Aquarius Full Moon

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William Blake from The Song of Los

Aquarius Full Moon

“To be real about the sacred is to see not just what inside us is not sacred- but what it is inside us that’s against the sacred. What is it in our civilization that’s systematically, year after year and minute after minute, mile after mile and inch by inch, gutting everything sacred it touches: devouring it inside ourselves at the same time as irresistibly, inevitably, eating it up outside us in the beauty of landscape and nature?”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

The Full Moon in Aquarius on August 15 illuminates explorations of inner darkness and contemplation regarding the path to follow into the great unknown ahead. The astrology of the past month has been missing the element of air (besides the Moon briefly traveling through each air sign) and so the fullness of the Moon’s light in the clarifying, objectifying, and visionary sign of the Water Bearer brings a needed dosage of the synthesizing and integrative capacities of the air element. Let the light of the Aquarius Full Moon nourish the seeds of rebirth in creativity and underlying values you have been tending during the past couple of months of liminal, mysterious transition. The fixed, persevering quality of Aquarius can help in discovering the inner as well as external resources needed to endure a journey into new terrain, facilitating inner resolve to overcome whatever barriers we have previously felt were preventing us from following a more authentic calling.

The Aquarius Full Moon serves as a gateway out of the complex and challenging astrological transits of the past couple of months, which included two eclipses connected with Saturn as well as a Mercury retrograde in Leo and Cancer period that deeply stirred up material dislodged by the eclipses. Not only are we now clear of eclipse season, but the Full Moon also brings the final resolution to the Mercury retrograde period that began in the beginning of July when Mercury stationed retrograde while conjoining Mars and forming a square to Uranus. As the Full Moon ripens, Mercury will be moving past the degree at which it stationed in July while also reforming its square aspect with Uranus. As a result, Mercury will be inciting revelations which will bring sudden and startling clarity to whatever questions have remained murky and mired in the mystery of the recent eclipse season.

Moreover, the Full Moon is simultaneously illuminating the reseeding of Venus by the Leo Sun, putting us in touch with a deep process of regenerating the values that source our desires. While we may feel disgusted, angry, or upset over immorality and tragedy in current events occurring throughout external society, we have the opportunity to turn within to discover fertile richness to cultivate. The Full Moon in Aquarius brings the gift of utilizing Aquarian processes of patient, contemplative detachment to step back from emotional overwhelm in order to penetrate into the nature of current circumstances and discern how to catalyze necessary growth. While we may feel like rushing ahead with plans, the fact that the lunation is ruled by Saturn slowly moving retrograde alongside the South Node of the Moon points to the fact that we are in the middle of a drawn out metamorphosis that requires further rumination regarding longterm plans. The waning half of the current lunar cycle will be bringing important information we will need to consider and integrate.

The Aquarius Full Moon is conjoining the fixed star Deneb Algedi, the great star which marks the tail of the Sea Goat constellation in the living sky above. Old magical texts on the fixed stars declared that the image of Deneb Algedi brings prosperity and increases wealth, as well as enhancing one’s home and keeping it secure. As the Aquarius Moon waxes full near the star of the Sea Goat’s tail in the sky, we can turn awareness into the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying our reality where the roots of form take shape. Rather than becoming overly focused upon external validation for achievement, see what visions from subconscious senses are ready to manifest without regard for external standards of judgment. It may not be clear how to bring new ideas into reality yet, but by setting intention to nurture and foster their manifestation we can begin the process of patiently discovering the best course of development for them.

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Odilon Redon (1899) A Woman Clothed with the Sun

The Aquarius Full Moon on August 15 is forming an opposition with the superior conjunction of Venus that occurred on August 14 at 22 degrees of Leo. Venus at this point in its cycle is invisible and in an underworld phase that can be likened to the descent of Inanna into the Great Below to be stripped of her worldly possessions and experience death followed by a metamorphosis of understanding. At the time of the Full Moon, Venus has just emerged from being revivified by the creative potency of the Leo Sun and is ready to begin her long journey back from the underworld which will occur at the end of September when Venus arises once again as an Evening Star. As a result, the Full Moon will bring light to however we are experiencing a transformation in values and aesthetics, the way we relate with others and the way we express our desires.

