Aquarius New Moon
The Aquarius New Moon on January 31 calls for deep contemplation during a turning of the tides and a primal change in seasons. The lunation will occur during the cross-quarter holidays in between the winter solstice and spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, in between the summer solstice and fall equinox in the southern hemisphere. Saturn in Aquarius is receiving the Aquarius New Moon within its airy domicile, as both luminaries will be applying closely toward a union with the star of Kronos. Saturn was named in connection with Kronos, called the “sinuous-minded” by Hesiod, and similarly throughout the astrological tradition the trials and tests brought by Saturn have been balanced by the thoughtfulness of Saturn, such as being given “the power of thought” in the 12th Century by Abraham Ibn Ezra and named “profound in Imagination” in the 17th Century by William Lily. The depth of contemplation experienced through Saturn is at full strength within Aquarius, as it is an airy, intellectual, and humanitarian zodiacal sign that can foster analysis of interpersonal dynamics as well as vast societal concerns impacting the wider world. Within the fertile darkness of the lunation, we may access the sinuous mindfulness of the Water Bearer who gathers insight from the flowing river of thoughts that bend and turn over again and again through the currents of life.
Saturn is known for constructing boundaries that can protect yet also constrain through becoming too hardened and set against change. Yet the deep contemplation of Saturn also allows for a testing of the limits of known boundaries that can bring about a reconstruction and renovation of the boundaries and structures we implement. Since the beginning of 2021 there has been a radical testing of personal and societal boundaries and structures brought about by the volatilizing square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus. The Aquarius New Moon is opportunely positioned to bring about reflection of the ways in which personal and societal dynamics have radically changed in the past year, as the Sun and Moon are separating from a square aspect with Uranus and applying toward a conjunction with Saturn.
As Saturn has long been viewed as the threshold guardian between the visible planets and the fixed stars, between time and timelessness, between the known and unknown, the profound influence of Saturn in Aquarius during the past year has stressed the importance of examining the ways in which our perception can become clouded, obscured by the mists of illusions about reality. In Aquarius, Saturn’s role of defining boundaries is applied to all matters of thought, highlighting the importance of how we utilize our perception to cultivate critical thinking skills in reception of information through external sources and internal rumination.
Crucially, the Aquarius New Moon is timed with the end of a Saturn cycle and the reseeding of a new Saturn cycle for the year to come. Saturn will be reanimated by the Sun on February 4 at 15°56’ Aquarius, bringing opportunities to more deeply examine the structures and boundaries of our life in order to make the changes needed to adapt to the changes taking place on personal and societal levels. This also means that Saturn is invisible in the underworld during the lunation, and will not emerge into visibility as a Morning Star until the week of February 20; as a result, while Saturn continues to operate in the darkness of its cycle in the weeks ahead we will need to take the time and construct the boundaried containers necessary to face the full reality of our circumstances and discern what requires shifting and restructuring. With Saturn passing through a phase of death and rebirth, we can similarly shed what needs emptied and released from the past cycle as we hone in on what can serve as the solid stone foundation to build upon in the year ahead.
As we reflect and gestate the new meaning and messages that will take shape through Saturn in the year ahead, the Aquarius New Moon is further timed with the recent stationing direct of both Uranus and Venus, as well as the stationing direct of Mercury a few days after the lunation. Saturn needs to take time to probe the complex depth of reality, time to make the necessary adjustments and come to terms with the inner insights that can help with building the forms that will endure as well as contain the authentic qualities we desire to embody and express. With so many planets stationing as Saturn is simultaneously regenerated, we may slow down and ground into deeper presence with whatever challenges and difficulties we have been contending with. We can engage with the side of Saturn open to the mystery of the unknown and willing to reflect upon the fullness of the moment, rather than being overly defensive, rigid, and righteously insisting on control or trying to force what we want to have happen.
The astrological atmosphere will be saturated with the archetypal presence of Venus and Mercury during the Aquarius New Moon, as both planets are in the process of stationing direct following extended retrograde phases. While Mercury will station direct on February 3 at 24°23’ Capricorn a few days after the lunation, Venus is only barely beginning to shift forward after having stationed direct on January 29 at 11°05’ Capricorn a couple days before the Aquarius New Moon. Mercury will now be joining Venus as a visible Morning Star before the sunrise, making their impact within our lives intensified as we begin to recover from their retrograde phases that began on December 19, 2021 for Venus and on January 14 for Mercury. As Venus and Mercury will be continuing to occupy their stationing degrees for an extended period, it will be beneficial to take the time needed for reflecting upon the experiences that aligned with their retrograde phases in order to distill the lessons and insights that will inform the new directions that will emerge in the coming weeks. While old patterns can be released, new patterns will be taking shape aligned with the desires emerging in awareness.
