Régime des Fleurs
No. 10: Bronze Age Terracotta Vessel
Behold, I am toward God as you are; I too was pinched off from a lump of clay (Job 33:6).
The graceful, unadorned design of this footed vessel excavated from Jericho presents a fine example of Biblical-era pottery.
1900 BC to 1700 BC
5" / 12.7cm high
No. 9: The Astrology of February 2016:
A Month of Purification
There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify.
February is a month ruled astrologically by the electricity of Uranus, and culturally by the romantic edge of Valentine’s Day. This February 2016, the stars see us continuing the theme of purification and deep purging, specifically through relationship—an influence that began when the North Node moved into Virgo a few months back. Looking behind us, January shaped up to be an intense month as Mercury joined Pluto, Black Moon Lilith opposed Uranus, and Mars moved into the intense sign of Scorpio, all transits pushing us into the underworld to face whatever we have been repressing. As February unfurls, the themes of delving into shadow work for the purpose of waking up will continue. Much like a crimson red rose with prickly thorns, this will not be a comfortable month, but as long as we do the work, it will help us to open into the beauty of our true nature.
The first major transit of February occurs on the 5th of the month, when Venus in Capricorn conjuncts Pluto, an intensely passionate stirring of energies just in time for Valentine’s Day. With Venus moving through Capricorn, we’ve been working with the more logistical aspects of love. Perhaps we’ve engaged in practical conversations with our partners and ourselves about relationship and commitment, keeping a cool restraint on passionate whims. However, February 5 may bring a powerful jolt to this self-restraint, and we could feel a great amount of passion, intensity, and intimacy suddenly springing forth, thawing the ice crystals of Capricorn, like a lightning bolt melting a snowflake. Any relationships that begin under this influence will be powerful and deep, perhaps setting us onto new life paths, and certainly forcing us to look at our shadows. In current relationships, unconscious or secretive matters may come to the surface, and this could be the turning point when we finally make the decision to release whatever is out of synch with our highest good.
The New Moon in Aquarius on February 8 will be extraordinary. New Moons mark beginnings, and Aquarius is the crystalline and eccentric energy of enlightenment and humanitarianism. Collectively, we are in a transitional period, leading to a new age and paradigm, and in a way this New Moon represents the beginning of our group awakening. The aloof, clear influence of Aquarius and the immediacy of its
ruler, Uranus, combined with the emotional reboot of the New Moon, means that we may experience sudden liberation from old habits that hold us back, both on collective and personal levels.
As Mars continues its journey through Scorpio, February carries us further into shadow work spurred by relationship. If we understand some key points, we can become night-blooming jasmine, opening into fragrant blossoms in the dark, while reflecting the iridescent light of the Moon. This is the time to look at where others have become our triggers, and where we are stuck in anger. The more we expose our cavernous, unresolved shadows to the luminosity of awareness, the more we wake up. The moment we shine light, shadows disappear, so we may as well relax and see relationship difficulty as an opportunity for personal healing and purification. We may even thank anyone who harms us for showing us the places where we need to stop judging ourselves. This is the graduate level spiritual work the Universe is asking of us now. We are ready. Let us remember to drop into our hearts if we feel like giving up.
While engaging in shadow work, what better sign for the sun to transit than Aquarius? The sign is cool, objective, and future-oriented, so while we examine the aspects of ourselves that we fear most, we will possess Aquarian detachment, making this an excellent time to undergo therapy. Electric Aquarius will show us alternative points of view, perhaps exposing an angle we could not access previously. With Uranian lightning, we may be able to release instantly whatever beliefs or relationships are holding us back, emphasizing the jolt of Pluto conjunct Venus from February 5.
When Venus enters Aquarius on February 16, some of us may try to break free from the romantic structures we’ve been building of late, and our focus may turn away from personal relationships and more towards the harmonizing of humanity. This is a wonderfully inventive and artistic period for Aquarians and other air signs, who may experience a shock of creative energy. Possibly, relationships may begin now that exist outside the social norm, or at least, conversations may take place around alternative romantic agreements.
