New Moon in Cancer: Cronus and the Comet

egrets and crows

Egrets and Crows by Shibata Zeshin

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

— Antonio Machado from “Last Night I was Sleeping” translated by Robert Bly

New Moon in Cancer

The lunar cycle commencing with the Cancer New Moon on July 20 brings transition from the astrology of the past few months, initiating us into the major astrological themes that will be playing out in the next five months. The New Moon in Cancer is separating from an opposition with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn and applying toward an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. It’s exact opposition with Saturn retrograde in Capricorn brings us into the center of Saturn’s retrograde phase when Saturn is closest to us in orbit and in its brightest phase in the night sky. The lunation also initiates a deep encounter with the fallout from the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto that came at the beginning of 2020 and now will be intensifying again until Saturn ultimately stations direct on September 29 less than three degrees away from Pluto.

The New Moon in Cancer is the first lunation to not be eclipsed since the New Moon in Gemini on May 22, and during the forthcoming lunar cycle aspects associated with the past phase of Venus retrograde in Gemini, such as the square between Venus and Neptune, as well as with Mercury retrograde in Cancer, such as the square between Mercury and Mars, will bring resolution to associated narratives by completing the final aspect in their series. The focus of the lunation on Saturn invites unknowing to temper becoming fixated upon feeling like you have already gained clarity regarding the changes that have been developing in recent months. The scythe of Saturn may bring decisive judgment toward certain issues that are in need of harvesting or severing, but in general we are entering an extended period of collective dismantling that will require remaining open to new perspectives and insights that will shift understanding and development of plans. It’s a good time to devote work toward personal goals essential to your core purpose and otherwise allow plans to take shape and adjust to the reordering of societal systems that will be continuing to intensify in the next few months.

The opposition between the Moon in its watery home of Cancer and Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn is at the heart of the lunation. A figure who can hold the tension of the opposites between the Moon and Saturn is Hekate, a lunar goddess of nocturnal pathways (1) who was also associated with the third decan of Cancer where the lunation is taking place by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Hekate’s presence with the lunation illuminates the necessity of facing the darkness of the unknown during a collective crossroads that has been constellated across global civilizations. Hekate connects with the nurturance and nourishment of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hekate can also be viewed as the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, chthonic fertility of Saturn’s home in Capricorn.

With the inner knowing of Hekate, we can let the debris, refuse, and putrefaction of what we have had to shed and let die during recent months to serve as guidance for what wants to emerge from inner dreamscapes and imaginal exploration. Within the unstable and chaotic flux of current events that will continue to be volatilized at a rapid pace, allow awareness to open to new streams of enlivening desires cracking open from within. There may be movements of social justice and activism you become called to participate in, or inner creative directions to follow that will require making space and time to discover where they will lead you.

comet 1300

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, Folio 52 (erschrocklicher Comet, 1300): text at bottom translates as “In 1300 A.D., a terrible comet appeared in the sky and in this year, on St Andrew’s Day, an earthquake shook the ground so that many buildings collapsed. At this time, Pope Boniface VIII established the first jubilee year.”

Comet Neowise

An unexpected visitor to the astrology of July has been the comet Neowise. Although Neowise was first discovered on March 27, 2020 when quarantine and social distancing measures were peaking around the world in response to the pandemic, the comet burst into visibility during July resulting in many stunning photographs of its fiery flare. During the first half of July, the comet was visible in predawn sky and then in mid July shifted into being visible following sunset. Neowise was at the end of Gemini at the end of June and then entered Cancer on July 3 and then Leo on July 18. It will enter Virgo on July 25 and Libra on August 2.  If it remains visible until August 7, it will have made it to about eleven degrees of Libra. As a result, it’s worth considering what sort of meaning the strange visitor has been bringing to the Cancer and Leo areas of your natal chart and what it may portend for the Virgo and Libra places as well.

Scientists say that comets like Neowise are covered in cosmic soot left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, and so as comets approach the Sun in orbit their tails are formed by the solar heat spewing gas and dust across the sky like a flaming stream. While asteroids are rocky fragments left over from the dawn of the solar system, comets have been described as cosmic snowballs of gas and dust that unravel in a fiery tail. Neowise was named for the infrared space telescope orbiting the earth that discovered it, and it was correctly predicted that around July 3 its approach to the Sun in orbit would cause it to become a bright object visible to skywatchers on Earth.  There hasn’t been a comet this bright since 1995 and 1996, and Neowise will not be visible again for 6,800 years due to its extreme elliptical orbit that takes about seven thousand years to go around the Sun.

