The Silent Eye

The Silent Eye


This week entails two very interesting celestial events.  First, on Tuesday morning, Venus stations retrograde, beginning her 6 week retreat across the sky’s catwalk.    Then, on Sunday, we’re treated to an annular solar eclipse in Gemini.  Between these two occurrences, we plunge headlong into the next phase of the year, marked by an unusual amount of time in the sign of the Twins.

Normally, the Gemini pattern is about differentiation and multiplication.    However, with Venus moving backward through Gemini and a solar eclipse, there is a curbing and reversal of this pattern.  Instead of multiplication, there is a withdrawal over extension and a return to the center.

Venus Stations Retrograde

After weeks of growing tension and slowing motion, Venus finally stations retrograde this Tuesday, May 15th.  The lead up to the bright planet’s retrograde has involved intermittent social breakdowns, odd mood swings and some interrupted financial transactions.  Venus’ actual turn retrograde this week takes us beneath these phenomena, into the Empress’ underworld, which we’ll be exploring for the next 6 weeks.

The central theme of Venus’ retrograde is quite simple.  Normally, Venus presides over and encourages connection.  We extrude energetic tentacles which grasp what we desire, binding the objects of our passion to us, and us to them.   During Venus’ retrograde, we are moved to retract these grasping hands, to reel in our fishing line as well as our bait.  Venus’ retrograde is an insistent call to return to the source of desire.  What we find, of course, is that desire’s objects are much simpler to identify than its source, which lies somewhere within us, beneath layers of invisible veils.

This retraction of desire to its source is an important end of one cycle and the beginning of another.  Really, though, it is the space between, which is of both the past and the future.   This indeterminate quality is another one of Venus retrograde’s primary characteristics.  Many people experience an intense oscillation between the emotional polarities of attraction and repulsion.  With the retrograde before us in Gemini, these emotional extremes are sure to be heightened.   As we spiral backwards towards the source of desire, like bathwater down the drain, we’ll feel things from a dizzying 360 degrees before plunging into the quiet clarity of the center.

For more on the qualities of Venus’ retrograde through Gemini this May and June, read “Venus Retrograde in Gemini.”

 Annular Solar Eclipse

The Sun enters Gemini on May 20th and is almost immediately eclipsed.  The annular solar eclipse will be seen across eastern Asia and the western United states.  We’ll jump through this blazing ring like a portal, entering a series of weeks full of strange, accelerated changes.  This is the 2nd and last Solar Eclipse in Gemini for about a decade.  The next solar eclipse, in November, will take place deep in Scorpio, opening a tunnel into a whole new series of challenges.

This eclipse, like all solar eclipses, is a special variety of New Moon.  Normally during a New Moon we recenter our energy and plant an intention for the month.  However, with this New Moon being an eclipse on the Tail, our intention should not be to add but to subtract.   The Dragon’s Tail lashes, destroying obstructions within.  Work with it.  Instead of adding more ideas, more words, more desires to your life, try subtracting.  Try recognizing that you’ve probably got too many as it is.  If you would invite abundance, make room for it.  If you would court genius, clear enough space in your mind to allow it freedom.

This is the Taoist logic that eclipses on the Tail operate on- if you would experience fullness, first become empty. Accordingly, eclipses on the Tail are excellent for practicing austerities of all types.  The mind, body and heart all benefit from the occasional fast.

