Aquarius New Moon
The New Moon in Aquarius on February 8, 2016 ushers in the Year of the Fire Monkey in Chinese culture, and similarly holds an array of aspects facilitating bursting forth with new endeavors. Mercury remains in its retrograde shadow zone, yet has separated from triggering the Pluto and Uranus square. Venus is close behind Mercury in Capricorn, and also separating from its conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding this New Moon. While January and the first week of February this year contained heavy, chthonic, cathartic astrological aspects, a New Moon in Aquarius brings a moment to detach from feelings in order to objectify and envision pioneering intentions. Aquarius is the sign of the purifying idealist who can bridge diverse worlds, crossing intellectual boundaries such as time and space, finding the future through exploration of the old. Aquarius is a fixed sign of yang energy that can help foster the setting and achievement of goals that will bring stability. However, since this particular Aquarius New Moon is in square to Mars in Scorpio, we will also need to beware of a shadow side of self-righteousness.
This New Moon is in the home of Saturn, and the transiting Sagittarius Saturn is in sextile to this Aquarius New Moon. In addition, the modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is also in sextile to the New Moon as well as in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius. These aspects highlight the innovative nature of Aquarius that can not only brainstorm progressive ideas and solutions, but also create the necessary structure to bring inventive concepts into material manifestation. In the past month collectively we have passed through intense astrological transits that brought up core issues, fears, and desires. In the dark of this Aquarius New Moon we can begin to separate from past compulsions and enter a more objective mental space. Here in the cool, airy mentality of Aquarius we will not be completely free of the feelings we have been overly fixated upon, but the influence of these gripping, irresistible desires can be less restrictive on our vision going forward.
Mars holds significant influence over this New Moon as it is in a superior square to the lunation as well as fully fulfilled in its own domicile of Scorpio. The New Moon arrives following a crashing wave of Mars, as the Sun will have formed a square with Mars a day before the New Moon, and the Moon itself will square Mars about an hour before the exact timing of the lunation. This can bring a more righteous, fervent quality to the intentions and goals we are envisioning, and also signifies that incredible effort and determination will be needed in achieving them. While anger over what appears to be in the way of goals could come up, the activated Mars embedded in this New Moon contains the impetus necessary to launch bold ventures. As we simultaneously enter the Year of the Fire Monkey, this New Moon evokes the feeling of fireworks traditionally associated with the dawning of a New Year.
In the next seven months Mars will become one of the most significant planets in transit, as it will be retrograde from April 17 through June 28. About a week after the New Moon, Mars will enter the shadow zone of its upcoming retrograde, and so this New Moon in square to Mars opens a window to the torrential storm of Mars brewing outside. As the upcoming Mars retrograde will begin with Mars conjoining the red star Antares, found in the heart of the Scorpion constellation, we will experience another Royal Star retrograde activation such as we did last July when Venus stationed retrograde conjoining Regulus. Mars retrograde periods tend to bring pivotal twists of fate, and so beginning with this New Moon it will be worthwhile to begin intuiting what could be coming in tandem with the approaching retrograde of Mars.
Mars has been conjoining Juno over the past couple weeks, and though still in range of a conjunction at this New Moon, Mars has now separated from Juno. At the same time Mars and Juno are both in sextile to Venus and Pluto in Capricorn. Altogether, these aspects suggest that Mars and Venus are stirring up the core relationship desires that we will be needing to focus on and process over the next seven months.
Venus in Capricorn like the New Moon is in a sign of Saturn, though in Capricorn more focused upon initiating from an inner sense of value. The Aquarius New Moon arrives at a harmonious time in the transiting cycle of Venus and Mars, as Venus will have entered into a Crescent, waxing sextile with Mars. In 2015 we experienced three conjunctions between Venus and Mars, meaning that it took most of the year in order to fully initiate their new cycle. Now in a Crescent sextile, Venus in Capricorn can facilitate the structuring of the deep Scorpio Mars desires in order to help lay down solid roots to bolster new growth and resist the pull of past patterns no longer serving our developing purpose. There is tremendous potency between transiting Venus and Mars at this New Moon, as Venus is carrying the tumultuous energy from its conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus into the formation of its sextile with Mars.
Venus is also in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Capricorn, following the blazed trail formed by Mercury’s back and forth movement in retrograde. In the predawn sky we can now glimpse both Mercury and Venus as brilliant Morning Stars, in addition to the morning appearance of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Mercury and Venus will remain within five degrees of one another over the next couple of weeks as the Moon waxes Full in Virgo on February 22. Venus following in the footsteps of Mercury means that much of what was stirred up by the Mercury retrograde in January will be revisited within our emotional body and Venusian passions, ultimately helping to clarify the associated issues.