The astrologer Rod Chang wrote an excellent article on the meaning of comets in astrology you can read here that has suggestions for how to interpret the meaning of Neowise. It is well known that comets have long been viewed as omens of disaster in astrology, and so it isn’t exactly surprising that one would appear during a time of a global pandemic. I particularly like how Rod Chang interpreted the thawing and release of the ancient gas and dust of comets as symbolizing not only “frozen issues that ignite and grab attention, releasing from the abyss of our consciousness such suppressed emotions as fear and horror,” but also the freeing of new ideas and visions. In timing with the Cancer New Moon in opposition with Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter we can be curious about what old, frozen, and crystalized issues are being unravelled as well as what vivifying visions are being enflamed and freed from within.

Like many I had my first glimpse of Neowise at night underneath the constellation of Ursa Major. The living symbolism of Ursa Major in relation to the nocturnal appearances of Neowise is striking, for Ursa Major has long been seen as a Great Bear and Great Goddess standing guard at the central point and pole of the sky (2). Attuning with Ursa Major brings relationship with the Great Protector at the center of stillness of our world, and so as we center within our own core stillness we may also center within the many disruptive and disastrous changes erupting around the world. From this central point of stillness, open to how you can align with the wider collective changes taking shape and follow the path and vision bursting into awareness like the fiery flame of a comet.

tomorrow is never kay sage

Tomorrow is Never (1955) Kay Sage

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
Walking makes the road,
and turning to look behind
you see the path that you
will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road,
only foam trails on the sea.

— Antonio Machado from “Proverbios y cantares” in Campos de Castilla, 1912

The dismantled architecture of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn that is in the middle of regeneration will be further volatilized and reshaped by the fiery heat of Mars in Aries during the forthcoming lunar cycle. By the time of the Full Moon in Aquarius on August 3, Mars in Aries will be forming a square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn and will then move into forming a square aspect with Pluto it will complete on August 13. By the time of the New Moon in Leo on  August 18, Mars in Aries will be within two degrees of an exact square with Saturn in Capricorn. Due to Mars moving direct and Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn all moving retrograde, these will all be mutually applying aspects that will catalyze events dramatically. The impact of Mars can incite hard work and determined effort towards goals as well as lead to further shattering of societal systems and structures.

It is notable that Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn are all in the exaltation of Mars while Mars is in the fall of Saturn. Combined with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn also occupying a superior position in the square aspect, it portends a difficult and destructive journey for Mars through Aries. Due to Mars stationing retrograde in Aries at the beginning of September, there will end up being three different passages of Mars forming a square aspect with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto as well as three conjunctions with the disruptive dwarf planet Eris between now and January 2021. Thus whatever is stirred up by Mars in Aries during the forthcoming lunar cycle will only be the first installment of a dramatic saga, and so while we may gain a sense of some of the issues that will become important there will be many more developments before the full story is told. Although Mars in Aries can strike quickly and ask questions later, it will be advisable to keep the long game in mind, conserve energy, and continue to cultivate strategy to contend with arising challenges.

At the same time that Mars is initiating a sequence of square aspects, Venus in Gemini will be bringing to a close a sequence of three square aspects it has made with Neptune in Pisces that first occurred on May 3 and May 20, 2020. Venus will form an exact square with Neptune on July 27, and so the final lessons and awareness from the sequence will take shape in the week following the New Moon. There has likely been a combination of disillusioning as well as inspiring experiences in correspondence with the square between Venus and Neptune that have stirred imagination and activated idealism. With Venus direct and increasing in light and speed as a Morning Star, be curious in questioning and exploring the deeper meaning of associated events and how you can use the inspirational aspects to create the changes you wish to see happen.