Pivotally, while the Aquarius New Moon is activating Uranus through a catalyzing aspect, there will also be a flowing trine aspect in place between Uranus with not only Venus in Capricorn, but also Mars and Vesta in Capricorn. Furthermore, Mars in Capricorn is also applying closely to an invigorating sextile aspect with Jupiter in Pisces it will complete on February 4. During the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Mars in Capricorn will be getting closer and closer to Venus until eventually forming a conjunction with Venus on February 16, the same day as the upcoming Full Moon in Leo. The close proximity between Mars and Venus can enflame passions and conflicts in some cases, yet can also supply the heat needed to activate desires and create vital movement on goals and projects. With Mars joining Venus and Mercury in the sky each day before dawn, we can claim a more empowered presence in changing our lives in accordance with the inner shifts that has occurred during the recent period of both Mercury and Venus being retrograde.
It’s further significant that Vesta in Capricorn is applying toward a conjunction with Venus during the Aquarius New Moon, and in the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle will be transiting in close alignment with Venus and Mars in Capricorn. In the Astronomica, a first century astrological text, Manilius connected Vesta as being the deity associated with Capricorn, writing that “Vesta tends your fires, Capricorn: and from her you derive your skills and callings. For whatever needs fire to function and demands a renewal of flame for its work must be counted as of your domain . . . That hot furnaces melt iron and bronze, and ovens give to the wheat its final form, will come as gifts from you.” The presence of Vesta with Venus and Mars can help in focalizing our attention on what we want to create with our life and what we need in relationship with others, strengthening our ability to take the space needed to make thing happened. Just like the sign of Aquarius holding the union between Saturn and the lunation can foster independence and acting from a place of inner reliance rather than external dependence, so will Vesta be able to bring the same quality of influence to the union of Venus and Mars.
Moreover, at the same time that Mars, Venus, and Vesta will be traveling together through Capricorn, Mercury will be spending and extended period of time in close proximity with Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto has now moved past the point it previously stationed retrograde on 27 April 2021, and so is journeying deeper into the terrain of Capricorn while stirring up deeper layers of conscious and unconscious content. Mercury will remain close with Pluto until leaving the sign of Capricorn on February 14, forming its third conjunction with Pluto on February 11 at 27°17’ Capricorn. The material that Mercury is connecting with through Pluto not only connects with its previous two conjunctions with Pluto on January 28 while retrograde and on December 30 while direct, but also with the fathomless depths of relational patterns and desires that Venus stirred up by being in close proximity with Pluto for the entire month of December 2021. As Mercury stations direct in the days following the Aquarius New Moon, pay attention to the signs and synchronicities emerging in your daily travels as well as nocturnal dreams.
The material brought up by Mercury with Pluto can feel painful and requires tender care and compassion. Yet rather than falling back into past patterns that need to be changed or shed,, there will be opportunities for changing relational and perceptual patterns to be in greater alignment with hour our internal sense of values and desires are beginning to emerge, revitalized by the bright presence of Venus along with Mercury and Mars at dawn.
Aquarius 2 Decan
The New Moon in Aquarius is in the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The six swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounded focus. Yet the swords are also 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. The ferryman is in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury, which is fitting since Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. 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 also a need to surrender to being along for the ride. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Six of Swords excels at “problem solving,” being “excellent for symbol manipulation and masterful at metaphor . . . good for writing your way out of a paper bag and thinking outside of the box.”
As the ferryman in the Six of Swords is creating a network in between shores, linking the known with the unknown, he is an apt symbol for Mercury being the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. 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,” as well as that the fixed nature of this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also establishing “independence between multiple worlds.” Coppock declared it to be a decan “of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles” so that one may “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them.” Like the ferryman and Hermes, those who occupy this face mediate a “steady commerce between heaven and earth” according to Coppock, allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown” as well as “the ideal and the practical.”
Furthermore, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Phobos to the second decan of Aquarius, the divine son of Ares and Aphrodite who is associated with the fear evoked in battle and war. Austin Coppock noted that as Phobos is connected with the etymology of “phobia,” its presence in this face also reveals “the fear that people have of what lies outside their small worlds.” It also brings to mind the double edged sword of fear, in that it can lead to poor choices rooted in paranoia as well as the kind of inspired action that erupts when we have our backs against the wall and the odds stacked against us.
As the Sun in the second decan of Aquarius unites with the Moon on January 31 followed by uniting with Saturn on February 4, we will be experiencing the cross-quarter holidays of Brigid and Candlemas. In the northern hemisphere, it’s the midpoint of Winter and the welcoming of increasing light when the goddess Brigid would be welcomed alongside her associations of poetry, protection, medicine, wisdom, crafts and blacksmithing. As Mercury stations direct and the New Moon conjoins Saturn, may the cunning arts of Brigid and the cunning presence of Mercury help guide us in using the scythe of Saturn to clear what needs releasing while preparing the ground for the harvest we desire to cultivate in the year ahead.
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Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Hesiod. (2004). Theogony, Works and Days, Shield. Second edition. Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis. The John Hopkins University Press.
Ibn-Ezra, Avraham. (1998). The Beginning of Wisdom. Translated by Meira Epstein. ARHAT.
Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics