Full Moon in Leo

The Lion of Saint Mark (c. 1490) by Martin Schongauer

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is bold and unapologetic in its radiant expression of self, style, substance, and strength. Like an amber caress of vivifying warmth, the Full Moon in Leo will embrace those risking the vulnerability of their creative expression. The pounding drums of the Leo Full Moon will mobilize ingenuity and inspired action in pursuit of far ranging goals in the months ahead. If you’ve felt blocked from fully implementing plans in recent months, stuck from overthinking or frozen with constraint, find ways to generate momentum with focused effort on smaller tasks that will build toward larger outcomes. As the Full Moon on 5 February 2023 will illuminate the sacred cross-quarter days that mark the turning of the season, let yourself turn toward the lodestar of your core purpose with committed dedication. The Lion of Luna longs to hear your song, witness your dance, and receive the revelation of your voice speaking the truth of your experience. It’s a sizzling syzygy that marks the end of hibernation and reflective retreat. The fiery light pouring down from the Moon will call for action and focusing the force of your will into participation with the immense changes rippling through the world.

The Leo Full Moon is separating from a jolting square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward a sobering opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. The Full Moon is also in the bounds of Saturn, increasing the influence of Saturn and necessitating confrontation with the limitations of your circumstances while Uranus simultaneously incites impulses of liberation. As Rollo May wrote in The Courage to Create, “creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations . . . forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work.” Forming a receptive relationship with the limits and forms of your life will catalyze as well as structure the creative potential available. Due to the Leo Full Moon clashing with Uranus, you may need to endure unexpected volatility and chaotic processes, yet by facing the complexity of your situation in all of its fullness, the blazing torch of the Leo Moon will bring awareness to the deeper purpose emerging from recent months of inner exploration.

The dramatic activation of Saturn and Uranus by the Leo Full Moon is the grand finale for their long-established square aspect that has dominated astrology in recent years and has correlated with immense breakthroughs and breakdowns in personal and collective events. As the final pieces of the Saturn and Uranus story fall into place under the light of the Leo Moon, you may gain deeper awareness of the lessons, losses, and overall metamorphosis you have experienced with Saturn and Uranus clashing in a square aspect since the beginning of 2021. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the periods of Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.” While we have traversed a cataclysmic collective period that has lived up to the billing of Tarnas, in our personal lives it has also brought opportunities to break free of past restraints into exciting new directions full of promise and risk. Though it’s been a devastating and difficult time period for many, there has likely been major elements of your life that have become cleared to make space for a new phase of growth to emerge now that we are finally coming to the end of the waning square between Saturn and Uranus. The Leo Full Moon will shed light on how you have been reshaped by Saturn and Uranus.

Adding to the tumultuous intensity of the Leo Full Moon, Venus in Pisces will be engaged in a heated relationship with Mars in Gemini that will enflame relationships with passionate exchanges. The waning square aspect between Venus in Pisces with Mars in Gemini will reveal key issues within relationship that need attention and mediation. Whether you experience conflict or enhanced ardor within relationship, pay attention for signs and insight into how your desires and needs are changing. With Venus in a stronger position compared to Mars, revelations may emerge regarding the values that are most important to build your life around as well as the trajectory of your creative direction. The tension between Venus and Mars can be directed toward dynamic developments in creativity and artistic performance, as Venus will also be applying toward a harmonious sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will become exact on 8 February. Listen for how Venus is guiding you toward experiencing more excitement and pleasure within your work and relationships.

In the Light of the Moon by Edward Balchowsky

Mercury in Capricorn will be increasing in speed in the light of the Full Moon, having recently reached maximum elongation as a Morning Star on 30 January. Mercury in Capricorn will be applying closely toward a creative sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on 6 February, the same day that Mercury will move beyond the degree where it stationed retrograde on 29 December 2022. As a result, the Leo Full Moon will serve as a catalyst for embodying whatever changes in perception and creative direction you experienced during the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn phase that lasted from 29 December 2022 until 18 January 2023. The sextile aspect between Mercury with Neptune is the third of a sequence, and so you may realize an important arc of development stretching back to 24 December 2022 and 1 January 2023 when Mercury previously formed sextile aspects with Neptune. The interplay between Mercury and Neptune has brought opportunities for exploring imagination and opening perception to new creative influences. It also may have corresponded with disillusioning experiences. If so, the light of the Leo Full Moon will illuminate the lessons that need to be learned and integrated.

Following the fireworks of the Full Moon in Leo, the waning half of the lunar cycle contains a series of pivotal aspects that will deepen understanding. In the week following the lunation, Mercury will be applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will become exact on 10 February while Mars in Gemini will be applying toward an activating sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries that will become exact on 11 February. Similar to the sextile between Mercury and Neptune forming during the lunation, both of these combinations possess a cyclical quality rooted in the recent past. Mercury stationed retrograde on 29 December in close proximity with Pluto, giving Pluto an overarching influence over its subsequent retrograde phase during the following three weeks. Now that Mercury will finally be forming its conjunction with Pluto, whatever process Mercury has been working within you since the end of December will come full circle with important realizations. Mercury and Pluto expose buried material, penetrating to the roots of dynamics and focused analysis. Their combination can also empower your voice and ability to confidently communicate whatever meaning you have been developing.

The sextile between Mars in Gemini with Chiron in Aries is also connected with previous aspects between Mars and Chiron due to the Mars retrograde period that stretched from the end of October until the middle of January. The first sextile between Mars and Chiron was on 17 September 2022 when Mars was direct and the second sextile was on 19 December 2022 when Mars was retrograde. The connection to last December with both aspects that Mars and Mercury will be making gives extra emphasis to whatever developments or difficulties you were facing around the time of the Capricorn solstice. With Chiron in the fiery home of Mars, the receptive sextile indicates that however your relationship with Mars has been sharpened and honed over the course of its recent retrograde can now be directed assertively through your work and creativity. Bring mindfulness to the ways in which old wounds were brought up to work through and how the tests and trials you passed through can now facilitate greater strength and empowerment in pursuing your core purpose.

After the Mercury-Pluto and Mars-Chiron combinations form, the following week of the waning Moon will contain two powerful alignments: Venus will form a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces on 15 February and the Sun will form a conjunction with Saturn on 16 February. Though the combinations of Venus with Neptune and Saturn with the Sun have drastically different meaning, they can come together through deep contemplation, exploring ways to bring dream into reality, and becoming aware of illusions you need to awaken from. At the same time, Mercury in Aquarius will be applying toward a coalescing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries that will become exact on 17 February. Mercury in Aquarius transmitting the fiery spirit of Jupiter in Aries can bring clarity for the creative direction to pursue in the months ahead, drawing from both the idealistic imaginal power of Venus and Neptune and the deep wisdom of Saturn and the Sun that can bring the otherworldliness of Venus and Neptune into pragmatic application through concrete forms.

Vitally, the Leo Full Moon demarcates not only the end of the Saturn’s current cycle with the Sun but also the final month of Saturn occupying its airy home of Aquarius. Saturn experienced its heliacal set into invisible darkness in the days leading up to the Leo Full Moon, placing Saturn in an underworld process of exploring deep mystery while it burns off its past cycle that began on 4 February 2022 at 15°56’ Aquarius. The days surrounding the conjunction between the Sun and Saturn on 16 February at 27°44’ Aquarius will be an ideal time to actively reflect upon what you have built and what you have had to let go of during Saturn’s journey through Aquarius. The works of Saturn take time to fully form yet can also endure as long lasting foundations of support. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon illuminate what needs to be emptied and shed from Saturn’s present cycle, revealing the essential meaning that can be deepened and developed within the cycle to come.