paul klee departure of the ghost

Departure of the Ghost (1931) by Paul Klee

As the Moon unites with the Sun in darkness, Mercury in Cancer will be mutually applying to a tight square with Chiron retrograde in Aries as well as applying toward a volatilizing square aspect with Mars in Aries that it will complete on July 27. Mercury stirring things up with Chiron and Mars can bring contention that requires increased focus and determination in response. As current events will continue to make collective debate even more polarized, it will be easy to become pulled into verbal disputes so pick your battles wisely. By setting focused intention on whatever plans you have clarified as being important to your purpose, it can help in navigating through divisive distractions so you can use your energy for the work and relationships that are most important to you.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star two days after the New Moon on July 22, demarcating the phase when Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase, making it a productive time to work on or embody whatever new ideas and awareness were discovered during the destabilizing and regenerative period of Mercury retrograde at the end of June and beginning of July.

cups04

4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third face of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the Four of Cups image we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree considering three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground. While the figure appears be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice, a fourth cup has become magically offered by an otherworldly hand. Ruled by the Moon and Jupiter, it’s a face in which we must come to terms with available resources and questions of our fair share and how much is enough.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others” (3). Coppock noted that the ascetic air of the figure in the Four of Cups refusing to accept more than he needs reflects having awareness of the “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.”  Yet in the way the figure also appears to be conjuring the magical fourth cup, Coppock declared that the third face of Cancer also involves the spiritual dimension of abundance and luxury,  the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,”  and the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things.” As previously mentioned, the connection of Hekate with this face in the 36 Airs also reveals the chthonic fertility of the third decan of Cancer and its capacity to magically manifest what we need to survive.

With the Moon in its own face and domicile as it is reanimated in the heart of the Sun, its stark opposition with Saturn will draw attention toward the availability of resources and the limitations and restrictions you must contend with. The contemplative nature of Saturn will also demand ethical questions concerning pursuing wealth for yourself versus helping others in need of support through service or charitable giving. With many out of work or facing severe economic barriers related to the pandemic, many will be feeling the constraint and contraction of Saturn through feeling restrained by available resources and afraid concerning the uncertainty of the unknown future. The connection of Hekate with the decan of the Cancer New Moon points to the need of cultivating faith in the unknown, facing our fears, setting intention, and descending into the darkness of the lunation to discover what will emerge as the Moon waxes toward fullness in light once again.

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References

(1) Burkert, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press.

(2) Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

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

Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23 follows closely behind the Cancer Solstice in which our Sun stands still, as well as the rebirth of Mercury within the heart of the Sun.  The solstice in Cancer is one of the peak moments of the year, the beginning of Summer in our northern hemisphere and the beginning of Winter in our southern hemisphere.  This year as our Sun stood still at the pinnacle of its furthest northerly reach, Mercury united within its fiery rays for an extremely powerful superior conjunction of the Star of Hermes with our Light of Spirit.  The longest day in our northern hemisphere and the longest night in our southern hemisphere, the Cancer Solstice pulls us within to explore the deepest desires of our heart, while also calling us to express our feelings and visions in our wider community, finding appropriate forms and mediums through which to communicate our message.

The last time Mercury formed a superior conjunction with our Sun was in March at the beginning of the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Following Mercury’s union with the Sun during its retrograde in April, Mercury spent an extended period of time moving backward and the forward again in union with Uranus.  The first half of 2017 has brought significant shifts, some unexpected and all necessary, as we moved from a period of eclipses into extremely volatile phases of Venus and Mercury retrogrades.  The Cancer New Moon comes at the perfect time to look backward to the first half of the year and what has and has not come into manifestation, while looking forward with focus on configuring what we need to shift and restructure in order to bring more of our desires into form and expression.  The second half of 2017 will continue to bring volatility and immense change.  As a result, the Cancer New Moon is ideal for centering within and nurturing ourselves and loved ones with intimate attention.  Tenderness and gentle strength that calms and soothes volatilized nerves will be important medicine in the lunar cycle ahead.

hilma-af-climt-2

by Hilma af Klint

Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so the New Moon in Cancer is always an especially powerful moment for setting intention.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of initiation and leadership that simultaneously connects with the emotional realm within as well as the emotions of those we meet in relationship.  Cancer holds our memories and in the reflection of its waters we catch glimpses of our essential nature and most cherished desires.  While the season of Cancer may make us think of ruminating over past memories, the current New Moon in Cancer is most vital in terms of making new memories that will enliven our passion for life and bring sustenance to our sense of soul.  This is a New Moon with which to launch yourself into living life fully in the moment, seizing the opportunities brought by day and night to receive the pleasure of being alive.  Humanity on our planet has been going through a difficult time of immense suffering on many levels, and the amount of change and reform in need of being enacted can feel overwhelming to achieve on an individual level.  The Cancer New Moon will support expressing yourself into your wider community and in so doing discovering collaborators who possess a sense of mutual purpose.

