a reality. To continue to explore Jupiter’s’ journey of reinstatement further we need to go back to 1989.
The Yod of 1989
The 2012 Yod is the second Yod with apex Jupiter in Gemini within our lifetime. The first one was on May 18th 1989 where Jupiter at 13’ Gemini 27 was quincunx Saturn in its own sign of Capricorn, conjunct Neptune and sextile Pluto, in its home sign of Scorpio. Many of us will remember that this was a concentrated time of major philosophical awakening, leading to revolts and changes in the world including the Tianaman revolt and the first cracks in the Iron curtain. The Ayatollah Khomeini also died shortly afterwards. It is noticeable that this 1989 Yod had similar planetary protagonists to the Dec 2012 Yod, albeit in a different formation. One of the main differences was that Jupiter was direct at the time and Venus and Mercury were within orb of a conjunction, rather than an opposition to Jupiter. With no activation point planet opposite Jupiter, the focus on Jupiterian expansion of thinking and expression was not offered a clear opening to facilitate the flowing and integration of energy, as in the upcoming Yod. However, what is particularly interesting is that in the Yod of 1989 Venus was at 8 Gem 50 which is the exact degree to the second, of the placement of Jupiter opposite Venus in this upcoming 2012 Yod. We could therefore symbolically view this initial Yod as a preparation or prelude for the 2012 one – an initial awakening inviting us to expand our thinking in alignment with our values, as an expression of depthful truth, based on a more authentic enlightened spiritual foundation.
So what is this Yod inviting us to integrate?
Observing the relationship between the planets as archetypal planetary deities rather than merely by aspect in the Yod of 2012 can assist us further in our explorations. We notice therefore that Zeus in in quincunx to his father Cronus and his brother Hades, opposite his daughter Aphrodite/Ishtar/Inanna. Her placement opposite Jupiter’s apex position suggests the important role she might offer this powerful dynamic. Ready to illuminate this planetary cast is the light of Solar consciousness getting ready to shine brightly on Hades in Capricorn, at a mere 8’ distance reminding us that Apollo continues to shine alongside Zeus.
By now we are all familiar with the god of the underworlds’ efforts to transform and transmute those aspects of our core individual and collective structures which are not built on the level of authenticity required by Capricorn. Cronus in Scorpio, which is in mutual reception to his son Hades as he sextiles him, adds strength to their joint search for the absolute truth. Together these two gods at their most expansive can delve beneath the surface, eliminating illusion and false gods and manifesting structures based on integrity. However, at their most limited, they can generate restrictive fear and paranoia, which can express itself through the potential abuse of power and control. Cronus’ position in quincunx to his son Zeus can either emphasise at its most restrictive, the archetype of the ‘limiting’ father or at its most expansive, he can offer Zeus the possibility of supporting the manifestation of his inspirations in the world, exemplified in the archetype of the good father.
The placement of Zeus retrograde, in the sign of the twins, is also in mutual reception to Hermes in Sagittarius, who is just about within orb of an opposition to Zeus. Both these deities are traditionally considered to be in the sign of their detriment. Interestingly Dr. Benjamin Dykes points out how a planet in detriment ‘can show something that is “alternative” or “countercultural” because it represents the dissolving of standard norms. [ix] In this case the ‘norms’ are related to our thinking function both on the 3rd house level of Mercurial communication and the more expansive 9th house Jupiterian level of philosophy and belief systems, taking us beyond the mundane, into the realm of ‘spirit’.
However, it is Aphrodite in Sagittarius, as the Activation Point of the Yod who offers us the most powerful possibility of resolution/integration as she is directly opposite Zeus who is the Fulcum point of the Yod. Joan Kellogg calls the interaction between these two points ‘the axis of awareness’. Returning to the symbolism of the Yod as a triangle/pyramid functioning as an energy conductor – Jupiter/Zeus as the apex planet at its most expansive is the key point through which the energy can flow into and expand our thinking function to reach down and express itself through Venus/Aphrodite, with the integrity of Saturn/Cronus and the authentic power of Pluto/Hades anchoring these energies at the base. A further aspect to take into the equation is Uranus squaring Pluto within a 4’ degree orb and trining Venus with a 3’orb. At its most expansive this Promethian god can ideally offer the Yod energies opportunities for rapid, inspired, innovative change.