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of triumphant victory, we see the strident champion being honored by an adoring crowd as well as a wreath of laurel.  As laurel is of the nature of the Sun just like the gold medals pursued by competitors, there is potential within the second face of Leo for not only expression of soulful radiance and creative power but also reception of honors for it. Fittingly, Jupiter rules the second face of Leo, revealing the potency found within this decan for achievements that bring acclaim. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Six of Wands often correlates with becoming celebrated in public, yet the good fortune and powerful luck associated with this arcanum and decan is not based upon the moral quality of the recipient. Indeed, the image of blind Fortuna spinning her great wheel is resonant with this decan, as Chang wrote that “the Wheel of Fortune is fundamentally amoral.” Moreover, since acclaim and fortune will not necessarily last whether earned or unearned, the second face of Leo emphasizes the need to align with the constantly changing nature of life and fortune with its ceaseless upswings and downswings.

Some of the traditional images for the second decan of Leo emphasize the amoral quality of fortune found within this face. In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the second face of Leo has “the image of a man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head. [He has] the form of an angry and threatening man. In his right hand he has drawn a sword, and in his left a round shield. [This image] has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, of vile men, and over occasions of lawsuits and battles.” In Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius, the image for the second face of Leo is a “Naked man, sceptre in right hand, whip in left, crescent moon upon head.” Ibn Ezra as well as the Picatrix also fashioned images of a man crowned with myrtle holding a bow and arrow. The Yavanajataka gave the image of “a bold woman with loosened hair. She is on a mountain peak, proud in taking away the wealth of others . . .”

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  Yet similar to the amoral traditional images found within this face, Coppock wrote that the pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, declaring that “great works do not guarantee any greatness of character.” Coppock further noted that the second face of Leo can guide us toward realizing what elements of our public persona are out of alignment with our inner integrity, or instead how we may need to embody more humility within experiences of recent praise or glory. Coppock made the point that “recognition of one’s virtues does not dispel the reality of one’s vices,” since many images of the decan in traditional text show it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan.” Coppock declared that the promise and power of victory is so strong in this decan we must guard against becoming blinded by the solar light of success.

In contrast to other images found within traditional text, the great goddess Isis resides in the second face of Leo according to the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Isis became syncretized as the goddess containing all goddesses in the Hellenistic era, and just as she weaves many traditions together in her history, so does she weave a web of love through times of trauma to bring about an eventual retrieval and integration of wholeness. Isis in connection with the second face of Leo highlights the courage needed to resiliently persist on inner journeys to reanimate whatever aspects of your essential self have become fragmented. Similar to how Isis was able to re-member and re-animate her beloved Osiris, explore how the light of the Leo Full Moon illuminates desires and gifts that had become dismembered within your inner darkness and can now be regenerated through your creative work in the world.

Yet when doing the inner work needed to bring about empowered capacity to pursue ambitions, we need to remember the warnings found within the second face of Leo regarding the perils of power and privileged positions which also bring opportunity to harm others as much as they bring opportunities to reward ourselves with public acclaim and status. The strong influence of Jupiter upon the second face of Leo requires the generous and devotional qualities of Jupiter to remain in right relation with heart-centered focus. Under the light of the Leo Full Moon, may we commit to creative expression that inspires and uplifts others, sustaining alignment with the integrity of our core values.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! On the Oak tier in our monthly classes we are exploring the fixed stars, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

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.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

May, Rollo. (1975). The Courage to Create. WW Norton & Company.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Leo Full Moon

Lion-headed Goddess Amulet (1070 – 664 B.C.)

Leo Full Moon

The Full Moon on February 16 is in Leo, the living image of the Lion, whether you use the tropical or sidereal zodiac. In fact, the Moon will illuminate the night sky nearby the fixed star Regulus, known as the heart of the lion within the Leo constellation. Across astrological traditions, Regulus has been associated with leadership and power, the type of fiery strength that can achieve success and victory against all odds. Yet the true strength of Regulus is the essential dignity and integrity we bear within our heart, the strength and wisdom of our core, our central self around which our vast, inner multiplicity revolves. Within a period of time emphasizing Saturn and its current placement within Aquarius, the Leo Full Moon will inject a charge of coherence as fragmented strands of past storylines come together into greater understanding. The Full Moon pouring down the star fire of Regulus will kindle an inner flame of knowing that can guide us into the next steps to take, whether we are continuing on course or in need of a dramatic change in direction.

Yet the royal power and fierce leadership associated with Regulus is also a quality some wish to seize for fame, wealth, influence, and other ambitious desires that can lead to inflation and hubris. Bernadette Brady described the nemesis of Regulus as being revenge, stating that its ambitious qualities need to be balanced by restraint from seeking retribution and vengeance if we wish to secure the success it can bring. Within Indian astrology, the nakshatra of Regulus where the full moon will ripen is Magha, the seat or throne of the king that has been linked with splendor, regality, prosperity, power, and the will force needed to achieve important endeavors and victories. Dennis Harness described the shadow side of Magha in connection with the extreme ambition that resides here, such as “arrogance” and “prejudice,” over attachment to “material prosperity” and “identification with class status,” as well as “divine restlessness or chronic discontent” for falling short of high aspirations and perfectionist standards. Harness further described the danger of constant courting of external approval at expense of the essential self.

Magha’s ruling deities are the ancestor spirits Pitris, making the nakshatra associated with gifts and benefits brought by ancestors, as well as loyalty to spiritual lineages. Harness described Pitris as “the great Fathers of Humanity, who function as guardian angels giving protection in the event of major calamities on earth.” Indeed, the true nobility of character offered by Regulus lies within the agency of the heart and contact with our deep sense of inner sovereignty. Rooted in our core value, the polarity between the Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Leo can foster drive and desire sourced from inner values rather than based upon ambition for external approval and acting in accordance with however we feel we need to fit in with the status quo of trends and popularity contests. The Leo Full Moon can ignite curiosity about where we have felt powerless and why, helping us make contact with our inner wellspring of power from a place of openness to mystery rather than insistence on control. We may also gain insight into whatever forms of power dynamics within relationships we have become entangled by and the adjustments necessary to make.

Supplying an uplifting, liberating influence to the Leo Full Moon is an invigorating sextile aspect between Jupiter in Pisces and Uranus in Taurus. For over a year we have been experiencing the amplified volatility constellated by the catalytic square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus, with the jolting impact of Uranus dislodging and breaking open longstanding structures and systems of Saturn. While the shattering of old structures and forms that have previously been part of our identity and sense of security may have been difficult during the past year, the clashing between Uranus and Saturn have also created vast potential for new directions, patterns, and ways of being to emerge that can be creatively liberating and free from past restraints. With Jupiter in Pisces forming a harmonious aspect with Uranus, we will have increased support in discerning the larger vision for growth that is emerging out of the dismantling of the past.

