If you have built castles in the air, your work
need not be lost; that is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them.
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Reach for the stars! This is a time to fly above the atmosphere and set your spirit free! Open your mind to the great possibilities of your time. This is not a time to be trivial, trifling or trapped in your ego.
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The trouble is there are powerful forces keeping you close to the ground, limited in your scope, and painfully aware of the sacrifices involved if you do move beyond that scope.
It might feel like you're in a test designed to see how dedicated you are to your transpersonal growth. Indeed, there are reasons behind all components of this Full Moon in Aquarius, be they limiting or liberating, and they all play a crucial role.
Aquarius is a somewhat awkward place for the Moon. The Moon is about bonding and connecting on a very personal level. Aquarius, however, seeks detachment and freedom and bonds more on a transpersonal level – within the group, the greater community, the global village. The Moon is rooted in your personal relationship with your family (be they by birth or by choice), while Aquarius relates more to connection to the family of humankind.
Aquarius is the sign opposite Leo, the sign of the conscious self and its expression. There is always a creative tension between these two signs – one's identity as an individual versus identifying with the group. Right now Leo has 3 players on its stage – the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter – which provides a lot of energy that can feed the gratification, enrichment and/or enlightenment of your ego identity.
The Sun shines brightest in Leo, being the sign of its rulership. At its best, the Leo Sun provides a glowing sense of wholeness and magnanimous joy. At its worst, it can become blind to everything but its own light, being a bit too self-absorbed. Most of us walk a tightrope somewhere in between, struggling to stave off the self-doubt and fear of failure, while also gravitating toward opportunities that will allow us to be the best we can be.
Mercury in Leo seeks to express itself from the noble heart – creatively, dramatically and enthusiastically. As with the Sun, its focus is clearest when seeing and speaking to the light in others, while its biggest struggle often lies in resisting the urge to see everything through a lens of one's own experience and understanding.
Jupiter has been in Leo since July 2014. He is currently saying his final farewells at the party thrown in his honour to celebrate his reign in Leo and his upcoming move into Virgo on Aug.11. Jupiter in Leo seeks expansion and enlightenment by cultivating and becoming the best one can be. At its worst, this can become a breeding ground for egotism, arrogance and superiority. At its best, it's about discovering opportunities to let your natural creativity flourish and reconnecting with a sense of hope and vision.
When Jupiter moves into Virgo, he moves out of the realm of possibilities in order to turn them into actualities. At its best, it is a time to take that creative, hopeful Leo perspective and find ways to turn it into something that will serve the greater good (be it your own or others').
While Jupiter has been in Leo, if you sometimes found it easier to take a superior stance, this could now develop into criticism and judgment, since others probably won't be able to live up to your idealistic standards. In the ways you were able to be open to optimistic possibilities and opportunities, Jupiter in Virgo will challenge you to get down to brass tacks in constructing something real and concrete that springs from the Leo inspiration.
When we're identified with Awareness,
we're no longer living in a world of polarities.
Everything is present at the same time.
~ Ram Dass
Meanwhile back at the Aquarius Full Moon... the Moon is opposing the Sun (which is the definition of a Full Moon, of course). Mercury is widely opposite the Moon and conjunct the Sun. Although he has been and gone from his conjunction with the Sun (Jul.23) Mercury has yet to fully encounter the Moon, so the Moon essentially keeps Mercury involved in the Full Moon energy. This potentially brings conscious awareness to this personal/impersonal, individual/collective, Leo/Aquarius struggle.
You might find your mental focus is on your own personal experience or investment with the greater world events. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, nor does it mean ego run amok. However, it is likely to mean you'll need to find a satisfying balance between being part of the collective greater world community and making sure you, as an individual, are part of the equation.
Jupiter is busy getting ready for the big move, and has turned his back on the Moon, Sun and Mercury for now.
The line-up of planets in Leo in opposition to the Moon in Aquarius sets up a strong polarization between you and the collective that surrounds you. This could involve your circle of friends, work associates, organizations of like-minded people, or simply the greater community at large.