Palasa-puspa-sankasam taraka-graha-mastakam

raudram raudratmakam ghoram tam ketum pranamamy aham


Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at
Aries: The Ram
Venus finally turns retrograde in Gemini on Tuesday morning, beginning a 6 week period where you’ll find yourself rethinking your relationships, especially with siblings and those you share social circles with. Look especially to the disconnect what’s felt and what’s said in these relationships. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini on Sunday, the 20th, highlights the small goals which gotten in the way of big ones. Ask where the rhythm of your regular schedule is taking you, and if that’s where you actually want to go.
Taurus: The Bull
Venus stations retrograde on Tuesday, beginning her 6 week walk backward. The bright planet’s bardo asks you to consider the value of your relationships, and more literally, to spend some time contemplating the value of a dollar bill. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini on Sunday asks you to divest yourself of unhelpful, possessive attitudes. Loss is the creation of emptiness, an invitation to tomorrow’s fullness.
Gemini: The Twins
Venus turns on her heel this Tuesday, signaling your entrance into a period of emotional transformation. You’ll be dealing with the full complexity of your likes and dislikes, desires and hatreds. Settle into ambivalence and let the complexities and contradictions work themselves out. This Sunday hosts the Solar Eclipse in Gemini. The eclipse illuminates old images of yourself, reflections from mirrors that no longer exist. Exorcise these shades and make room for future self-multiplications.
Cancer: The Crab
Venus turns retrograde in Gemini on Tuesday, the 15th, beginning a 6 week period which is likely to stir up desires you weren’t sure you had. Settle onto the shore of your unconscious and watch as unexpected feelings wash up. Take the time to pick through the bottled messages and biomedical waste- you’re sure to learn something. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini shines deep into your most inexplicable experiences, illuminating your attempts to understand them. Let go of the language you’ve used to try to describe what exceeds description.
Leo: The Lion
Venus stations retrograde on Tuesday, the 15th, beginning her 6 week retreat. The core theme here is reorganizing your social sphere, asking yourself who your friends are, and what a friend really is. Expect some back and forth feelings about people as your wrestle these questions down. Sunday’s Solar Eclipse in Gemini highlights the time you’ve spent courting other people’s favor. Let go of the need to charm people for a bit. The most potent seduction is, ironically, indifference.
Virgo: The Virgin
Venus finally goes retrograde on Tuesday. The bright planet’s 6 week retreat highlights contradictory desires in your professional life. You may want to walk two paths or merely vacillate about the one you’re on. Professional relationships can easily get sucked into this oscillation, and it is wise to keep things as simple as possible. At the end of the week, the Solar Eclipse in Gemini shines a black light on the many directions you could take your life. Yet feet can only walk one road at a time, in a simple line. You may be able to achieve everything you dream of, but not all at once.
Libra: The Scales
Venus turns retrograde in Gemini on Tuesday the 15th, beginning a 6 week period which will see you vacillating back and forth about divergent long term goals. Avoid premature commitments to any of them. Instead, let your passions toward these alternated futures fight it out. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini on the 20th ties into Venus’ retrograde meanderings, shining a light on the way you’ve defined your big goals. With a change in perspective, you may find that there are not as many contradictions as you previously thought.
Scorpio: The Scorpion
Venus stations retrograde in Gemini on the 15th, beginning a 6 week period that highlights the way you exchange time, money and energy with other people. One of the over-riding themes is what is yours alone and what is shared with others. Expect the lines between mine and yours to waver a bit. The Solar Eclipse on Sunday shines a blacklight on what you think you need from other people. Gaze upon your theoretical dependencies with the eye of the eclipse and watch them dissolve.
Sagittarius: The Centaur
Venus begins retrograde motion on the 15th, starting off the 6 weeks of backtracking. This time will entail an audit of your personal relationships. You’ll find yourself going back and forth about the people in your life, as well as what their proper role is. More than that, you may find yourself questioning what partnership means, and arriving at a fundamentally different definition. That said, give yourself the time to figure it out, and don’t make any permanent changes in the roster until you’ve found clarity. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini comes on Sunday. Like Venus’ retrograde, the eclipse points towards your relationships, highlighting the silhouette of old patterns and people. Stay with the ghosts long enough to remember what you learned from them, but return to the present without them.
Capricorn: The Goat
Venus turns retrograde in Gemini on the 15th. The next 6 weeks of retrograde motion have as their theme the way your emotions anchor your fiscal and physical habits. As Venus walks backwards, you’ll become more aware of how your feelings are connected to your best and worst patterns. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini on the 20th shines a dark ray or two on your routines, patterns and habits, illuminating all of the little programs you run on a regular basis. As you get an eyeful of this, you’ll probably notice a virus or two that needs purging.
Aquarius: The Waterbearer
Venus turns retrograde in Gemini on the 15th, starting the 6 week retrograde. You’ll likely your creative energies spread too thin, devoted to too many ideas. Follow each idea back to the intention behind it. You may find you do need all of those forms to encompass your intent. Sunday hosts the Solar Eclipse in Gemini. It’s circular abyss may be of help in narrowing down your options, as its twilight shines through your many projects, revealing strengths and weaknesses. Some may not survive this irradiation, but that is for the best.
Pisces: The Fish
Venus stations on Tuesday, beginning 6 weeks of retrograde motion. This retrograde is likely to stir up ambivalent feelings about those in your living space. You might have strange guests, or already tense dynamics may be activated. The issue is the tendency of experiences during this period to ping childhood experiences, giving some of the action afoot a disproportionately large charge. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini on Sunday shines on your emotional foundations, causing pieces of your past to glow with eerie light. It’s time sell off some of the baggage you keep in your basement.
Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Anri 8 years ago

    Any more information on the choice of the Ketu mantra?
    * (must have something to do with the eclipse right? I havent quite wrapped my head around Vedic astrology yet.) So as I understand it, it is the South Node? Why at this point then, during the Gemini eclipse would it be wise to contact Ketu in this way?

    And perhaps, could you give me a taste of some ways to empower the mantra with some information on any traditional rituals surrounding its use? Even if just a link to a Vedic site that you find isn’t too superficial in its application.


    • Author
      Austin Coppock 8 years ago

      The South Node, Ketu and the Tail of the Dragon all refer to the same point. That point, and it’s opposite, the N. Node/Rahu/Head of the Dragon have been calculated for several millenia in a variety of cultures precisely because they mark the points where eclipses occur. Their meaning is inextricable from that of eclipses.

      Every eclipse, solar and lunar, occurs with the eclipsed body in conjunction with one of the two nodes, up to a maximum orb of about 15 degrees.

      The solar eclipse this Sunday takes place atop the S.Node/Ketu/Tail. There is a large and accessible vocabulary of yantra and mantra devoted to Ketu, much of it within reach of a quick google. I don’t have any particular favorites, as I don’t work in a traditional Hindu manner. .

  2. Anri 8 years ago

    Thanks. I’ve googled it already. lol. Was just curious about the connection between the nodes and the eclipses, which, strangely enough was something I haven’t picked up on yet. So wow. Shot!

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 8 years ago

      Yeah, for some reason the meanings of the nodes have become detached from the actual phenomenon of eclipses. The nodes make much more sense when viewed in the context of the astronomical events they were originally calculated to predict.

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