Aquarius Full Moon
The Full Moon in Aquarius on July 31, 2015 triggers an intensification of mental activity and questioning of thought patterns conditioned by consensus culture, as Venus is retrograde and in its final hours in the sign of Virgo. Venus retrograde can pulls us inward to experience a reorientation of values and generation of new visions, while simultaneously creating discord in our relationships when our inner realm of feelings suddenly flows unrestrained through our communication with startling bluntness. During Venus retrograde we experience greater impetus to expand our vision for what is possible beyond previous conditioned limitations, and we also feel intrinsically motivated to act with rebellion from a place that throws off the binding of cultural expectations. While the transit of Venus retrograde is stirring things up dramatically, this week’s Full Moon shines light on new angles of perception and insight into our recent experiences from a more detached, Aquarian objectification that contrasts sharply with the more subjective, passionate qualities of Leo and Scorpio that have been so strongly highlighted recently.
The Aquarius Full Moon is ruled by Saturn traditionally, and Saturn is further dominating this Full Moon as it is stationing direct in Scorpio on August 1 or August 2, depending upon your time zone. Furthermore, Saturn is stationing direct as Jupiter in Leo creates a last quarter square with it on August 3, Venus combines with Jupiter in a square on August 4, and then Mercury also combines with Jupiter in a square to Saturn on August 6. This means that the illumination we receive with this Full Moon at the end of July will face a stern test the following week as the Moon wanes toward a last quarter square of it’s own with the Sun on August 6. While it is always important to listen to those around you in relationship, there is a strong sense that this Full Moon is more about realizing your own unique sense of your Self outside of the influences and opinions of those around you. Augmenting the capacity to sense this Self-awareness in the emotional body is a grand water trine formed by Saturn in Scoprio, Mars in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces at the time of the Full Moon.
Astrologer Robert Hand has taught that a “high Saturn,” meaning a Saturn that is aligned with one’s soul and spiritual path, helps one become who one is meant to become through Self-acceptance of being set apart and different from consensus, status quo culture. Saturn was seen by the ancients as having it’s joy in the 12th House because Saturn can embrace alienation and lead one like a hermit to see things completely differently than the dominant culture attempting to shape public opinion to match it’s own. We can receive insight at this Full Moon of what past thought patterns we need to now release in order to help us foster our developing new vision for our future. We will then need to hold fast to our sense of Self-realization, as we will likely be confronted with tests and challenges that will require us to solidly embody our new perspective instead of repressing it due to a need to fit in and find agreement with others. It is important to feel Self-acceptance at this time that it is perfectly fine that you may appear “weird” or “different” from others, like an alien from another planetary system.
Myth of Ganymede
Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own. In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens. Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius. Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body. In modern times, we can further link this meaning into feelings of disassociation that Aquarius can struggle with and which could also come for us at the time of this Full Moon.
Jason Holley is a good friend of mine and brilliant astrologer who presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), integrating the modern rulership of Aquarius by Uranus used in systems such as evolutionary astrology. His talk was entitled “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness,” and in it he explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result. Relevant to this Full Moon in Aquarius with the Sun in Leo, Jason described the sign of the Lion in association with concepts such as heart, magnetism, coherence, center, creation, appearance, unity, and now; in contrast, he described the sign of the Water Bearer in association with concepts such as brain, electricity, interruption, decentering, deconstruction, disappearance, multiplicity, and the past and future. He then showed how a growth cycle of rupture and repair can come out of the meaning of the polarity between Aquarius and Leo.
To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Uranus that activates the more nonlinear, invisible field of multiplicity and leads to two potential paths: (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into Self, expanding our Self-concept while we continue to embody our Self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our Self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our Self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience disembodiment, disassociation, depersonalization, abstraction, over intellectualization, and difficulty experiencing full connection with others. Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance, regression, and escape. However, if we are instead able to repair this rupture, Holley explained that we are able to achieve an experience of greater wholeness, an activation of transcendent functions, and an eagerness to re-enter into the world around us with an openness to possibilities that leads us to have new experiences.
In connection with these ideas, it is further important to realize the significance of Uranus in Aries recently stationing retrograde at the same time that Venus stationed retrograde, and that Uranus is in range of a conjunction with Eris in Aries, a trine with Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and a squares with Mars in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn. Jason Holley further explained in his talk that being consumed by Ganymedes, not unlike the concept of the puer aeturnus, can lead one to prefer idealized worlds in favor of the actual world one is inhabiting, becoming lost in endless potentials and rejecting anything that takes form, also only sustaining contact with others dependent upon them having the same shared reality system. The current transit of Venus retrograde can hopefully be seized to help with integration if we notice we are becoming too split off from reality like Ganymedes. Instead of splitting off fragmented parts of yourself from the world around you, you can use the transformational energy of the Venus retrograde to work on integrating and embodying the parts of you that seem vastly different from the consensus around you, with full Self-acceptance of parts of your consciousness that seem to be expanding beyond the norms of the consensus. The Venus retrograde transit can then become an appropriate healing space to work on re-entering society and the world with your full Self in order have new experiences of greater wholeness.
Aquarius I Decan
The Aquarius I decan holding this week’s Full Moon is ruled by Venus, further linking it strongly into the Venus retrograde transit and the corresponding shifting of tastes and values on individual and collective levels away from previous societal norms. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that Aquarius I “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” and that a lot of images in older texts “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside” (p. 226). In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals. Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the 5 of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self. Coppock concluded:
In this face we gather what we can from outside the norm. The frontier of any reality system is hard- there is a reason it extends no further. Though exile from the core always comes with hardship, there are material, intellectual and spiritual riches on the frontier, but to seek them requires a break with the known. As a spiritual tool, this decan points towards what one gains from stepping outside of the self. Herein is the sweetness and peace which exists above the muddy tumult of life- the satellite’s view of the world is always beautiful, no matter how hellish the situation below. (p.228)
As we take in the insights we receive from this Aquarius Full Moon into a tumultuous week ahead that features Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio and then being in a last quarter square to Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury in Leo, keep in mind that the Venus retrograde transit holds the potential to take you into a space of greater authenticity that is more in tune with your inner truth than the version of truth propagated in surrounding culture. Saturn stationed direct in a last quarter square with Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury is going to facilitate a process of clearing out all of the old thought forms that are no longer serving you with great finality through the swing of Saturn’s scythe.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.