A final noteworthy transit in February will be the Full Moon in Virgo on February 22. Full Moons bring the energy of completion, and this particular one will represent the conclusion of an issue around heartbreak or financial difficulty that began back in September 2015, during the Solar Eclipse. This Full Moon will oppose Neptune, and situations relating to bringing deep yearnings into practical reality will reach some kind of apex, helping us to clarify our purest intentions. Luckily, North Node-in-Virgo conjunct Jupiter has been tilling the soil for this influence. The more we return to our desire to be of benefit to ourselves and others, the more beautifully we will experience the light of this Full Moon; the more we have purified, the more the Moon will expose our beauty rather than our shadows.
This month we are certainly undergoing an interesting planetary dance involving the Aquarius Sun, North Node in Virgo, and some intense Plutonian influences. Pluto is forcing us into the depths; Virgo North Node is purifying our shadows; and the Aquarius Sun is pulling us back to see the big picture, in order to launch us into the future. These influences are all par for the course during this transitional period. We must not lose heart and remember that we are doing good work here. By the end of this cycle of purification, we will be like newborn babies, fresh, awake, and naturally shifting into a new paradigm founded in wisdom and love. We must try to stay open to all of it. As the Buddhists say, the next Buddha is a society. The idea is to keep returning to our hearts and to help others to do the same, until all beings have attained enlightenment. May we welcome the electric shadows of this potent month. May we bloom in the night.
No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8:
Video Works by Mirabelle Marden
Mirabelle Marden presents a series of deceptively sparse videos that evoke the visceral fragility of the human body and plant life through dance-like repetition and poignant movements. A bouquet of bright pollen-laden lilies beat against Marden’s white clad body, velvety fat rose heads spill from her chest – a quiet violence and stark sensuality both more uncomfortable for their iPhone framed starkness. Tucking herself into a tangle of vines or caressing a gash in a shiny houseplant, Marden’s dry visual humor belies a severe physicality that induces a shiver of identification in the viewer.
- Melia Marden
No. 4: Alabaster Vessel, Middle Kingdom Egypt
This vessel is carved from prized alabaster that was quarried from a known site by the Valley of the Kings in ancient Thebes. This temperamental material was particularly valued for its fleshy hues and glowing translucency. The combination of the small scale and the precise craftsmanship suggests that the vessel was intended to hold a cosmetic preparation such as ointment, kohl or perfume.
The Ancient Egyptian appreciation for luxury items and emphasis on grooming and hygiene were imbued with a reverence that exalted those processes to almost spiritual acts.
2200 to 1800 BC
1.75" / 4.4cm high x 1.675" / 4.3cm wide
No. 3: European Neoclassical carved marble medallion depicting a female figure
"It was not until the eighteenth century that a concerted effort to systematically retrieve the glories of lost civilizations began." - Cybele Gontar on the Neoclassical movement.
Recalling Venusian figures in white marble, this modest object perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Neoclassicism.
Late 18th / early 19th century
5" / 12.7cm diameter
No. 2: Proto-Mayan Carved Marble Vessel
This carved vessel excavated from the verdant jungles of Honduras depicts two snarling Jaguar masks with defined fangs and tongues and is further decorated with a series of swirling serpentine patterns rendered in low relief. To the Maya and their near predecessors, feline figures symbolised the elite ruling class. This vessel is thought to have been used in ceremonial rites, most likely containing sacred hallucinogenic potions or the blood of a sacrificial victim to be consumed by a king or a shaman.
500 AD - 900 AD
7.25" / 18.4cm high
No. 1: State of the Heavens
The Astrology of 2016
According to the stars, the year 2016 will bring a period of restructuring and relative peace—a welcome respite after an intense 2015. With mass shootings, divisive politicians, the refugee crisis, and more, 2015 saw much calamity—not surprising, considering it marked the end of a challenging square off between Pluto and Uranus, which brought the Great Depression and Hitler’s rise to power when it last formed in the 1930s. Now that this arduous angle has ended, the stars see us transitioning into a period of equanimity, when we can personally and collectively rise from the ashes in true Plutonian form, into a new vibration of consciousness.