Venus in its current solar phase is as far away from the earth as it gets within its cycle as well as moving at its fastest speed, symbolizing increased capacity to let go of old personal fixations. As the Full Moon forms, Venus has been set ablaze by the radiant Leo Sun like a summer bonfire we can release old relational patterns into. As Venus begins to recover from being burned up by the Sun, we can likewise shed old issues that have been weighing us down or restraining our ability to seek or receive pleasure. In the next month, we can realign our external expression with our inner authenticity, deepening inner awareness of the fertile potential we possess to creatively actualize in the world around us.  Ultimately, Venus will be guiding us to manifest whatever we desire to create from within.

The superior conjunction of Venus on August 14 was the first solar reseeding for Venus since 26 October 2018 when Venus was retrograde in the deep waters of Scorpio. It may be time to bury and put to rest some desires and issues that arose in the past ten months, while fertilizing those we wish to cultivate going forward. As Venus forms its superior conjunction in the same sign every eight years as part of its synodic cycle, forming a five pointed star pattern, it may be helpful to consider the strange resonances that can be found between now and past superior conjunctions for Venus in Leo. There were previously superior conjunctions of Venus in Leo in August 2011, August 2003, and August 1995.

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William Blake from The Song of Los

The Aquarius Full Moon is also applying to an opposition with Mars in Leo, as Mars is about six degrees ahead of the union of Venus with the Sun as the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. In contrast to Venus already having been revived by the Leo Sun, Mars is at the end of its cycle and experiencing the final release and purification from its cycle with the Sun which began at 4º12′ Leo on 25 July 2017. Similar to Venus, Mars is also in its underworld phase and giving us the opportunity to melt down old martial patterns and reforge our relationship with Mars to be more resonant with our developing desires and presence. The opposition from the Aquarius Full Moon can help cool down any excessive heat or emotional overwhelm in order to find creative solutions or necessary redirection of energy. Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Virgo.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus will chase after Mars and form a conjunction with the fiery red planet on August 24 at five degrees of Virgo, beginning a new cycle between the planets that signify our most intimate desires. As Venus and Mars are at the very end of their cycle at the time of the Full Moon, their cycle serves as yet another symbol of the Full Moon in Aquarius initiating us into a process of rediscovering what we want in our relationships as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. With Venus and Mars coming together in the secrecy of darkness during their underworld phases, we will be called to engage in embodiment rather than intellectual analysis of the changes taking shape through their union. Moreover, since the coming conjunction of Mars and Venus in Virgo will also be applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus, getting in touch with bodily senses can help uncover desires untethered to societal conditioning. The close proximity of Venus and Mars to the Sun will bring a purgative, cathartic intensity to their union that will bring awareness to any underlying motivations we have been acting from that are no longer in our best interest.

William Blake Songs of Experience

William Blake from Songs of Experience

A few days before the Aquarius Full Moon on August 11, Mercury entered Leo while Jupiter stationed direct in Sagittarius and Uranus stationed retrograde in Taurus. During the Aquarius Full Moon, Mercury in Leo will be applying closely to a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that it will complete the following day on August 16.  When Mercury stationed retrograde on July 7 in Leo, it was within a few degrees of an exact square with Uranus. As a result, as Mercury finally completes its square with Uranus during the Aquarius Full Moon we may receive sudden revelations that change our perspective regarding stories that have been developing since the beginning of July. We may receives flashes of intuition, instant knowing, and rapid insights that bring far ranging vision to mind.

After Mercury completes its square aspect with Uranus, it will begin applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius that it will complete on August 21 while the waning Moon in Taurus is applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. During the week following the Full Moon, Mercury will be glimmering in pre-dawn skies, heralding the rising Sun while it transmits the uplifting and inspiring shift of Jupiter in Sagittarius moving forward in direct motion again. Mercury in Leo is in position to activate goals and animate creative impulses into manifested results. Thus, the Full Moon occurring in the intellectual and community-oriented sign of Aquarius can help with discerning how to find a resonant role in the greater collective as well as conceiving how to develop burgeoning ideas into structures and vehicle through which we will be able to fulfill the needs and interests of others.

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7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Full Moon will rise in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius, using the symbol of a knot to explore the karmic binds that keep us stuck in the known and familiar rather than liberating ourselves to enter the unknown. Coppock described the stealthy figure in the image of the Seven of Swords card as having already undergone a process of not only deciding to leave a frustrating situation but also having already contemplated what is worth saving. There is a risk of exile and the uncertainty of no longer having the stability of the structures being left behind, but the figure has determinedly chosen the unknown over the known.