This Full Moon challenges you to look beyond yourself and especially to see the greater potential you have by connecting to the transpersonal (the spiritual) or the non-personal (the objective). In other words, you may be able to find yourself by losing yourself in the collective. If that sounds like a contradiction, it probably is. There's a lot of polarization in this chart and dealing with duality.
All of the transpersonal planets are on one side of the chart: Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Chiron, plus Saturn. The Moon, usually classed as a very personal planet, is smack in the middle of them all. On the other side of the chart are the rest of the personal planets – Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars, plus Jupiter.
So, on one hand, your sense of personal place in the world could start to feel tremendously inspired by Grand Possibilities. Or you might feel a bit overwhelmed and out of your league, being surrounded by Larger Than Life energies flying around you. Either you may get lit up from feeling like ancient star dust made flesh, or conversely, you might feel tiny and insignificant in the face of the immense vastness of the universe around you.
Both are true! And both are a projection of your own longing, imagination, fears and self-doubts.
The lesson in this Full Moon is to find the balance point between the two extremes so that you can embrace both realities, as if you were holding the reigns of two horses pulling your carriage. Yes, you are just a miniscule speck in the boundless continuum that is the physical and metaphysical universe...as are we all, and there's nothing wrong with that. You are also made of the same stuff as those distant diamonds in the sparkling night sky, and are capable of cultivating your own version of magnificent starshine.
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up
and see their beauty, believe in them,
and try to follow where they lead.
~ Louisa May Alcott
How to find a happy medium? Well, you might try becoming a happy medium! Neptune is semisextile to the Moon (30°) and quincunx to the Sun (150°), forming what I call an Irritation Wedge aspect pattern. This isn't a direct, in-yer-face connection – in fact you will need to widen your peripheral mental awareness to even catch a glimpse of these magical spirits dancing in the moonshine.
What you might see there are flickers of possibility, hints of insight and whispers of encouragement from your Higher Self, the Universe or any other inspirational source that you relate to. There is an ambience of something greater, something better, something wondrous, something beyond yourself, which you may subtly pick up.
The caution, as always with things Neptune, is that it might not be wise to assume you can take what you perceive as face value reality. Neptune is best used to add flavour to the pudding, not as a main course all by itself. Like vanilla extract, it smells heavenly but the raw taste is usually far from what you were expecting and it might not be pleasant! Better to let this whiff of Neptune add some aromatic inspiration to lift you out of feeling stuck or discouraged.
Accepting all the good and bad about someone.
It's a great thing to aspire to.
The hard part is actually doing it.
~ Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye
Saturn is now standing with his arms crossed, tapping his foot, annoyed that we're ignoring him. Saturn is the traditional planetary ruler of Aquarius, and therefore has a lot of say in which direction the Full Moon is bound to take. And he's a very busy boy right now!
For starters, Saturn is stationary and about to turn direct on Aug.02 (Aug.01 in Western North America). Many of us have been feeling his full weight squatting on our shoulders lately, making life feel heavy, sluggish and crunchy. This energy can provide solid fuel (or motivation) to drive your ambition forward—if for no other reason than it may feel better to hide in workaholic mode under Saturn's demanding gaze than to try and fight it.
What adds to Saturn's forcefulness is that during the first week or so in August, he is being squared (90°) by Jupiter, Venus Retrograde and Mercury! Jupiter puts the final touches on his trip through Leo and prepares to make his entrance into Virgo (Aug.11). During this time he is confronted by a very determined Saturn who gives Jupiter a preview of Virgo's Earthy practicality and results-oriented priorities. Jupiter has enjoyed his intuitive jaunt through Leo, so this change from Fiery Leo to Earthy Virgo could be a bit bumpy.
Jupiter and Saturn tend to be natural adversaries even at the best of times, and when they're in a stressful aspect it can just aggravate their inherent animosity. Jupiter is expansion, Saturn is contraction. Jupiter is vision and potential, Saturn is structure and manifestation. Jupiter is excitement, adventure and inspiration; Saturn is serious, full of concentration and relies on the facts.
These two are moving into the first of 3 square aspects that bring out conflict and confrontation between their respective energies: Aug.02, 2015, Mar.23.2016 and May.26.2016. They are entering the Last Quarter phase in the Jupiter-Saturn cycle that began with the conjunction in May 2000. This is a turning point that challenges you to think about what you have learned, acquired and transformed in your life in the last 15 years. Assessment and reckoning. The reality check of the vision.
One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked,
but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.
~ Michael J. Fox
Jupiter has Mercury and Venus on his side. They keep telling him what a great job he's done in Leo, how much they appreciate his leadership, and how uplifting he has been to their self-esteem and self-image. Venus, being retrograde, is coming back into Leo just as Jupiter is leaving, but meets him on the Leo side of the sign cusp along with Mercury. All of these encounters take place on Aug. 4 through 7, with some extra time before and after for the foreplay and afterglow.
While the 3 of them square off with Saturn during that time, they are challenged to get serious about how to turn that inspiration, leadership, creativity and playfulness into something concrete, useful, practical and functional. In other words, Saturn is being a party pooper on their bon voyage party for Jupiter, but Saturn knows it's best to be prepared for the energy shift.
Most of the conjunction and square aspects between the Leo trio and Scorpio Saturn take place at 28:17 of their respective Fixed signs. If you have anything in your natal chart near 28 degrees of the Fixed signs, you're likely to feel this more than most. For the first couple of weeks of August, you may be challenged to revision the practical and productive parts of your life – your work and career, your comfort level with authority and authority figures, your ability to lead others (and yourself) in making sound decisions, and how you incorporate your priorities and aspirations into your life.
Don't think of this as a drawback, failure or obstacle. It's actually more of a time to take stock of where you're at in your journey, recognize what you've accomplished, acknowledge what didn't come about as you'd hoped, and ultimately to find a way to accept that it all simply is.
Not satisfied with your progress? There's still time to make changes, but you must go forward from here – what's done is done, and it's not really possible to go backwards for a do-over. Saturn's challenge is to find ways to take the less-than-perfect results of your labours from the last 15 years and reformulate them creatively into something that is worthy of recognition.
It doesn't have to be flawless or even finished. It just has to be "good enough" for where you're at in your journey. Ultimately Saturn doesn't really care if something is exquisite or beautiful or ideal – just if it gets the job done. And while Jupiter has some pretty passionate feelings about wanting things to be ideal and a glowing reflection of the vision that gave it birth, being in Virgo it will have to learn to measure its goodness using practical priorities as much as abstract ideals.
That doesn't make it bad. It's okay to be "good enough."
Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
~ Stephen R. Covey
The Aquarian Moon downloads all of this energy through this intense Saturn energy. What does Aquarius consider to be "good enough?" It's all about figuring out your most important priorities. To Aquarius that is usually the freedom to be your unique self, even if that means sacrificing some of that cushy bonding and interpersonal connection the Moon craves so much.
Perhaps "good enough" means finding a different way to get your needs met. It might look a bit weird or you might think it won't be the same; it will never work. And in the usual same-old-same-old say, no it likely will not be the same—but it might still do the trick enough to get you through your current situation.
If you aim for perfection, you risk being disappointed because now is a time for practical values, not abstract ideals. More to the point – now is a time to adjust your aspirations away from conjuring up idealized perfection, and calibrate them instead for embracing and incorporating a vision that builds from the ground up.
We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.
But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
~ Stephen Hawking
in the US
Venus is retrograde in Leo, so it is a good time to take a closer look at how (or how much) you radiate your beauty in social situations. By beauty, this can mean physical beauty, and therefore could be beneficial to do a "make-over" of your appearance, wardrobe or body language. However, inner beauty is a bit more complex and often a bit more obscure because we so often focus on what's on the outside. Inner beauty starts with ourselves – if you can't appreciate your own value, others will have a hard time seeing it as well. This is a time to review your sense of self-worth and where you get this from. Is there a kind of feedback from the outside world that you need in order to boost your self-esteem? This could be a time when that feedback is unusually quiet, which gives you a valuable opportunity to reconnect with your own self-approval. Having the positive regard of others is important in social situations, but it's also important—even crucial—that you are able to give that to yourself as well, especially when you are not alone with yourself or when the immediate positive feedback from others isn't available.
Alternatively, this transit might bring a situation where you are called upon to provide the applause and positive feedback to someone else. Do you give it freely or cautiously? Either option can be a good or bad thing, depending on how that works for you. The better question might be: do you give it authentically and sincerely, or do you give it automatically regardless of whether you truly value what you are applauding? If you sincerely value the person or what they do, how do you make sure they know this? If you give approval automatically, maybe it's a good time to examine why. Even if you do this from a belief in a higher principle (e.g. universal love), has this become somewhat detached and therefore impersonal? Or perhaps you are motivated by fear that the person wouldn't like you if you questioned or disapproved of what they are seeking applause for. It's a good time to take a deeper look at what drives your response to see if that still reflects your own values.
Venus is retrograde in Leo (in whole or in part) every 8 years from 1959 to 2127. Some of the years when Venus is retrograde in Leo include: 1959, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1991, 1999, 2007, 2015, 2023, 2031, 2039.
During the current retrograde cycle, Venus is spending the majority of this retrograde cycle in Leo. She made her entrance into Leo on Jun.21 and stayed there until Jul.18, when she stepped briefly into Virgo for 13 days – just long enough to turn retrograde on Jul.25 and head back into Leo. She'll remain retrograde in Leo until Sep.06, when she turns resumes forward motion and moves through Leo again until she reaches Virgo again on Oct.08. Confused? Suffice it to say that Venus just can't get enough of Leo! So enjoy this waltz through the themes of creativity, fashion, love, passion, pleasure and celebration!
For up to a week before and after this date, Saturn’s energy is especially intense and strong. You might experience this as physical or mental heaviness or sluggishness. You might find you have to "get real" with some responsibilities, or make some difficult decisions. This can be a turning point in long-term projects and plans that you've been developing over the last 5 months or so. Or, you may start to deal differently with old limitations, either finding ways to move beyond them or finding ways to make peace with them. If you’re dealing with closure or endings in some area of your life, this could be a time when you can finally start to let go and move forward.
Unusual ideas, flashes of insight and seeing unexpected possibilities are all part of this transit. You may find it easier to be open-minded right now, especially about insights that have eluded you. Your ability to see beyond your usual horizon of perception can bring visionary brainwaves, as well as a fun sense of humour. You might be inspired to experiment with something new or do something out of character. You might have an impulse to break free of old habits or constraints. This can be a very liberating transit that opens your mind to new possibilities and ideas. However, be careful that you don't become so liberated and spontaneous that you become erratic, hyper or reckless. Words may come tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to consider their wisdom, or you might find yourself talking non-stop and interrupting, creating a bit of awkwardness in those around you. On the other hand, you might also find the clarity and vision that gives you the words to speak your truth with new conviction. It's a great time to do some writing or other form of self-expression, especially if it's spontaneous or involving technology.
Jupiter and Saturn have a very long combined cycle—20 years! This aspect shows it is time to evaluate your development since 5 years ago, 10 years ago, and 15 years ago. "What development?" you might ask. Five years is a long time to think back and compare to the present day. At that time you might have experienced the end of certain hopes and dreams, although this cleared the way for new ones, which are now starting to take shape. Alternatively, you might have encountered the manifestation of your hopes and dreams, requiring you to reorient your direction and actions to apply what you've been building up.
Perhaps your spiritual beliefs, practices and faith have been changing, possibly to make them more in sync with your physical circumstances. Or, you might have wanted to find a more spiritual, uplifting and optimistic understanding of the external world of cause and effect. So, what has happened as a result of these changes? Where are you now in the long-term process that has unfolded over the last 5, 10 or 15 years? And where would you like to be five years from now on this journey?