Babylonian Lion, associated with Ishtar (604 – 562 BC)

Intensifying the potential for the Leo Full Moon to brings things to a climax and a turning point in direction is the fact that the Moon will be forming a square with the lunar nodes at the northern bending. The northern bending of the Moon’s orbit is a dynamic point of change in which the Moon has reached maximum northern latitude, a peak from which the Moon will begin to immediately fall in descent back down toward the ecliptic. Demetra George wrote that since the Moon at her bending has reached “the farthest distance of the plane of the lunar orbit from that of the Sun’s path on the ecliptic,” it “suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection.” George further noted that Ptolemy stated the Moon forming a square to her nodes at her bending “helps with the character of the soul in the direction of greater versatility, resourcefulness, and capacity for change.”

Thus while the Leo Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes may correlate with amplified emotional volatility or feelings of disconnection for some, in other cases it may accentuate the capacity to gain distance from emotional entanglements in order to gain a clarifying perspective. The Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes is further significant due to it demarcating the midpoint between eclipses, with the Leo Full Moon forming a square aspect to the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus which occurred on November 19, 2021 and the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio which will occur on May 16, 2022. It’s an opportune time to reflect upon whatever changes arrived with the previous eclipses on November 19 and December 4 last year, taking stock of however you have already made adjustments as well as stepping back to see the bigger picture of how present dynamics appear to be developing into the future and where changes need to be initiated.

Since the transiting north node of the Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus, and the transiting south node of the Moon in Scorpio is ruled by Mars, the union of Venus and Mars in Capricorn during the time of the Leo Full Moon will increase the likelihood of the lunation illuminating the passions, anger, frustrations, and desires at the root of present relational dynamics and creative processes. Relationship tests have likely arisen recently as Venus and Mars have approached their conjunction in Capricorn, and so if the Leo Full Moon brings feelings of dissatisfaction to light, allow your curiosity to explore what your symptoms reveal about your sense of soulfulness and what needs to change so you may rebalance your relational dynamics with others and realign with your deepest sources of creativity and inner security. While events leading up to the Leo Full Moon may have caused underlying emotional challenges within relationships to burst forth into awareness, if both partners are willing to engage with the needed inner work while also listening and engaging in dialogue, the lunation can also help bring forth new ways to relate to one another that are mutually supportive and respectful of one another’s dignity.

Pan and Nymphs by Ignaz Elhafen

Venus will form a conjunction with Mars at 16°53’ Capricorn on February 16, about two and a half hours before the exact opposition between the Moon in Leo and the Sun in Aquarius. Mars and Venus are nocturnal planets that orbit on either side of Earth in closest proximity, connecting us with primal feelings we discover within our inner darkness, away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. The union of Mars and Venus initiates us into a process of rediscovering what we want in relationship, as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. Venus and Mars coming together calls for embodiment, getting in touch with bodily senses to uncover desires untethered from societal conditioning. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, valuable, and distasteful, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable or displeasing. With their union occurring within the cardinal sign of Capricorn, their conjunction will bring a significant initiation into new relational dynamics emerging within coming weeks. Their union in the earthy, nocturnal home of Saturn calls for the need of forming the boundaries necessary to contain and nurture the seeds of new desires, making space for greater embodiment of one’s own inner eros separate from its mixture within external relational dynamics. As we come into deeper relationship with our own feelings and desires, so will we be able to more effectively make the adjustments needed within our many relationships within the world.

The conjunction between Venus and Mars on February 16 is the second Venus Mars conjunction in a sequence of three taking place within a span of eight months. The previous conjunction between Venus and Mars was at 19°48’ Leo, in the same zodiacal sign as the Leo Full Moon, on July 13, 2021. The final conjunction in the series will be on March 6, 2022 at  00°01’ Aquarius. The present conjunction on February 16, the middle one of three, is especially significant due to it occurring with both Venus and Mars visible as morning stars heralding the rise of the Sun. Their previous conjunction on July 13 occurred with Venus and Mars as evening stars following sunset, and since then we have experienced both Venus and Mars traversing the underworld in transition from evening to morning sky. Most significantly, Venus was recently retrograde in Capricorn from 19 December 2021 until 29 January 2022 and now is increasing in speed, light and elevation having been reborn in her morning star phase. She is only slowly beginning to pick up speed, however, which is why Mars has been able to recently overtake her in speed and form a conjunction with her by moving from behind and in front of her by zodiacal degree. As a result, during the waning half of the present lunar cycle as Venus continues to slowly pick up speed she will remain in close proximity with Mars, eventually overtaking Mars and forming their final conjunction in the series on March 6, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

While the time from the Leo Full Moon until the final conjunction of Venus and Mars on March 6 will be full of new developments and desires within relationship and creativity to be mindful of, the union of Venus with Mars during the Leo Full Moon is especially potent in terms of bringing numerous streams of relational storylines together into a flowing, charged river bed that is fertile with the potential for new patterning within relationship to develop. It’s also worth noting that both Venus and Mars have essential dignity within the zodiacal degree of their conjunction, as it is the exaltation of Mars and the bounds of Venus. The second decan of Capricorn where their union takes place also has rulership association with both Mars and Venus (Mars is the ruler in the Chaldean descending rulership scheme; Venus is the ruler in the triplicity scheme). It’s a place ripe with potential for launching new enterprises and building great works of imagination and vision step by step with groundedness and receptivity to the input needed within collaboration with others.

The fact that both Venus and Mars have zodiacal agency within the place of their union is further accentuated by their close proximity with Vesta in Capricorn. As Venus and Mars will continue to move closely together during the waning half of the lunar cycle into their upcoming conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on March 3, so will Vesta in Capricorn. Venus will form a conjunction with Vesta in Capricorn on February 27 while Mars will form a conjunction with Vesta on February 25, less than a week before Venus and Mars unite with Pluto. The presence of Vesta alongside Venus and Mars can help in finding greater coherence for how our relational desires and needs have been transformed within recent months, especially when making space for sacred time with one’s self. The devotional aspect of Vesta can also help us in realizing what forms of creativity and new goals to develop are most authentically aligned with our core self, as well as the relationships most resonant with our true path to cultivate and deepen in relationship. Vesta traveling with Venus and Mars during the waning half of the lunar cycle can help initiate the process of building the strong foundations of a new legacy, maintaining the boundaries necessary to do so.

EXPLORACIÓN DE LAS FUENTES DEL RÍO ORINOCO by Remedios Varo

Further adding to the intensity of the Leo Full Moon is the fact that Mercury will be at maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that Mercury will be increasing in speed and curious connectivity in the coming weeks. Mercury finally left Capricorn and its extended time in close proximity with Pluto in Capricorn on February 14, and during the day of the Leo Full Moon will be close to the early degree of Aquarius where Mercury formed its regenerative conjunction with the Sun on January 23. Whatever new ideas developed, whatever shifts in storylines needed attending, whatever ways the catalytic and volatile period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn from January 14 to February 3 impacted and transformed you is important to consider under the glow of the Full Moon in Leo. Mercury is now entering its solar phase as a Morning Star that Gary Caton likened to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s recent retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being

During the waning half of the lunar cycle, Mercury will form an invigorating and volatile square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on February 24 followed by Mercury forming a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on March 2, the same day as the New Moon in Pisces. Mercury began its recent retrograde phase on January 14 while in close proximity to activating the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, and during the waning half of the lunar cycle we will finally experience Mercury moving forward to finally complete the activation. The present path of Mercury is vastly significant, connecting the present moment with the larger waves of change signified by the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 as well as the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus dominating the astrological landscape in 2021 and 2022. It’s a time to feel into how your inner shifts relate with the much larger waves of change rippling across global societies. Ways in which our lives began to change in the beginning of 2021 can become clearer as Mercury leads us out of the dreamscape of night into the brightness of day in coming weeks, helping us clarify how to formulate our next stage of development.