The Moon is the ruler of the third face of Aquarius, giving the Full Moon greater strength than it would otherwise have in Aquarius. As the Sun is securely comfortable and powerful in its fiery home of Leo, as it is simultaneously bathing Venus and Mars in its blazing radiance, the Moon in its own face of Aquarius can help us gather strength and inner resolve to experiment and take creative risks. By listening to the Aquarian guidance of doing things differently and looking at things with a different perspective, we will more naturally find the resources we need to support the new direction taking shape in our mind. The Full Moon in Aquarius can help us cultivate a healthy dose of detachment from the all-consuming subjectivity of the abundant astrological fire, just the space necessary to gain the widening of perception needed to discover solutions and forge supportive connections with others.

Since both Venus and Mars are in underworld phases during the Full Moon, it is interesting that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Osiris, lord of the dead and the otherworld, to the third face of Aquarius. The presence of Osiris with the Aquarius Full Moon brings themes of fertility and regeneration to the forefront. As both Venus and Mars are undergoing processes of death and rebirth, Osiris calls us to find resources and enrichment within the depths of our unconscious so that we will be able to nurture our own metamorphosis rather than needing to seek the kind of external validation that could condition the change underway. Osiris possesses a sacred quality of surrender to the process of regeneration, surrendering to all of the suffering that must be endured in order to fully nurture and realize our creative potential. As the Aquarius Moon glows bright in the darkness of night, may its luminosity remind you of the inner light you possess in your heart that remains ever ready to guide you forward.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Warnock, Chris. (2019). Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

Aquarius Full Moon

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The Moon in the house of Saturn (the water carrier, or Aquarius) from Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (The Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi

Full Moon in Aquarius

The Full Moon on 18 August 2016 is close to being a visible eclipse, and if you are a reader of astrological literature you have probably seen this lunation noted as an eclipse.  Eclipses cannot be more than eighteen degrees away from the transiting lunar nodes, and so the Full Moon technically fits into this parameter as it is seventeen degrees away from the lunar nodes. However, in actuality the shadow of the Earth will not cover the Moon and so it will not be a visible eclipse anywhere in the world. Nonetheless, this still remains a loaded Full Moon within many intense astrological aspects.  The Sun at home in the burning immediacy of Leo is off-set by the airy objectification of Aquarius, a sign that can set itself apart and gain reflective insight into the underlying dynamics of any process.  The Full Moon in Aquarius illuminates a longview backwards into the fateful events of the past year, bearing in the waters of its Aquarian vessel awareness of the nutritive elements to nourish and cultivate in the forthcoming cycle.

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Full Moon less than a week after stationing direct, while in balsamic conjunction with Mars. This has been a long, long, long balsamic phase between Mars and Saturn since the Mars retrograde period of past months extended its length beyond normal timing.  Similar to the dark phase of the Moon, the balsamic phase of cycles between planets is a time of re-visioning in which elements of our past arise to be released or re-seeded within an atmosphere that can feel disorienting and confusing.  In the week following the Full Moon the cycle will complete with an exact conjunction between Mars and Saturn, and so the Full Moon enlightens its finale with foundational understanding into what has transpired and what needs to be now taken responsibility for going forward. This is the close of the cycle between Mars and Saturn that began August 25, 2014 at eighteen degrees of Scorpio (the cycle previous to this began August 15, 2012 at twenty-five degrees of Libra), and is amplified by it also being conjunct the royal star Antares and the aforementioned Mars retrograde that occurred in the build up.

When Mars and Saturn close their cycle, feelings of needing to finish old unfinished projects can arise along with the impulse to initiate action in an area of life that has been neglected or put off for one reason or another.  There can also be feelings of overwhelm over the responsibilities and work involved in soulful desires that vivify expansive vision yet have such an unknown quality that they do not yet seem practical or possible to manifest.  It is important to now separate fears of futility from the relationships and goals that are well worth committing to with sustained effort in the coming cycle.  What we start now in the disintegration of the previous cycle between Mars and Saturn will not produce our ideal outcome immediately and will require patient cultivation in coming months, but by gaining clarity of what we want we can begin to rearrange our life in support.  There is tremendous shifting coming in a month of September filled with eclipses and Mercury retrograde, and so many unknown factors will soon come into play with influences impossible to clearly know at this time.

James Hillman’s classic essay “On Senex Consciousness” explores the archetype of Saturn as ruling the fertile decay that comes at the end of a cycle, among numerous other significations:

Putrefaction belongs to Saturn as god of agriculture, dung and dying. Putrefaction in alchemy was natural disintegration necessary for change. Such putrefaction is ferment, decomposition into elements through the release of “sulphuric” aggressive fumes which assault and insult one’s sensibilities.  Its purpose is a re-ordering of “matters” . . . Senex growth is inward and downward, or backward; its force can come through shrinkage, his power manifest in the last stage of processes, in their decay. He rules over the spoiled, the filth and the refuse of society not only owing to sordid anality and repression, but because senex consciousness finds its awareness in the underside of the complex and as it decays.  So accustomed are we to growth and to what T.S. Eliot calls “superficial notions of evolution /Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past” (“The Dry Salvages”) and to the Positive Great Mother doctrines of milky-way philosophy, onward and upward with Teilhard de Chardin, that we miss Lua, the spoiler, the consciousness that is possible through the natural process of decomposition.  “Decay is inherent in all composite things,” says the last dictum of the Buddha, so what we work at is not our growth, but the modes of our rot.”

–James Hillman, from his essay On Senex Consciousness

Adding to the potency, Mars and Saturn are coming into conjunction in range of a square to Neptune and the transiting lunar nodes.  The square between Saturn and Neptune has been pitting the division lines of Saturn against the amorphous influences of Neptune that dissolve Saturn’s crystallizations to reveal awareness and meaning that the walls of Saturn had been attempting to block.  In combination with Mars now joining Saturn in square to the transiting lunar nodes, attempts to seal off one’s hermetic vessel will be put to the test over what needs to be let in versus what can continue to be blocked with a boundary.  With Neptune conjoining the transiting south node of the Moon, there are certainly illusions and toxic collective influences we do not want to contaminate the union of Mars and Saturn with.  Yet the imaginal field of Neptune in tandem with the purifying aspect of the transiting South Node of the Moon means erecting firm boundaries could be keeping out nourishing elements that can replenish and facilitate important re-visioning.  There is a balance to strike between creating healthy boundaries and erecting walls that lead ultimately to isolation.  The Aquarius Full Moon points toward listening to one’s inner self and heart rather than subscribing to external doctrines dictating behavior.

William Blake from Henry IV

William Blake (1809) illustration from Shakespeare’s Henry IV: “Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury /  And vaulted with such was into his seat / As if an angel dropped down from the clouds / To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus / And witch the world with noble horsemanship.”

The rebellious, shocking, and liberating Uranus is activated at the Full Moon, being in sextile to the Aquarius Moon and in trine to the Leo Sun.   The added intensity of Uranus to the hard aspects present between Mars, Saturn, and Neptune means that collective events could spin out of control wherever conflicting crusaders of dogmatism cross paths.  On a personal level, the dying off of the old cycle between Saturn and Mars activates the aspect of Saturn that strips issues to their bones and penetrates to the core matter at hand.  In combination with Uranus being activated so strongly by the Full Moon, there is potential to access potent vision and creative imagination that is simultaneously expansive, liberating, and grounded in the pragmatic reality of one’s circumstances.  The fertile visioning quality of the Full Moon is further amplified by the asteroid Pallas Athena being conjunct the Aquarius Moon.  All together, the Aquarius Full Moon has numerous aspects accentuating the higher mind of the Water Bearer, the unique capacity of Aquarius to disengage from dominant cultural influences and generate breakthrough thought from within that addresses wider humanitarian concerns.  There is much greater power to be found in the Aquarius Full Moon through collaborating in creativity with others of shared passions rather than engaging in destructive combat with those of opposing viewpoints.

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From the Splendor Solis

The natural vistas of Virgo are highlighted at the Full Moon, as Mercury is receiving Jupiter in a conjunction in Virgo, and Venus is separating from a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon, a trine with Pluto, and an opposition with Neptune.  The conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter is especially powerful as Mercury being at home and in its exaltation is providing Jupiter with everything it needs to make its final pass through Virgo memorable.  Because Mercury will be stationing retrograde in Virgo at the end of August, Mercury and Jupiter will remain in conjunction until Jupiter finally leaves Virgo and enters the sign of Libra on September 9.  In addition, in the week following the Full Moon, at the same time Mars and Saturn conjoin, Venus will enter into a conjunction with both Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo.  The triple conjunction between Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter will be closest between August 26 and 29.

Mercury has already entered its retrograde shadow zone and is close to the degree of its eventual Inferior Conjunction with the Sun when retrograde in September.  As a result, the Aquarius Full Moon is illuminating important events, relationships, and issues whose significance will become more apparent as we enter September’s period of eclipses and Mercury retrograde.  As Virgo is a place in which thorough and detailed research can be performed, this Full Moon is powerful not only for current research ventures but also to launch into deep investigation into a subject matter that will give the upcoming Mercury retrograde plenty to digest.  The added influence of Venus means the week ahead is ideal for purification and weaving harmony into one’s daily choices and environment.  In response to any difficult experiences, Venus combined with Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo will facilitate attuning to the changes of the moment for a solution and healing.

Finally, there is an opposition between the conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter with Chiron in Pisces that in addition forms a yod with the sextile between Uranus in Aries and the Aquarius Full Moon.  There is a lot of tension in these aspects, with Chiron at the trigger point.  As a result, whatever wounds, learning, teaching, healing, or mastery you have been working with in relation to Chiron in Pisces in the past six months will be deeply felt.  For those who have been doing the deep work of Chiron in these past months, this Full Moon has aspects that can reward the dedicated effort with a significant breakthrough or insight.  There is more to come in relation to Chiron in September, as the Pisces Lunar Eclipse on September 16 is conjunct Chiron and the Mercury retrograde will be in opposition.  Chiron being activated by hard aspect is usually not easy, but also can generate extraordinary growth when one is willing to open oneself fully to experience and face whatever issues arise without denial, receiving the wisdom of what one encounters.

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7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Aquarius Full Moon falls in the third decan of Aquarius associated with the 7 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image of a figure stealthily removing five swords from an encampment while leaving two behind is often interpreted as signifying deception and betrayal, trying to get away with something in secret, or utilizing mental strategizing with a willingness to deceive.  Known as “Futility” in the Thoth deck, it is also interpreted as becoming overcome with doubts regarding liberating thoughts due to fear over whether or not they can materialize successfully.  As a result it can be recommended to cultivate patience and give the vision more time to develop before giving up on it as being fruitless.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius, artfully weaving both interpretations of the 7 of Swords card through feelings of becoming frustrated or unhappy with a circumstance we have bound ourselves to with karmic knots. Coppock adds depth to Pamela Colman Smith’s image of the 7 of Swords as a result, pointing out that the stealthy figure has already undergone a long process of consideration and has decided to separate from the situation while discerning what to take of value and what to leave behind.  As the final decan of Aquarius, Coppock concluded that it brings up the difficult decision of whether or not to leave the known for the unknown, and “illuminates karmic entanglements and oversees liberation from them,” including the need to pay off debts and salvage the valuable before known attachments can be left behind.

The Moon is the ruler of the third face of Aquarius, giving this Full Moon greater strength than it would otherwise have in Aquarius.  The surrounding astrological aspects have elements of uncertainty and being at the crossroads between the familiar and unfamiliar, being at the end of an old cycle while sensing the threshold of rebirth.  The Full Moon in the sign of the Water Bearer can facilitate purification and replenishment, fostering strength to trod the unknown path, by turning to the waters within for nourishment and reflective guidance rather than the turbulent currents flooding the collective.  In the brilliant silvery light of the Full Moon, allow the guidance and personal truth you are seeking to arise from within rather than grasping for it in external entanglements.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Hillman, James. (1970).  On Senex Consciousness.  Spring:  An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.

Full Moon in Aquarius

Dream by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich 2001

Dream (2001) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

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.

Ganymede: Aquarius and Leo

Ganymede (1874) by Gabriel Ferrier

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.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

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.

Aquarius Full Moon

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Alchemical Mercury, Aquarius Moon

alchemical mercury

The alchemical Mercury, from Tripus aureus (The Golden Tripod) by Michael Maier, c. 1618.

August 8 presents a moment of legendary proportion to center within a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Leo, as the Moon waxes toward another potent astrological moment two days later on August 10, when we will experience a loaded Full Moon in Aquarius.  Since Mercury goes retrograde into an inferior conjunction and then swings round again into a superior conjunction three times a year, we have three of these superior conjunction moments every year to experience Mercury moving at it’s fastest speed into the heart of the Sun.  However, this is a uniquely special superior conjunction as at this time Mars in Scorpio is square Jupiter in Leo, the Moon in Capricorn is conjunct Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries, and most of all the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Leo is in trine to Uranus in Aries and in square to Saturn in Scorpio.

Demetra George compares the superior conjunction of Mercury to the detriment label of Mercury in Sagittarius as it can be like an insight of genius as well as a mad overflow of information to process- in either case this is because our minds can be full of so much unintegrated information at this stage of Mercury’s cycle that we can be challenged to fully digest the material.  This meaning corresponds to the speed of Mercury at this time, moving as fast as the fleet footed messenger ever moves, as from our perspective with Mercury on the other side of the Sun, it appears that Mercury is flying into the Sun.  Once Mercury gets close to its conjunction with the Sun, however, it takes on a “cazimi” meaning (some consider this to be less than one degree, others less than seventeen minutes) in a moment in time that brings the potential for a re-integration of all the material collected in the mind since Mercury moved direct in its last retrograde cycle on July 1.

If you want to be a pure astrological magician you may take advantage of this exact moment of Mercury merging into the Sun to center within yourself and within connection to the world soul, but in case you miss this moment it is still possible to gain profound insight into not only recent events and mental exploration, but concepts of our identity and self that go back across our entire lifetime.  This is because of the archetypal meaning of the Hermes of the Greeks who is the guardian of souls, a gatekeeper in between states of being who is always present with us during times of a death of an old identity and the birth of a new sense of self.  The astrological aspects for this particular superior conjunction are especially profound in this sense:

MercurySuperiorConjunctWRIGC1

In the chart above one can see the intense interactions occurring between planets in Leo and planets in Scorpio, including the close conjunction between the calculation of the mean Black Moon Lilith and the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo with the Sun, all in square to Saturn in Scorpio. This is a square of manifestation that is an apt symbol of this entire astrological period leading up to the Full Moon in Aquarius. Like the idea of Dane Rudhyar that at the Full Moon we can receive illumination and vision that gives symbolic expression to the fulfillment of our past, the square from Saturn in Scorpio to Mercury’s superior conjunction enforces the necessary limitations and structure upon our perception and experience to cause what has been felt inside to now be seen within our reality and consciousness.  With Black Moon Lilith included in this aspect, it can also mean a feeling of any inauthentic aspects of our recent identity being cut away from us as we integrate the illumination of the superior conjunction.  We can emerge with a purified boldness to radiate like the Leo Sun.  Just as the Full Moon receives the full light of the Sun to illuminate us, so Mercury orbiting close to the Sun at the time of its superior conjunction receives insight to transmit to us.

However, at the time of the superior conjunction the Moon is in Capricorn, square to Uranus in Aries, and conjunct Pluto in Capricorn. This is another deep and hard aspect that while challenging, all together makes it possible to receive real knowledge about our self and our world from the trine between Mercury’s superior conjunction and Uranus in Aries.  A dear friend of mine recently told me that she sometimes hardly notices a trine, and that it can feel more like she is going out for some ice cream; however, when she experiences a square from a power agent like Saturn, it can feel like her entire world and reality is shifting.  This is very true of this moment in time-  Uranus can correlate with shocking insight, Pluto with cathartic confrontation, and so this ongoing square between these heavyweights is completely activated by this Leo superior conjunction of Mercury.  With Saturn further squaring it, there is no escape from the truth. If we are centered in our truth at this time we can express it fully and courageously.

But hold on folks, we cannot forget to mention Mars loving it up in the sign of Scorpio, a zodiac sign giving Mars a full expression of all of his passionate, desirous, and yes, manipulative and maleficent nature.  Mars in Scorpio at this time is in square to Jupiter in Leo as well as in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  Our desires and sense of personal will  as a result can lead us into experiences that reveal disillusionment in one way or another- it will be the hands-on knowledge we gain from our experiences that our desires magnetized that cause this disillusionment.  In combination with Mercury’s superior conjunction that is conjunct Black Moon Lilith and in square to Saturn in Scorpio, this can be an essential stripping away of what is false to reveal a more authentic presence.  It may feel very fiery in nature, like the ancient concept of the “art of fire” from alchemy that inspired modern psychologists such as Carl Jung and James Hillman to develop alchemical psychology.

