Astrology Jan. 11th-17th: Master of the Maze

Astrology Jan. 11th-17th: Master of the Maze
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This week the Moon waxes through its first quarter while Mars creeps inexorably through Scorpio, and Mercury dances backwards, leading us deeper into the maze.  Meanwhile, Venus makes a liberatory trine with Uranus on Monday, but continues into a complicated arrangement with Jupiter later in the week.  Thursday wins first prize this week for friendliest configuration, while Sunday’s Moon-Mars opposition could easily get a little ugly.

Though not without challenges, this week is of a more positive character than the pair which preceded it.  While Mercury is still quite retrograde, he has departed from the bloody-minded square with Mars, which stained his station early last week a grisly crimson. This week is much more concerned with fixes, solutions and redesigns, though to do so we will have to confront the master of the labyrinth.

The Heart of the Labyrinth

inferconjThis Thursday, the 14th, Mercury conjoins the Sun in late Capricorn.  This conjunction marks the mid point of Mercury’s retrograde motion, and is more specifically called the “inferior” conjunction, because it sees Mercury between the Sun and the Earth.  These inferior conjunctions are the heart of every Mercury retrograde.  The other type, the “superior” conjunction, see Mercury on the far side of the Sun from the Earth.

Mercury’s retrograde motion and close proximity to the Sun are both considered to be afflictions to the planet’s action in traditional astrology.  Yet this moment in the middle of the retrograde, the inferior conjunction, qualifies as a very positive condition- a “cazimi.”  Cazimi translates roughly to “in the heart” and it occurs whenever a planet is extremely tightly conjoined the Sun, though astrologers have been known to argue about its exact parameters.  Planets attain a fleeting potency when placed in such a tight line with both the Sun and Earth.  Mercury’s cazimi early on the 14th thus provides a point of greater clarity about the internal and/or external transitions afoot.

Mercury’s retrograde movement, during which he disappears from visibility for several weeks, is often analogized to a journey through the Underworld- a function to which the Greek Hermes was especially fitted in his role as Hermes Cthonios, the guide of souls.  The inferior conjunction with the Sun, at the heart of Mercury’s retrograde cycle, can thus be paralleled to the discovery of the underworld’s innermost sanctum.  Here, a Chthonian Mercury confers with the midnight Sun.

The Stygian conference occurs within the stony labyrinth deep beneath castle Capricorn. The maze contains, protects, and imprisons.  Though born of the will to order, it hosts chaos. After tracing its winding lines and dead ends, we come to its unexpected center and here encounter its menacing and eccentric architect.

The master of the maze, its mysterious demiurge, is often cast in our stories as a devil of one sort or another.  Whether it’s a
charming one, like Labyrinth’s David Bowie, or an ominous and inscrutable intelligence, like Leviathan from the Hellraiser series, our human tendency to demonize the architect is consistent. Yet this demiurge is none other than the brilliant, flawed Daedulus, creator of the Cretan minotaur’s stony underworld.

Tarot-Rider-Waite-15-The-DevilWhile we cannot be blamed for all that occurs in the maze of the material, we are far more responsible for the geometry of the tunnels we dwell within than we regularly admit to.  Born of order and chaos, this labyrinth is our reality construct, and its minotaurs, cenobites and goblins all monsters we hoped to confine.  The labyrinth is our attempt to stabilize, limit and control our world.  Yet having wandered it so long, it is easy to forget who is responsible for its design.

The meeting between the Sun and Mercury at the center of the maze serves to remind us, for when we come face to face with its demonic master, we are likely to find that he is no great devil, but merely our faithful Daedalus, doing his best to design in accordance with our badly communicated wishes.  We are not the monsters trapped within its walls, but co-creators of its sprawling design. We thus come to this meeting as an absent prime mover in order to chat with our errant demiurge about the broken linkages between our intentions and the resultant patterns.

This chthonian meeting is also attended by Jupiter, to whom both the Sun and Mercury make perfect trines.  This is significant, as Jupiter is in a Mercury ruled sign and currently rides with Rahu, the Head of the Dragon.  He is thus in a position to contribute plans for cunning redesigns and thoughtful expansions to our world-system.  This triadic meeting, which takes plan on the 13th and 14th, thus provides an opportunity to contemplate the deep structure of our world, and what of its design you would, and could, change.

Yet after our conclave with the master of the maze, we must begin the trudge out of the underworld’s twisting terrain.  The excellence a planet is treated to during a cazimi disappears quickly as the two bodies depart one another. We thus go back to retrograde and combust Mercury, with all of the standard afflictions to the travel, electronics, communications and scheduling entailed therein, for the pathway out of the underworld is as long and strange as the journey to its hidden heart.


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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
Taurus: The Bull
Gemini: The Twins
Cancer: The Crab
Leo: The Lion
Virgo: The Virgin
Libra: The Scales
Scorpio: The Scorpion
Sagittarius: The Centaur
Capricorn: The Goat
Aquarius: The Waterbearer
Pisces: The Fish
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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. ash 7 years ago

    Thank you. This last week was rough.

  2. Patricia New 7 years ago

    Interesting that you bring up David Bowie and Labyrinth. My children are your age and remember David Bowie very fondly in this movie. Being of a certain age, I remember Ziggy Stardust and Space Oddity. Sorry to see one of the great rock musicians go. Thanks for your insights!

  3. Daniella 7 years ago

    Brilliant insights. You don’t miss a mark, do you? You must have some ME/UR aspects i feel …

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 7 years ago

      Thanks, Daniella. I’m a Sun-Uranus trine, but Mercury’s only real aspect is a very tight sextile to Venus.

  4. James 7 years ago

    Interesting the phrasing you use for Cancer. I am negotiating with my family to buy the house my Grandmother owns as she is transitioning to assisted living. And I am liking for a new job to pay for it. Always have enjoyed your insights.

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Astrology Jan. 11th-17th: Master of the Maze

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