This transit offers a time to commit to a more conscious focus in order to achieve your long-term goal. Is there anything about your goal or plan that needs to be adjusted or changed now? What, if anything, is holding you back from taking the next step? What dreams, inspiration, knowledge, perspective, faith or optimism can carry you beyond this point? What must you do now to get back on track, or to ensure that you stay on track? This is a major turning point in a long-term process, and the turn itself will take almost a year to complete. This is a good time to check in with your goals and reaffirm the inspiration that motivated you to begin your current direction (5, 10 or 15 years ago). Also, clarify your vision of where you want to be in another 5 years.
Romance is in the air, harmony is reflected in everything around you, and love and beauty abound! This can be a time of sweet mercy, pleasure and peace, both personally and in relationships. It can also be a time when your ability to attract money, resources and rewards into your life are especially strong. You might consider indulging in a lottery ticket! Or maybe treating yourself to some creature comforts, like a massage or a double chocolate brownie or anything that gets the endorphins flowing! Unfortunately, this can also be a time when you are prone to over-indulge in pleasures or overestimate your resources. By all means enjoy this lovely feel-good energy, but it's also wise to keep your "addictions" in check. Don't entirely disregard your diet, your budget or your realism in relationships.
Finances, relationships, social contacts and/or pleasures may seem blocked or require extra effort right now. Manifesting your desires may require added hard work, but this struggle could also bring you closer to your goals. It may feel like there is a huge rock blocking your path that keeps you from fulfilling your heart's desire. It may be necessary to face some difficult aspect of your situation before it is possible to know how to proceed. This is ultimately a problem to be solved by confronting that which is unrealistic, unworkable, or just not in your best interest. This can also be a time when you arrive at a crossroads and must make some firm choices, or when circumstances might force you to change your direction. This transit can make your choice clear, although it might not be the one you hoped for.
This is a great time for disciplined action that can produce grounded, specific and stable results. If you have a project that needs to push ahead to the next step, you may find this is a good time to do that. If you want to make progress with your ambitions, goals and plans, this can be a good time to make plans or to take action. You are likely to feel "together," capable and strong, giving you a serious, calm and realistic confidence. It's usually easier to control or restrain your more volatile emotions, and present yourself as someone who is stable and on top of things. This transit can bring sustained physical energy that doesn't burn itself out quickly and can pace itself for lasting endurance. Remember that the effects of this transit typically last only about a week or two, so make the most of it!
Social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness mark this transit. It can be a great time to negotiate contracts or agreements because the communication can usually flow easily. Focus your awareness on achieving a mutual balance between you and the other person. A win-win solution is especially easy to achieve now – so much so, in fact, that it might be tempting to only say what you think the other person wants to hear (which may or may not be wise). This can also be a time of appreciating and expressing beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone you want to get closer to (in terms of romance, friendship, business, partnership, or even an adversary!), talking gently and listening receptively can be the key that unlocks the door. You may also get new creative ideas from your interactions with people or from observing them.
Your thoughts, ideas and communication need to become structured, rational and discreet, although this may not be easy to achieve. You may have to work extra hard to get your point across now, since others might be resistant to your ideas or may not be familiar with the basic concepts. It is a time to be clear, objective and down-to-earth in your communication and thinking, but equally important to do this without going overboard and becoming rigid, autocratic or over-cautious. If you find yourself stuck in a "glass half empty" frame of mind, you might be sagging under the weight of melancholy ...Or, it might mean you are coming to terms with some hard realities and decisions and feeling the gravity of the implications. But also check to be sure you're not taking yourself and your situation too seriously. By applying your best efforts, this can be a very productive time, especially with anything involving communication, writing, organising or logic.
This aspect can make you quite talkative and your mind flooded with ideas. Be careful you don't blurt out any secrets! Your stream of consciousness ideas can flow abundantly right now with optimism and visionary possibilities. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun playing with ideas, to stop and make them manifest. Basic perceptions and simple communication can provide food for thought that feeds your greater understanding and philosophical insight. Your point of view expands to identify opportunities, possibilities and the broader implications of what is happening around you. You might get a flash of vision, insight and inspiration. You could be called upon to form an opinion, consider a different viewpoint, expand your knowledge, or make a judgement call. Your conscious awareness is open to spiritual experiences right now.
Mercury moves into its own sign of Virgo, where it brings an awareness of health, healing, work and service. This is a good time to be analytical, methodical and focused on improvement. But be careful not to get so lost in details or perfectionism that you can't see the forest for the trees. This energy is well spent by finding ways to make your work and the pursuit of your goals more efficient and effective. Try organising your activities better and prioritizing them according to what works well and what needs improvement and how. This is especially true for any health issues that keep getting pushed to the back burner. Whatever your plans, this transit can help you organise an effective strategy to move you forward.
Fire meets Fire during this transit! Physical and emotional energy tends to run high and hot. This transit is great for doing work that requires a creative, dramatic, courageous or confident focus. This is also very playful energy that spurs you to throw off inhibition and express your most brilliant self. Sexual energy can be aroused, as well as anger or aggression. Assertiveness may emerge as more confident, edgy and dramatic than usual. If these emotions are based on defensiveness, lack of self-esteem or automatic reactions to unconscious assumptions, your effect could go overboard and come across as arrogant or sensationalist. On the other hand, if you tend to be a "shrinking violet" and find it hard to express yourself openly, this transit could provide some courage, inspiration and motivation to help you break free. To make the most of this transit, find ways to bring out your playful, creative, expressive side.
The best side of Jupiter in Virgo is its sense of virtue, effectiveness and reliability. Dedication to service and helping others can be very strong—perhaps even a little too strong sometimes! Jupiter in Virgo might find it difficult to appreciate that not everyone wants to adopt its brand of truth and exacting principles.
Jupiter is in Detriment in Virgo (opposite the sign it rules: Pisces). That means that Jupiter struggles to express its true nature. Jupiter likes to be free, expansive and adventurous. Virgo prefers to be methodical and precise, so Jupiter tends to feel a bit cramped and "micro-managed." As a result, you might feel compelled to nail down every speck of fine print to ensure it is perfect, and when others don't live up to such lofty perfectionism your reaction can slide more easily into judgment, criticism and blame. Jupiter's quest for morality and ethics can seem constricting, since it must hone itself to an uncomfortably fine point in order to meet Virgo's strict standards.
On the plus side, however, Virgo can also focus Jupiter's broad spectrum into a powerful laser beam, improving its effectiveness and usefulness. Jupiter's idealism and passion for justice combines well with Virgo's pledge to service. The optimism of Jupiter can also lighten up the heavy strictness of Virgo's dedication and determination. Virgo's focus on health can be applied by Jupiter to spiritual health and wellbeing, so that healing can take place in the places where you might be feeling some despair, discouragement or pessimism. It is also a good time to do a reality check to see how much you are living up to your principles or how much you are fudging things so that they're just "good enough" but missing the mark.
During this transit, be alert for ways you can put your ideals and values into practical application. At the same time, watch out for a tendency to become a workaholic for the sake of a higher purpose—be sure you put yourself and your own needs on your priority list, so that you don't burn yourself out.
Jupiter is in Virgo during these times:
Inspired thinking, mental fantasy, imaginative ideas and lucid dreams are likely during this transit. This can result in enormous creativity that sees inspiration and magical ideas in the world around you (be sure to write them down to develop later). Your communication may be unusually intuitive and inspiring now. However, it can also be a time when your perceptions about reality are a bit off and coloured by wishful thinking and irrational conclusions. Doing a reality check with a trusted friend or advisor is a good idea, especially if you are trying to make important decisions right now. But be sure to explore any non-rational or irrational thinking, since the veil between the conscious and unconscious mind is thin now and you can learn much by observing your thoughts and perceptions.
You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit "out of character." It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine...so much so, that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it. ;-)
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© 2015 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Artwork: Aquarius ~ Emergence © Carol McCloud, Galactic Alchemy; used with permission. Photo of wax figures by Miguel Mendez from Malahide, Ireland (Wax Museum PlusUploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.