de-Rola-the-Green-Lion-176

emblem by Baltzer Schwan from Johann Daniel Mylius‘s 1622 Philosophia reformata

While some purists like to argue against the plausibility of constructing psychological theory inspired by the chemistry of alchemy, there are nonetheless countless aspects of alchemical psychology that are not only thought provoking but can be very pragmatic at times, no matter how “far out” the ideas may feel to some.  For those who get pushed to the edge of consciousness and beyond, theories like alchemical psychology can actually be an essential guide.  I heard a lecture by Robert Bosnak on the Jung Platform in which he described alchemy as a lyrical mode of perception in an emotional way that is far removed from logic- it feels expressive, emotional, passionate, and deeply felt, like the idea of the world being born as a sea of sparks arising from the unknowable.  Our bodies form around this essential spark and so like an alchemist we can work to connect with this spark of matter inside of us.   Embodied imagination is essential in this process, and all of our imaginations can be sparked by Mercury’s superior conjunction.

The elements of alchemy include sulfur as desire, salt as a slowing down to crystallize, the mutable nature of Mercury, and the lyrical dance of all three.  It describes a quality of heat more so than a quantity of heat, and includes four levels of quality.  Particularly resonant to me about this time is the boundary between the third quality (that is like a burning heart of courage and the isolating anger of Mars driving the work harder) and the fourth quality (that is like a clarification into realization, like endless nights of wandering into penetrating insight).  In the transition between the third and fourth qualities, we can feel like we are too hot, too angry, and yet if we keep going anyway then seemingly out of nowhere clarity and insight will arise.  This feeling could very well correlate now to this time of Mercury’s superior conjunction transitioning into the Full Moon in Aquarius two days later:

AquariusFullMoon2014WRIGC2

Of course, many of the aspects in the Full Moon chart above are the same as at the time of Mercury’s superior conjunction, but the difference is that the full lunation is illuminating everything in starker contrast.  It is important to remember as well that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, and so from that perspective the square between Scorpio Saturn and Leo Mercury/Sun is emphasized.  In addition, if you prefer the modern rulership of Uranus of Aquarius, then the trine between Uranus in Aries and the Mercury/Sun conjunction in Leo is highlighted.  Either way, this is a very powerful Full Moon, and not just because it is a Super Moon so close to our Earth.  Whatever sparks of creative inspiration emerge for us now, we will want to take responsibility to integrate this insight into our daily work.

Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala described an interesting Sabian Symbol for this Full Moon at 19º Aquarius:  “a forest fire is being subdued by the use of water, chemicals and sheer muscular energy.”  Rudhyar wrote that the keynote for this symbol is about “the skill and courage necessary to bring under control the destructive potential of carelessness of karmic visitations” (p. 261).  Our world is full of immense and extraordinary conflict, destruction, and trauma at this time.  As the world servers among us want to find areas to focus on and help facilitate productive change in one way or another, many of us are also confronting our own personal demons that we want to shift into more of a connection with a universal “higher mind” that will help navigate us in a direction in line with the “good” of all beings everywhere.  The aspects of this Full Moon make solutions to both of these scenarios a real possibility.

Finally, it is worthwhile to note that there is “sympathy in the square” between Leo and Scorpio according to the ancient astrologer Rhetorius the Egyptian, because they are signs of “equal rising” that are contra-antiscia across the equinox axis of Aries and Libra.  In the days leading up to Mercury’s superior conjunction, both Mercury and the Sun in Leo became contra-antiscia to Saturn in Scorpio, meaning that Saturn could “hear” both Mercury and the Sun.  In addition, at the time of the Full Moon in Aquarius, Mars in Scorpio will be contra-antiscia to Mercury in Leo, meaning that Mars will be able to “hear” Mercury during the Full Moon.  These aspects mean that although these squares between Leo and Scorpio may seem intense, they also hold strong resonance for manifestation, and can help us work productively with whatever conflicts arise.  If you want to read more about antiscia, a good resource is the website of Seattle astrologer Kate Petty.

Life may feel like a whirl wind at the moment, so it will be best to go into the spiral.

Barchusen-Elementa-chemiae-18

Copperplate 7 (of 19) from Johann Conrad Barchusen’s 1718 Elementa chemise, appearing in Johannes Fabricius’s 1976 collection, Alchemy (p18)