While most of the pivotal aspects formed by this New Moon are “after effects,” meaning aspects that perfected before the time of the New Moon, Venus in Capricorn is applying toward a trine with Jupiter in Virgo. This means that the trine between Venus and Jupiter is intensifying at the New Moon, whereas most of the other major aspects discussed here will have already occurred. For example, Mercury in Capricorn is also in range of a trine with Jupiter, only separating. Mercury and Venus coming into range of a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, following their conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus, means that out of the recent cathartic transits there is now an opportunity to seize and integrate the myriad material dredged up into a regenerated vision. This New Moon supports being resolute in pursuit of new opportunities and growth leading into the unknown future, rather than relying upon the old and familiar ways of being.
The conjunction of Jupiter with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo is also becoming tighter in opposition to the conjunction of Chiron with the South Node in Pisces, and the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron will continue to build with intensity in the coming lunar cycle. While Jupiter conjoining the North Node clearly signifies opportunities to develop new belief systems and philosophies to live from, the opposition with Chiron implies we will be arriving at our new vision through a process of old wounds re-emerging not to hold us back, but rather to provide circumstances for us to have breakthrough experiences that liberate us from past restrictive beliefs.
A powerful aspect of the Aquarius New Moon supporting this process is Ceres in Pisces applying to a conjunction with Neptune. The day after the New Moon, the Moon will pass over both Ceres and Neptune, and every day as the Moon waxes Full in the coming cycle Ceres will get closer to Neptune. At the coming Full Moon in Virgo on February 22, Ceres will have culminated in her conjunction with Neptune. Ceres is in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and among other things signifies how we nourish and manage our willful, sometimes angry, desires of Mars into the Jupiter vision of life we live from. Neptune will dissolve whatever we have been carrying in our emotional and physical bodies that needs to be released as Ceres approaches Neptune. Our imagination will be activated, and Ceres can use imaginal forces most effectively when we are willing to enter into our full range of feelings without taking Neptune escape routes such as addictions and delusions. The book The Eyes of the Skin contains a lucid description of the interplay between mind and body:
In The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura gives a subtle description of the multi-sensory imagery evoked by the simple situation of the tea ceremony: ‘Quiet reigns with nothing to break the silence save the note of the boiling water in the iron kettle. The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron are so arranged in the bottom as to produce a peculiar melody in which one may hear the echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds, of a distant sea breaking among the rocks, a rainstorm sweeping through a bamboo forest, or of the soughing of pines on some faraway hill.’ In Oksakura’s description the present and the absent, the near and the distant, the sensed and the imagined fuse together. The body is not a mere physical entity; it is enriched by both memory and dream, past and future. Edward S Casey even argues that our capacity of memory would be impossible without a body memory. The world is reflected in the body, and the body is projected onto the world. We remember through our bodies as much as through our nervous system and brain.
— Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, p. 45
Ceres is often interpreted in astrology through her mythic associations, an apt association as the planetary body was discovered in a lab near the site of Persephone’s abduction. The Ceres of myth holds symbols we can associate with the astrology of Ceres: grains (the stabilizing gift of agriculture), opium poppies (solace from grief), and snakes (regeneration). I saw Demetra George lecture about the meaning of Ceres in astrology through connection with her myth, and one of the most powerful moments to me was when Demetra described the ability of Ceres to heal herself and regenerate within the waters of the Ladon river. The capacity of Ceres to heal herself, purifying her anger and rage in the ceaseless currents of water, correlates with the potential Self-nourishment which is available at this New Moon.
Aquarius II Decan
The New Moon falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the 6 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury. The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.
The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the 6 of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and independence:
Once again we see Mercury as ruler of this decan, for the swift planet’s sacred space is every road but no place. Mercury is lord of dualities and the space between them. Unlike the other decans which emphasize dualities, this one, being the middle decan of a fixed sign, is usually fixed, and stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth…
This face is one of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles. There is thus a certain royalty to this decan, for its residents connect worlds without becoming beholden to them. There is great benefit to plying these waters between, for they allow the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown. The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating.
–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 233 -234
Mercury, the ruler of the second decan of Aquarius is separating from a trine with Jupiter, traveling a few degrees ahead of Venus, and also separating from its square to Uranus and conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Aquarius New Moon. The recent exact trine in which Mercury in Capricorn received Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo serves as a fitting symbol for the ability of this face to bridge divides, as Mercury entered the trine with Jupiter after triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus, and being in sextile with Mars in Scorpio. As a result this Aquarius New Moon supports striking out from a place of empowerment and principle, capable of independently acting when necessary to weave together divisions. This is the final New Moon before we enter the eclipse season of March, and so a time to come to clarity and prepare for the unknown to come.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. John Wiley & Sons.