Known as Innana to the Sumerians, Hathor to the Egyptians, Chak Ek’ to the Mayans and Ishtar to the Bablyonians, the planet Venus shares with these mythological personalities the archetypal qualities of love, particularly self-love as well as joyful expansive fertility/creation through the connection with our inner values – mainly our self-value. Known as the goddess of procreation, love and war in Babylonian times, the Sumerian version of Inanna describes a deeper aspect of this archetype through her courageous voluntary descent into Hades realm to visit her sister Erishkigal. Her journey into the unconscious involved releasing all that was superfluous at each of the 7 gates enabling her to integrate her authentic inner power as she relinquished her naivety.
In the Yod of 2012, Inanna/Venus in Sagittarius, is interestingly placed between the Hades underworld and the Saturnian realm of planet earth, potentially offering a channel of expression for the sky god Zeus. In this powerful position Venus invites us to recognize how we can best move beyond duality, into integration and meaning through wisdom and love – particularly self-love. The transit of Venus to the Sun in June 8th 2004 and early June of this year, which also occurred in Gemini during the Venus retrograde cycle, offered each of us a valuable opportunity to reconnect, complete and clear any inner obstacles to our own self-love and self-value as we encountered the depth of Hades realm on our own replica of Inannas journey[x] within. Reconnecting to the Venusian archetype offered us the potential to support the formation of a clear channel for Jupiterian illumination to express itself through Venus in the Yod of 2012.
A deeper exploration of how we might engage with the Apex Jupiter
Represented by the 8 pointed star and in the sign ruled by Jupiter, Venus in this Yod powerfully enhances Jupiter in his position at 8’ gem 50. Resembling the symbol for infinity the number eight in the Kabala is viewed as an entity that is one step above the natural order, higher than nature and its limitations. This particularly powerful position of Jupiter is also emphasised by its visually close position to Aldebaran, the star marking the right eye of the Bull which is also a further symbolic connection, with Venus being the ruler of Taurus. Known as one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, Darrelyn Gunzburg describes how Aldebaran ‘in keeping with all the Royal Stars, promises the attainment of one’s goals but only — by maintaining moral integrity’[xi] linking us back to the importance of the message of the Saturn/Pluto sextile.
Astrologically Jupiter has an 11.86 year cycle around the sun. Hence his first return offers us an expansive internal awakening of our sense of meaning in pre-adolescence which coincides with expansion on physical and emotional levels. Jupiter is also connected to adolescence through the archetype of the Puer Aeternus, reminding us of the possibilities that are always open to us in this life and beyond. Motivated primarily by expansion, enlightenment, revelation and meaning, Jupiterian laws are concerned with spiritual and moral principles based on being divine and hence are embedded in a morality that is beyond human laws. By nature, despite being offended by hubris, Jupiter, challenges our fears based on internalised Saturnian archetypal laws which are centred on the mortal cycles of nature. Through reminding us that in essence we are divine and hence immortal, he invites us to release our fears and restrictions.
The word giovane meaning young in Italian is a derivative of the word gioviale meaning joyful and gioia meaning joy, which are all connected to the Latin derived word Giove which translates as Jupiter. Hence we are reminded of the powerful connection between joy and meaning in our human existence as it is through Jupiterian meaning that we can most easily remember that we are powerful expansive divine creators. In doing so we are released momentarily from the human restrictions imposed on us by Saturnian form and can experience the expansive freedom of joy at its fullest. Meanwhile a strong connection to our authentic inner solar light of consciousness, enables us to stay centred within, thereby avoiding inflation.