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Leo is in the third decan of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a warrior is bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here. The martial figure in the Seven of Wands further relates to the asymmetrical significations of Mars in astrology through standing his ground in footwear that does not match. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that the Seven of Wands in a reading can signify facing a “daunting challenge” requiring discernment of whether or not it’s a situation or position worth fighting for. Chang described that while the Seven of Wands “shows a human capacity to persevere,” it still requires facing “whether persevering through the difficulty will be the making of us the building of our character- or whether it is simply not meant to be.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the link between the third face of Leo with the underworld aspects of Serapis as revealing “the important decisions that those who walk this decan face- when to give up and let go, for even the Sun surrenders the earth to darkness.”

Whether you are engaged in battle with external or internal forces under the light of the Leo Full Moon, beware of the shadow of defensiveness and feeling the need to fight off those perceived as invaders at all costs. Particularly within inner processes of conflict, the various parts of self that seem to be at odds with one another may also lead to new insights and awareness as we let go of the need to control and allow seemingly paradoxical impulses to deepen into the tension of relationship with one another. The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the night at a pivotal turning point of astrological cycles- may its brilliant light nurture the turning of mind needed to make the decisions and choices most aligned with the creative potential ready to emerge from within you.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. Wessex Astrologer.

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

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.

de Fouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert. (1996). Light on Life: Introduction to the Astrology of  India. Lotus Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice. Rubedo Press.

Harness, Dennis. (1999). The Nakshatras: the Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press.

Full Moon in Leo

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future 1955 by Joseph Beuys

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future (1955) by Joseph Beuys

Full Moon in Leo

Cast the emptiness from your arms
into the space we breathe: perhaps the birds
will sense the increase of air with more passionate flying.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the First Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

The fiery Full Moon in Leo on January 28 will set events in motion that have been building in tension, enflaming the underlying astrological aspects that have correlated with volatile events as well as major changes in storylines during the past month. The Full Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Aquarius as well as a disruptive square aspect with Mars in Taurus. With the Moon fully illuminated in the zodiacal home of the Sun, find your center within the immense changes taking shape around and within you. Like a calyx protecting and nurturing the flaming colors of the bloom ready to open, within heart space you may deepen into the glowing meaning that is emerging from whatever difficulties you have been through recently.

There is stunning timing at play between the peak radiance of the Leo Full Moon with the synodic cycle of Jupiter, as Jupiter is at the very end of its solar cycle when the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. Jupiter in Aquarius is in the underworld, experiencing both the putrefaction of its past cycle as well as the purifying regeneration of being reseeded by the Sun. Jupiter will be reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun about six and a half hours after the Moon forms its opposition with the Sun, giving an amplified charge to the inner illumination we may experience with Jupiter being reborn.

As Jupiter signifies hope, prosperity, and optimism, we may experience a renewal of faith regarding the path we are following into the unknown as Jupiter is revivified by the Sun. Jupiter will continue to be gestating the new meaning of its cycle while invisible until re-emerging into the visible light of its Morning Star phase in mid February. As Jupiter helps with creation of new growth and life, synthesizing meaning and wisdom from our experiences, so may we gain greater understanding of the shifting structures within personal and collective movements during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

We are also at the beginning of a new Saturn cycle with the Sun, as the Sun formed a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on January 23. Thus the Leo Full Moon is also illuminating how the new solar seeds of Saturn are beginning to gestate, as Saturn continues to make its way through its invisible underworld phase. We are only at the beginning of Saturn’s journey through Aquarius that will stretch into March 2023, and so the Leo Full Moon is also shining a spotlight on the tests and challenges that Saturn will be bringing to our attention.  The solutions to larger problems may not be ready to emerge, but the dazzling light of the lunation can help us realize what areas of life need our focus in the month ahead.

Moreover, since the Sun formed a square with Uranus in Taurus on January 26, the Full Moon will heighten awareness of whatever breaking points or innovative changes are emerging with the discordant square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that will be intensifying in the next few weeks. Since the Full Moon is separating from Saturn and Uranus and applying to Jupiter and Mars, the lunation is setting off all of the dynamics between Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars that have correlated with numerous protests and cacophonous volatility in global events during the past month.


Dawn Moon and Tumbling Snow (1889) by Kobayashi Heihachirō, from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

The catalyzing square between the Leo Full Moon with Mars in Taurus may bring stressful events or conflicts to mediate, but on a constructive level can also provide the impetus to make a needed change happen. If it’s necessary to create separation from a troubling source or inject motivated passion into making a certain movement happen, the triggering of Mars by the lunation can supply an amplified boost in the desired direction. It will also be important to pay attention to whatever symptoms of difficulty we experience, as they may indicate deeper issues below the surface of events that we will need to focus on to repair and heal in the month ahead.

While the Leo Full Moon will enflame the friction between Uranus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, it also demarcates the beginning of Mars and Jupiter slowly moving away from the shattering square aspect taking shape between Saturn and Uranus. The first exact square between Saturn and Uranus will take place on February 17, and so from now until then the rupturing emanating from their clashing dynamic will continue to intensify. However, since Mars and Jupiter have recently set off the volatility building between Saturn and Uranus, we are already gaining a sense of what sorts of collective and personal disruptions are developing in correlation.

When the slow contractions of Saturn come into conflict with insistence from Uranus on rapid innovation, we need to come to terms with the elements of life we previously relied upon for security that need to be released to make space for the new forms emerging. We also need to keep in mind the longview that the radical shifts and breaking apart in personal foundations and systemic structures that will correlate with the tension between Saturn and Uranus will be taking place over the next two years. We are only at the beginning of the story, and since we know that Saturn and Uranus will be bringing irrevocable change we can begin to deepen into the internal shifts we are experiencing and make space to sort through the visions of expansive growth we receive. In the short term, there will be a need for rapid responses to address immediate concerns and cultivate the stability needed to navigate the liminal passage ahead.

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

Although not in an exact aspect with the Leo Full Moon, Mercury in Aquarius is a major underlying influence of the lunation due to it stationing retrograde two days later on January 30. As a result, the intensification of all things related to Mercury in the days following the Full Moon will necessitate being as mindful as possible and paying attention to whatever early signs are emerging regarding the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Mercury will be retrograde from January 30 until February 20, backtracking from 26°29’ Aquarius to 11°01 Aquarius. Mercury while retrograde will pull us back into the volatile tension between Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus and so there will be opportunities to continue to address whatever issues are emerging with the Leo Full Moon in the month ahead.

When Mercury stations to begin shifting retrograde it can be especially helpful to pay close attention to your dreams and any omens or synchronicities you experience in daily life that can help you better understand the message that Mercury will be delivering during its retrograde. This is especially the case now due to Neptune in Pisces also forming an exact square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  The disorienting square between Neptune with the transiting lunar nodes can be confusing and make crisp clarity difficult to grasp, but can be powerful in terms of imaginal activation. While the conspiracy theories running rampant in collective events is one side of Neptune forming a square with the lunar nodes, at the same time in our personal life we may receive otherworldly insight that can unveil illusions we had been holding as well as important new perspectives to consider. With Mercury shifting into retrograde movement for the rest of the waning lunar cycle, the psychopomp nature of Mercury when retrograde can facilitate descent into inner mysteries to gather important understanding that will ultimately help us in navigating external events.

profile of shadow by Odilon Redon

Profile of Shadow (1895) by Odilon Redon

The other major astrological aspect embedded within the Leo Full Moon is the conjunction between Venus with Pluto in Capricorn. When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

In addition to Venus catalyzing descent into the underworld desires of Pluto, in the week following the Full Moon we will also experience the heliacal setting of Venus as the star of Aphrodites shares its final light as a Morning Star before disappearing into the shadows of its invisible, underworld phase. Venus will continue to be visible as she makes her way through the rest of the sign of Capricorn, but will begin disappearing from view once she enters Aquarius on February 1. This amplifies the importance of whatever messages you are receiving from the union of Venus and Pluto, as Venus may awaken important desires that will need to be tended and nurtured as she makes her way through her underworld phase in the months ahead. Venus will eventually re-emerge into visible light as an Evening Star in early May.

5 of Wands

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature.

Saturn and the Sun are the rulers of the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and radiate meaning to a receptive audience. The meaning of the lunation in this decan is especially notable for those who were born with Saturn in the first decan of Leo, as they are not only experiencing their Saturn opposition but it also being illuminated by a Full Moon in square with Mars and Uranus. Whether you are dealing with a Saturn opposition or not, it will nonetheless be wise to use the slow and steady contemplation of Saturn to consider the ways in which your engagement with the world has felt inauthentic. As Saturn in Aquarius was recently regenerated by the Sun, allow whatever aspects of your old identity and ambitions need to be shed to make space for a more authentic presence to emerge.

It’s further compelling that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down old structures that can be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results as we transition from a volatile month of January into a month of February that will be dominated by Mercury being retrograde in Aquarius with Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn also occupying Aquarius. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon guide your creative process so it may align with the changes of nature taking shape within internal and external realms. As the Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos sings:

Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:  /  Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:  /  All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:  Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.  /  To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.  /  Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:  /  Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Full Moon in Leo

lion head 4th centurcy bc

Achaemenid Gold (6th – 4th Century B.C.)

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is the place of fixed fire, the indomitable flames that endure and resiliently persist in the face of extinguishing forces. The Full Moon in Leo on February 8 (or 9th, depending upon time zone) is an invitation for sustaining focus on the creations you most dearly wish to forge from your inner furnace, no matter how dire the collective crises of the time appear.  The Full Moon is applying toward a flowing trine with Mars in Sagittarius, inciting passionate heat and radiant inspiration that can enliven any downcast spirits. Since 2020 began with the intensifying conjunction of Saturn and Pluto combined with volatile eclipses, the Leo Full Moon can stoke movement driven by the undercurrents of whatever deep material has been stirred up in the past month.

Heroism and courage are character traits associated with Leo we will need to embody in 2020, as it is a year that promises immense collective change with numerous cycles within astrology coming to endings and beginnings. Yet while heroines will be needed, the trine between the forthright Leo Moon and crusading Mars in Sagittarius also warns against hubris and righteously exerting your will in conflicts in which you think you know best.  The Leo Full Moon is ruled by the Sun in Aquarius, giving it the unique characteristic of being the only Full Moon in which the polarity between Sun and Moon is mitigated by the Sun receiving the Moon into its fiery home. The cool, contemplative nature of the Aquarius Sun can help in detaching from emotional reactivity, discerning choices for authentically contributing the skills we are excited about developing within the wider community.

While the trine with Mars is the only aspect the Full Moon is making with other planets, if we are willing to welcome the dwarf planet Eris into consideration there is a fire triangle formed by the Full Moon, Mars and the distant trans-Neptunian entity named after the goddess of discord. While there hasn’t been a lot of time to compile astrological research concerning the meaning of Eris since her discovery in 2005, astrologers have begun to construct significations based in large part upon her meaning in mythology and wildly eccentric orbit. The chaotic strife Eris delights in instigating can be witnessed clearly in current events, and so it is fitting that the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 formed a harsh square aspect with Eris. The fiery triangle between Eris, Mars, and the Full Moon can propel breakthroughs that have their source within the volatility of collective breakdowns and personal tensions that have sharpened awareness of what matters most to us.

The Full Moon is also engaged in aspects with asteroid goddesses, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square aspect with Vesta in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Juno retrograde in Libra. As we become clearer about what gifts we wish to cultivate from exploration of our inner darkness, we will need to form mutually beneficial relationships with collaborators who can help bring the imaginal potency we have been developing into the light in ways that can be received by a resonant audience. We also need to reflect upon the balance of power and responsibility within our relationships, making adjustments so that there is a fair distribution of tasks and reciprocal attention to having emotional needs met. There is stormy astrology on the horizon we will be able to navigate more effectively by addressing relational imbalances that the Leo Full Moon illuminates.

John_Duncan_-_007

by John Duncan

There will likely be important relational issues brought to attention by the passage of Venus in Aries forming conjunctions with Chiron and the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith. Allow the full light of the Moon to expose whatever material has been harbored in your shadow and projected into your relationships. It’s a good time for the practice of reflecting upon how not only those you desire but also are repulsed by can reveal key patterns about yourself you have not been consciously aware of.  Venus expresses ardor directly in Aries and once struck by the arrow of Eros, Venus in Aries will claim the agency required to draw closer to the source of attraction. With Venus continuing to shine brightly in twilight as an Evening Star, though impulsively following desires can lead to trouble it will be the kind of trouble that can also trigger vital lessons.

Venus is also applying toward a sextile with Ceres in Aquarius as Ceres is in an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Venus in Aries is not afraid to fight for whatever it considers to be true, good, and beautiful, and so one way this configuration may show up is through increased interest in social activism and protest movements building around issues of environmental and social justice. The square between Ceres and Uranus can feel upsetting and enraging regarding any personal or collective events in which greed and power dynamics harm or threaten life, yet the invigorating sextile between Venus and Ceres will stoke intrinsic motivation to take action as needed. In some cases this may mean taking the risk to initiate direct movement toward goals, in other cases there may need to be a staking out of space and time in which to actively contemplate the next course of action.

In the week following the Full Moon, whatever issues surface that involve Venus in Aries will continue to demand attention as Venus will be applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes that it will complete on February 13. Venus in Aries delights in the creation of movement, and so if facing dilemmas related to Venus it will be helpful to be physically active such as taking hikes in nature while reflecting upon the next steps to take. Interestingly, although Venus is at the zodiacal point of being at the southern bending in relation to the lunar nodes, it is simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with its own geocentric north node and so will be passing across the ecliptic in the next week from southern into northern latitude (fittingly on February 14 aka Valentine’s Day). This means that the instinctual, subjective emotions and desires that Venus in Aries stirs up will be absolutely essential to integrate and can serve as important guidance in how to more fully engage in the larger changes that want to take shape in our life.

the-turn-of-the-tide.jpg!Large

John Duncan The Turn of the Tide

Just like Venus, Mercury in Pisces is also visible during sunset and in fact will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on February 10 at ten degrees of Pisces. The maximum elongation of Mercury as Evening Star demarcates a shift in speed as it slows down to match the steady course of the Sun. Although Mercury will continue to be visible in the week following the Full Moon, it will increasingly become slower until stationing retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces. This means that issues that will become deeply involved in the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase that will last from February 16 until March 9 will be more obviously rising to the surface in the week following the Full Moon. If you notice old patterns and storylines emerging that could be laid to rest, they can serve as worthy compost during the initial putrefying phase of Mercury retrograde that will last from the stationing of Mercury on February 16 until the inferior conjunction of Mercury on February 25 that will occur two days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

It is notable that not only is Mercury in its fall in Pisces, it is further under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. This does not signify doom but does invite contemplation of ambition and desires for greater power and status within society. Rather than insisting on having our expectations of higher achievement fulfilled, Mercury and Jupiter are in position to facilitate descent into the depths of inner darkness and shadow. There is wisdom and depth to gather in our unconscious underworld if we are willing to undergo the trials we must necessarily encounter when journeying there. From now through the back and forth of Mercury retrograde, we will have the opportunity to regenerate our beliefs and visions of meaning and what we want to create with our life.

Mercury is also mediating the polarity between the lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a trine with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. Furthermore, Mercury is applying to an exact sextile with Pallas Athena in Capricorn, as Pallas Athena is beginning to separate from a recent conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. The collective wounds associated with the misogyny of patriarchy that has its roots in the ancient times that astrology itself was developed have been on full display in the current events that have corresponded with a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Since Mercury in Pisces is more about feeling than articulation, symbol more so than thesis statement, we will have opportunities to deeply feel and reckon with how our thoughts and ideas are systematically conditioned by the times we are living in. These insights will go far beyond words, yet by opening to the possibility of making the inner changes we are capable of making we can begin to strip away however we have been inauthentically conditioned by dominant cultural forces.

Pallas Athena in Capricorn will be an overlooked player in the great planetary drama that will be enfolding in February and March after Mars enters Capricorn on February 16. Pallas Athena will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn that will last all the way through the Aries Equinox into April, with Pallas Athena being present with Jupiter and Pluto when they form their first conjunction on April 4. Pallas Athena is ultimately a symbol of sacred feminine wisdom, and though her mythology has had her wielded as a weapon in the hands of empires of the past, so may she side with the forces of liberation in the present.

paul klee ghost chamber with tall door

Paul Klee (1925) Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (New Version)

The major outer planetary aspect that will form during the waning half of the current lunar cycle will be Jupiter in Capricorn receiving Neptune in Pisces through a waning sextile aspect that will complete on February 20. This will be the first of three sextile aspects that will form between Jupiter and Neptune during 2020 (the others will be on July 27 and October 11), making it a key aspect for the year. The harmonious interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can be helpful in realigning our vision of life this year to be more congruent with all of the changes that have been taking shape in the past year, especially changes corresponding with the last quarter square formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces during 2019.

Within the volatile breakdown of societal structures during 2020, Jupiter and Neptune’s relationship can inspire imaginative ideas for coalescing new growth from whatever dissolution and shedding we have been undergoing personally. In particular, we can gain awareness of old beliefs we need to release that have been interfering with our capacity for more deeply understanding our present circumstances. During the Leo Full Moon, Jupiter is applying within two degrees to an exact sextile with Neptune, as Neptune is simultaneously conjoining the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith. The combination of Neptune with Black Moon Lilith is a potent symbol for how we can become distracted and seduced away from our true authenticity by the myriad forms of illusory media surrounding us and the polarizing political conflicts that have become further exacerbated through manipulative media.

wands07

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Leo Full Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed. As the peak illumination of the Leo Full Moon wanes in the week ahead, open yourself to discovering a symbol of your most soulful purpose to carry through the challenges to come in 2020. Not as a banner to use in imposing your will upon others, but rather as a guiding star you may follow through whatever difficulties and darkness arise.

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References

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

Full Moon in Leo

Lion by Rousseau

The Repast of the Lion (1907) by Henri Rousseau

The Full Moon in Leo on January 23, 2016 illuminates the meaning we have received from Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Aquarius, as Mercury will be stationing while conjoining Pluto. This further means that Mercury retrograde is stationing in range of a square with Uranus in Aries, and so there is something to unearth that speaks of where you sit within the great changes that have swept across our planet in the past five years or so of the Uranus and Pluto square.  In this present moment, with a Full Moon ripening in the sign of the Lion, it is the beast within that clamors for beauty and the creation of a life that brings passion and a sense of validation.  This is a Full Moon in the home of the Sun, with the Sun in Aquarius connecting to the human ability to detach from the dominant narratives running through the mainstream in order to liberate and enable the mind to conceive thoughts free of the systemic static of the status quo. The old constellation image of the Water Bearer associated with Aquarius brings to mind its purifying potential impact when activated, and when the Moon waxes full in its polarity sign of Leo it is the essential force of our burning heart within and all we desire to create that can revivify one’s being.

Mercury is always active and mentally stimulating when retrograde, but since this current Mercury retrograde began in Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio, and ends now in Capricorn conjoining Pluto and in square to Uranus, the effect has brought waves of overwhelming forces to mediate.  Many of you reading this no doubt have had to face some of your deepest fears over the past weeks of this Mercury retrograde, as the landscape of our lives has been in process of being fundamentally altered.  The intensity continues as the Full Moon in Leo is also occurring in range of a square to Mars in Scorpio, and as the Moon begins to wane while still in its full phase it will apply to an exact square with Mars.  These aspects will catalyze desire and bring to mind and body what we want at a core level but have been resisting or felt blocked from manifesting.  If the desire does not seem to be available now, or great obstacles appear to be in the way, it will be far more fruitful to utilize the will force of Mars to work toward the desire rather than erupting with anger or disintegrating with futility.

While Mars is in square to the Full Moon, it is coming into range of a sextile with the conjunction between Pluto and Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and is also closely conjoining Juno in Scorpio.  In the light of this Full Moon one’s relationship needs can be more fully felt, a vision of what one wants in partnership formed in the mind with passionate force.  This does not mean that our current circumstances  hold the possibility of uniting now with the ideal partner, only that the vision brings the potential to ultimately experience the union.  If you are in relationship at this time, this Full Moon will illuminate the unspoken as much as the spoken and whatever has not yet been revealed during this Mercury retrograde will now come into sharp awareness for processing.  While conflict could erupt if communication comes from a place of wounding, there is at the same time potential for healing and deep processing of the underlying forces that have been operating between partners.

volcano crater

Crater of Volcano, Quetzaltenango-Guatemala by Eadweard Muybridge (1875)

The Mercury and Pluto conjunction will be simmering through the rest of January, erupting at times through the surface facades of daily interactions.  Mercury will remain within a degree or two of Pluto into the first week of February, and around the time of the waning last quarter Moon of this lunar cycle Mercury will move direct into another conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus. There is also an added component that Vesta is conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of the Full Moon, and so also in square to the conjunction of Pluto with Mercury retrograde.  With these aspects the mind can now penetrate to the bottom line dynamics of every situation encountered, and feelings previously buried within will emerge.  This is not a time to fear, however, as whatever thoughts and feelings arrive will be absolutely essential to process, heal, and work with in the unknown future to come.  As this Full Moon illuminates what we want to create, use this time with Pluto united with Mercury to explore the depths of the desires emerging to gain greater clarity of the specific aspects and details to center plans around.

The Full Moon in Leo also illuminates the recent ingress of Venus into Capricorn.  As the Moon wanes into the forthcoming New Moon in Aquarius in early February, Venus will move across Capricorn into a conjunction with Mercury and Pluto.  This further re-emphasizes whatever feelings and needs we have resisted expressing due to fear of judgment or rejection- if this has been going on so long that these needs have taken on a monstrous proportion, these aspects support gaining awareness and uncovering the underlying reasons these needs became distorted across time.  For example, we may gain new insight into the imprinting we received from our parents and early development in the society we were born into, leading to the development of our current self-image.  In the waning lunar cycle following this Full Moon in Leo, we can restructure our inner and outer relationships to be in greater alignment with our true emotions and needs.

colour triangle

Johann Heinrich Lambert’s adaptation of Tobias Mayer’s triangle (17772) courtesy of The Public Domain Review

While Mercury is conjoining Pluto over the next week or two, Mercury is also receiving Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo through a trine.  The more we do the deep Mercury-Pluto work of digging into our depths and avoiding denial and escapist pursuits, the more we access the Jupiter-North Node capacity to fully enter the present moment of our material realm and shift life events into a new trajectory in greater alignment with core values and needs.  This is a potent aspect for visioning not only the extraordinary life we dream of living, but discerning the choices available to us now that will take us in this direction.  This is a time to get out of your habitual mind as much as possible and be truly present, embracing every opportunity to look at things differently than ever before.

Further supporting finding new solutions and approaches is a trine between Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries that is now closer in orb than the square between Saturn with Neptune in Pisces.  However, in reality these two very different aspects to transiting Saturn are happening simultaneously, and so radical thoughts and insights will be arising in an atmosphere that will also find us facing disillusionment and skepticism over what aspects of our dreams can manifest in reality.  The unifying principle to connect with the highest potential of both of these transits to Saturn is to not hold back and instead to allow yourself to envision the life you want to live free of the ways you have restricted or repressed yourself previously.  These aspects to Saturn in Sagittarius will be occurring throughout this next year, and so this Leo Full Moon is an opportune time to allow yourself to unleash your imagination and create grand goals to work toward.

wands05

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo I Decan

The Full Moon falls in the first face of Leo, ruled by Saturn and associated with the 5 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot the 5 of Wands card is typically associated with entering into conflict and strife, being confronted and needing to  fight to assert oneself, stand one’s ground, or achieve a desired, prominent position.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the 5 of Wands through the five youth battling for dominance, attention, or the spotlight, the starring role.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.  In addition to “The Spotlight,” Coppock also described the significance of the “magical weapon” of the “Mask” to the power found in the first face of Leo:

 The mask focuses the wearer’s attention on those aspects of their being which are in harmony with the mask’s appearances and enhances one’s ability to express them. The mask serves a similar function with onlookers- it focuses their attention on certain qualities.  The mask is thus the mystical nexus between all of the streams of attention in place . . .

It is interesting to note that the word for mask in Latin is “Persona.”  “Persona” is used in modern English to denote a portion of the psyche, and is the root of the more common term “personality.”  The “persona” does not describe the entire geography of the soul, instead, it describes the social role played by the person . . .

Thus the material of the psyche coalesces and then concretizes into the pattern necessary to function in a given role- the mask. An effective mask creates a nexus point which mediates inside and outside, self and other . . . Masks, like the spotlight which they are created to survive, are perilous tools, for as they are fed by attention they grow stronger, consuming more of the wearer’s energy.  The mask/persona can thus go from being a useful tool to a powerful parasite, feeding off of and devouring their host.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces (p. 123)

The current lunar cycle waxing full in the first face of Leo began with a New Moon in Capricorn that brought news of the death of David Bowie.  Bowie was born with a Moon in the first face of Leo at the same degree as this Full Moon, as well as a Saturn conjoining his Moon also in the first decan of Leo.  Furthermore, David’s Moon is conjunct his descendant, meaning that his ascendant is aligned with the position of the Sun in Aquarius at the time of this Full Moon.  While Bowie’s Moon conjoining Saturn and his descendant is fitting considering how much he thrived upon collaboration with other artists and worked hard to manifest his creativity until the very end of his life, his Moon is also exemplary of the meaning Austin Coppock brought to the first face of Leo in 36 Faces.  As has been celebrated extensively this past week, Bowie was a master of creating masks through which to project his work, taking on a different public identity with each new creative departure.  However, while David Bowie achieved great public acclaim through his talent for mask making, he also became a victim entrapped by the projections of his audience.  As a result, he put his masked identities to death in the process of creating his new identities through which to manifest his art.  It has been said by those who stood close to Bowie on stage that no one else possessed his talent for controlling and directing the attention of a massive audience from stage, and many who met him in person were overwhelmed with the charisma they felt in the meeting place of his gaze.

As David Bowie has been extensively celebrated in the time leading up to this Full Moon, he serves now as a marvelous model for this Full Moon in Leo through his capacity to imagine as well as embody an extraordinary life, vision as well as manifest radical artistic creations that break free from mainstream patterns and conditioning, and direct public attention to his work through the shaping of his public masks.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Neptune and in trine to Uranus, with Mercury retrograde conjoining Pluto while in square to Uranus, and with the square from Mars in Scorpio to this Full Moon in Leo, it is also important to realize the process Bowie went through in destroying each vehicle he created for himself once it no longer aligned with what he authentically desired to create.  Similarly, this Full Moon will guide you to release any mask or persona you have developed to navigate the public sphere that no longer matches how you truly want to be.   Within the catalytic atmosphere of the aspects surrounding this Leo Full Moon, there is a fertile matrix from which to embark in a direction more attuned with the passion arising from within.

References

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

Leo Full Moon

sekhmet

Sekhmet

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits

— John Keats, Endymion

Today’s Full Moon in Leo arrives at the time of Imbolc, the pagan holy day marking the mid-point between the Solstice and the Equinox, a period in which the new impulses seeded at the Solstice that have taken root find a home in our imagination, body, and reality.  Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere is when we sense the coming solar radiance of Spring on the distant horizon, a time to conduct rituals of purification in our home through the lighting of fire. The Celtic Goddess Brigid holds strong resonance with this holy time, a Goddess of poetry, arts, crafts, medicine, sacred wells, and serpents among other significations.  This symbolism is perfect for the astrology expressed through today’s Full Moon, as our solar time in the detached, independent, rational, and analytical Aquarius receives a jolt of passionate creativity from the lustful sign of the Lion-hearted.  Mercury retrograde in Aquarius brings potential to penetrate deeply with our perceptions freed from the constraints of consensus conditioning, and so this Leo Full Moon can feel like an imbibing of poetic inspiration to soak up and more fully feel our recent experiences, expressing ourselves from our inner source of images and vision.  This is an auspicious time to set an intention and create an art or craft to represent our wish for fulfillment.

Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven,
Aquarius! to whom king Jove has given
Two liquid pulse streams ’stead of feather’d wings,
Two fan-like fountains, – thine illuminings
For Dian play:
Dissolve the frozen purity of air;
Let thy white shoulders silvery and bare
Shew cold through watery pinions; make more bright
The Star-Queen’s crescent on her marriage night:
Haste, haste away!

— John Keats, Endymion

This is a Jupiterian Full Moon of purified vision, with a retrograde Jupiter conjunct the Full Moon that is drawing us more deeply inside the personal direction for us to follow in the coming season.   Aquarius is able to help us both de-condition as well as re-structure: in the libation of the Water Bearer we are able to apply reason to our passions, analyze our place within society, and speak out or stand in solidarity against aspects of the status quo that lack humanity. Yet Aquarius likes to have a structure, and being traditionally ruled by Saturn is an excellent conduit for the brilliantly intuitive and non-linear visualization of Jupiter that expands us beyond our previous limitations, yet also needs structure to help our vision take effective form in our reality.  This Full Moon highlights the polarity of Leo to Aquarius that re-focuses our detachment from what we no longer want in our lives into a passionate actualization of the creative destiny we desire to manifest.

griffins horned in gold

Horned Lion Griffins in gold (Iran, 6th -4th Century B.C.) from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Modern astrology schools such as evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green connect Uranus as a ruler of Aquarius, and today’s Leo Full Moon ushers in a renewal of the dynamic interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in a first quarter trine.  At the time of the Full Moon Jupiter and Uranus will be within five degrees of one another, and by the end of February they will be exactly trine.  While Jupiter and Uranus in trine can coincide with dramatic, liberating breakthroughs in thought that take us beyond our former conception of our reality, there is a paradox in today’s astrological aspects that also take us into our past, in a spiral like process of returning to the moment in a new frame of mind.  This is because Jupiter is retrograde in Leo, Uranus is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and we are also still within the Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius.  I do not mean to suggest that we will be stuck in the past, or continuing to re-cycle old patterns of our past, but instead that our sense of our past, the telling of our personal story, can radically shift now and bring us into a place in which we can receive new images and messages about our self and our surrounding world.  Let what is arising within now germinate instead of thinking you need to immediately take action-  this Full Moon in aspect to Uranus is unveiling a message that is in a process of taking form, and we will be gaining greater clarity regarding how to best take action on behalf of it in the coming weeks.

In addition to today’s Leo Full Moon being in trine to the South Node of Moon in Aries, it is also in sextile to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result there is also an important message regarding our relationships to receive now, something that no matter how jarring or upsetting is vital in our process of creating and sustaining relationships that nurture our creative authenticity instead of repressing or limiting it.  This is further emphasized by Mercury retrograde in Aquarius being opposite Juno in Leo in the past week.  Furthermore, with Mars and Venus both in Pisces and in balsamic phase, with Venus conjunct Neptune and Mars conjunct Chiron, this Full Moon heralds a time of releasing the relationships that no longer serve us and magnetizing the relationships that will more effectively help us actualize the vision of our future life we can sense developing from within.  We can feel big love now that is expansive and grandiose like Jupiter, boundless and ethereal like Neptune.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Venus and Neptune in Pisces, we will be confronted with aspects of our reality that may feel challenging, yet can also be seen as guides for how we will need to structure our idyllic intention so that it can effectively exist in reality.

I have clung
To nothing, lov’d a nothing, nothing seen
Or felt but a great dream! O I have been
Presumptuous against love, against the sky,
Against all elements, against the tie
Of mortals each to each, against the blooms
Of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs
Of heroes gone!

— John Keats, Endymion

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6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The association between Jupiter and this Leo Full Moon is further accentuated by the Full Moon being in the second decan of Leo, a decan that is ruled by Jupiter.  The tarot card linked to the second decan of Leo is the Six of Wands, a card that tends to have images associated with triumphant victory such as the strident champion riding a white horse drawn above by Pamela Colman Smith, a conquering hero hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock has analyzed this decan as holding the triumph of great acts performed by those who have created an authentic persona and ego-structure through which  to project their spirit:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees.  Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces

Often times the persona we develop has been molded to acclimate to the relational dynamics within our family and early development, within our community and culture, within our educational system, and within the network of relationships involved in our career path and daily responsibilities.  The polarity from Leo to Aquarius highlighted by today’s Full Moon illuminates the importance of being able to detach from the influences of our surrounding conditioning to the extent necessary for us to find our true voice instead of mimicking those we think will help us succeed in the culture.  Yet while we need to detach enough so that we can self-reflect and discover our personal authenticity, we also need the fixed perseverance of Aquarius and Leo to stand apart and courageously follow the beat of our own heart.  Most vitally, we need the burning passion of Leo to invigorate our cool, purified Aquarian vision with a heart-centered focus that keeps us connected to the needs of our surrounding environment while also bringing forth the unique gift we have to offer from our inner spirit.  When Aquarius connects us to a group of like-minded associations, we inevitably come under the influence of feeling like we need to conform to the norms of the group- for Aquarius to come into it’s full strength we need to activate the Leo polarity of following our own heart instead of the group-mind.

rudy shepherd boko haram

Drawing by Rudy Shepherd of 13 year old girl recruited by ‪‎Boko Haram‬ to blow herself up in Kano, Nigeria, but refused to go through with it.

This Leo Full Moon comes about four days after the core of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Aquarius when Mercury entered the heart of the Sun on January 30, 2015.  Mercury retrograde is now coming into a conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, lending increased levels of focus and perseverance to our Mercurial journey into our depths.  Indeed, all of the major asteroid goddesses are active at this Full Moon, with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius in square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces, Juno in Leo opposite Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, and Ceres coming into a close balsamic conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, in square to Uranus and the nodes of the Moon.  Demetra George has taught that since the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio, they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  In this way the asteroid goddesses are facilitating the journey of Mercury retrograde, and since the Mercury retrograde began at the Aquarius New Moon that has ripened to today’s Full Moon, they are also part of facilitating an important message to us about our place within all of the momentous collective issues arising now.

Indeed, once open to her Pallas Athena and her creative visioning becomes more important, as she is in trine to the Full Moon in addition to being square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces.  There is a fertile opportunity for our beliefs to shift and re-align at this time away from our past conditioning, and the new cycle between Mars and Chiron is important to tune into for a place in your chart where a profound re-vitalization of your Will and desire nature is occurring. There is also a profound yod formed by the Leo Full Moon that is triggered by the Aquarius Sun and anchored by the sextile between Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn.  This waxing, crescent sextile between Mars and Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn is a tremendous growth opportunity for how we can pursue personal desires that also help others in our global environment, all within the network of systematic power structures.  Look to where 14-15 degrees impacts your chart, especially in the signs of Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Leo.

Finally, there is also an intense aspect involving Venus conjunct Neptune and square to Saturn in Sagittarius and in t-square with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo.  There may be feelings to overcome of how we have previously felt rejected by a culture or group, and disillusioning events and experiences that momentarily make us feel lost or confused, but in the end these are all experiences that can be used to shift the way we are interacting in order to be less accommodating to others and more attuned to the direction coming from our Self.  Saturn in square to Venus and Neptune can also bring benefit to anyone willing to put in some disciplined and focused work toward their dreams now.  Feel with your heart and deep within your body the burgeoning new vision and life that is currently underground, beginning to move toward shooting up new shafts of green into your reality.

LeoFullMoonWRIGC1

References

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