First, we have work to do, and with Neptune squaring Saturn at the start of the year, we find reality conflicting with our dreams for the future. If we’ve imagined the impossible, our job is not to mourn what cannot be; it’s to figure out if we can make practical adjustments to accommodate our vision. If our dream is to grow African tulips in the Himalayas, we may ask ourselves what’s feasible: Could we adjust the soil pH, collect rainwater, build a greenhouse? Are we willing to accept limitations and alter our visions accordingly? Perhaps a field of blue poppies or purple primulas could bring a different kind of joy, still magnificent but more pragmatic given our circumstances. This is the type of balance that the Neptune-Saturn square insists we strike.
At the start of the year, Jupiter in Virgo has become our collective garden of white peonies bursting into bloom after fall’s careful pruning. It represents a time of abundance that comes from methodical planning and attention to detail. Any seeds of commitment, diligence, and integrity that we plant before September will pay off bountifully.
Throughout January and February, Jupiter will join the North Node in Virgo, encouraging us to ask: What are our purest intentions? A beautiful path will emerge if we can connect with our deepest drives and use them as a compass when we lose our way. As we shed our
old skin, we may find ourselves stumbling, feeling vulnerable and afraid. Who will we become? What new paradigm will we create? Facing the unknown is scary, but we must remember that it’s OK to make mistakes—the trick is to keep returning to our pure intentions while setting aside petty whims. Like a baby deer, we may feel wobbly on our new legs, but we can find comfort in remembering that every event, each moment of joy and pain, is an opportunity for growth, fodder for spiritual expansion.
On April 17, 2016, Mars will turn retrograde through Scorpio, the sign of sexuality and death. This is a time to explore the mossy corners of our aggression and psyches, in order to face the wounds we’ve buried out of fear. A healing crisis may occur, but if we do our work, we can come out of this with tremendous self-¬awareness, especially around our anger.
When Jupiter enters Libra in September 2016, we’ll feel as if we’re waking up from a midsummer nap in a romantic English garden, our senses filled with magenta mondahlias, tangerine sundahlias, and the thick scent of jasmine. This will be a period when relationships harmonize, intractable conflicts have the opportunity to resolve, and love expands globally and personally. It will be a wonderful time for Libras and other air signs (Gemini and Aquarius). Intellectual and artistic pursuits, romantic relationships, and marriage will have the lucky and joyful light of Jupiter shining on them.
With Venus aligning with Mars throughout the year, global fighting may soften, since Venus presents an opportunity for consensus and peace. Tolerance and compassion are likely to spring forth all over the world, even from the darkest corners. Male and female energies will blend easily now, contributing to the current movement toward gender fluidity. In keeping with these themes, Pantone has announced that the colors of the year are soft-pink Rose Quartz and baby-blue Serenity. The company’s director has stated:
"[These colors] demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and a cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace."
Indeed, these colors reflect the harmonizing of Venus and Mars, our planets of love and war, femininity and masculinity.
The first two weeks of January are significant astrologically, leading us into a period of recalibration after the turmoil of the past few years. Fantasy and reality will dance uncomfortably as we begin the New Year, creating an energy best harnessed by making sure our dreams are firmly rooted in the earth. With Jupiter conjunct the North Node in Virgo, now is the time to shed old skin and connect with our authentic hearts. In establishing this connection, our life paths will begin to unfold. Facing our fears and returning to our purest intentions is key.
Overall, the year looks hopeful. Peace, good health, and harmony in relationships are significant themes, and after some astrological intensity over the past few years, these pleasant transits are very welcome. Remember to take advantage of Jupiter’s expansiveness by organizing your life. We shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes as we shed old layers and touch base with our aggression and hidden fears. We have Venus on our side to lighten the gloom, and globally this will help move us into compassion, understanding, and tolerance. After all, individuals plant the seeds for collective peace.
May your impossible dreams bloom into glorious fruition in 2016.
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