On Dec 21,st retrograde in the sign of the twins, Jupiter will revisit the 8’ Gemini 50 spot it first went to on July 24th. It will return to this exact point again in direct motion on March 11th 2013. With the duality of light and darkness and heaven and earthly existence in the Gemini archetype of the twins, this movement from direct to retrograde and back to direct can be symbolically viewed as a shift from the external mercurial expansion of our thought forms to the potential enlightenment of our unconscious and innermost thinking patterns ready to emerge back out into the light inviting us to integrate newly gained insights from the entire Yod formation into our daily life. In working in partnership with Venus in Jupiter’s own sign, anchored in the solidness of Pluto’s transformational power and the Saturnian earth realm, the potential to integrate and express via Mercury the duality of human and divine without the fear of retaliation from the gods becomes a reality as we realise that we too are powerful gods. In that moment the words of Plotinus become a reality, ‘The stars are like letters which inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky . . . Everything in the world is full of signs . . . All events are coordinated . . . All things depend on each other; as has been said, ‘Everything breathes together.’
A Final Brief Note
In applying the Yod transits to our own chart we are more likely of course to feel connected with this configuration if we are going through major life transitions such as our Saturn return or midlife transits as well as if any part of it closely aspects our Sun, Moon or angles. However, for all of us, this is an opportunity to focus on our natal Jupiter and its relationship with our solar energy, remembering that some of the basic things that support Jupiter include joy, humour, hope, trust, study, travel and learning. Working with potential obstacles to its development such as powerful Saturnian and Capricornian influences within our chart can assist us to more fully enjoy the energies of this very powerful and transformative Yod.[xii]
Margaret Gray B.A. (TCD) MSW, D. Psych. Astrology Margaret is a Psychological Astrologer and Clinical Social Worker. She trained at the Centre for Psychological Astrology UK with Liz Greene and has been working in the USA and Ireland for over 20 years with individuals, couples and children. Margaret also teaches astrology seminars and courses internationally and offers supervision to astrologers and therapists. Margaret is the author of numerous articles in astrology journals including the NCGR and AA journal. She has also written a regular astrology feature in Positive Life and Network Ireland Magazine. Margaret is the book reviewer for the ISAR journal and is currently based in Hawai’i with regular trips back to Ireland.
[i] I am using the term ‘evolutionary’ throughout this article to mean change on all levels that takes place through the creative co-participation of a living cosmos resulting in unfolding meaning and purpose. Although not identical to, it closely resembles the viewpoint proposed by Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche where he suggests viewing the human condition as one of “creative participation in a living cosmos of unfolding meaning and purpose.”
[ii] From http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/137082/jewish/Yud-And-the-Tenth-Shall-Be-Holy.htm
[iv] “For the great creator god Marduk was deemed to be, or be expressed by, the planet Jupiter. He was the god who created order in the world by killing the dragon of chaos, Tiamat, and split her body in two, placing one half in the earth and the other in the sky…For the Babylonian skywatchers Jupiter was one of the most important wandering stars, viewed as the protagonist of the heavens. Jupiter was Marduk”. Dr. Bernadette Brady The Old Man, Marduk and the Moon god, Sin. A bright Jupiter is curtailed
[v] Robert Powell – ‘History of the Planets’. (In some versions Marduk was also associated with Mars and Mercury)
[vi] The Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ version 1.9html by Christopher B. Siren (Nov. 1994)
[vii] The Phoenician Letters By Wilfred Davies and G. Zur
[viii] CW 12, para.44)
[ix] Traditional Astrology for Today An Introduction Dr Benjamin Dykes Pg 49
[x] For further information on the journey of Innana you may wish to visit the site of Melanie Reinhart on www.melanierienhart.com
[xii] My thanks to my colleague and friend Claudia Johnson of http://skydoginstitute.com/about/ for assisting me in editing this article