Mercury separating from the Sun while applying toward a conjunction with Mars is an important aspect of the New Moon, for in the lunar cycle ahead Mercury will unite with Mars in opposition to Pluto while both are invisible under the beams of the Sun, and then as Mercury emerges as an Evening Star around July 4 it will form a catalyzing square with Uranus in Aries.  Allow Mercury to soothe and open up whatever defense mechanisms have been internally preventing you from risking your heart in action.  As Mercury gets closer and closer to Mars, look for remediation outlets to express passions through so that they are less likely to become bottled up and unleashed in anger.  Its likely that many aspects of collective current events will incite anger and inspire action, and so this is also an excellent New Moon to look around your community for volunteer, service, or organizing opportunities.  Mercury combined with Mars can be volatile, yet in the end Mercury loves to connect and bridge and so by taking action there can be significant new connections made linked with purpose.

Hilma_af_Klint_-_1922_-_Birch

Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

Mars is playing a leading role in the New Moon as it is applying closely to a square with Jupiter in Libra.   Mars is currently invisible under the beams of the Sun, undergoing a period of purification and regeneration that will not complete until the Sun unites with Mars in Leo on July 26.  As a result the Mars square with Jupiter is potent and will dredge up deep issues of ambition and desire, some of which is in need of shedding while other aspects can be returned to our inner soil to reseed future visions.  Mars in Cancer is known as being in its “fall” since it is the opposite sign of its exaltation in Capricorn, and yet there is an interesting aspect in which Jupiter is receiving Mars through the square since Mars being in Cancer means it is in the exaltation of Jupiter.  An empowering interpretation can be found through realizing the wisdom we can gain when pursuing passionate desires even when we do not achieve our intended success.  The importance is in taking action and risking our emotional involvement and full presence.  It will be important to not become overly critical of ourselves for not having already achieved certain grand ambitions, but rather acknowledge and find value in whatever point of our journey we find ourselves within.

Mars in Cancer can bring about emotional outbursts and so it will be vital to find appropriate outlets for our feelings and focus on the relationships that can offer us nurturance and support.  The period from June 28 through July 4 is important to be aware of, as Mercury will unite with Mars and then oppose Pluto as Mars also forms an opposition with Pluto, followed by Mercury forming a challenging square with Uranus in Aries.  Further interesting is that just before Mars and Mercury enter into these intense aspects, they will have recently formed a supportive trine with Neptune in Pisces.  It will help to find work and projects you can pour your heart and energy into without become overly upset if the results do not match your idealized expectations.  There is tremendous power and inspiration found within these aspects, and we will gain strength through courageously engaging life fully rather than withdrawing through fear or defense mechanisms.

Another significant intersection between personal planets with the transpersonal at the Cancer New Moon is Venus in Taurus applying closely to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  At the previous New Moon in Gemini, Venus was in a square with Pluto that brought up some deep issues we can now integrate and find deeper stability around.  The trine from Venus to Pluto can also help us deepen intimacy with both ourselves and others through opening ourselves to the sort of full emotional involvement that facilitates buried issues reemerging into the light of conscious awareness.   Venus in Taurus can help stabilize and harmonize whatever has become out of balance, so look for ways to embrace Venus in your life in whatever forms bring you pleasure and comfort.  While opening ourselves to deep emotions may not always feel pleasurable, significations of Venus such as music, color, food, and intimacy can be a balm that helps us cross over the threshold of old inner obstacles.

cups02

2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche.  We can also find a connection between Venus with the first face of Cancer and the Two of Cups through the inner values that underlie all of our relationship dynamics with others, a source that can alchemize magical healing and power within the relationships that resonate with our essence.  The New Moon in Cancer is ideal for honoring the relationships that receive, support, and protect our unique expression and presence.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104).  Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted” (p. 105).

As the lovers in the image of the Two of Cups are greeting one another with chalices, consider at the Cancer New Moon what sort of chalice you are carrying into your relationships.  Who are you willing to share your chalice with and why, for what reasons.    The relationships in which equity and reciprocity coexist naturally will emerge with magnetic force in the lunar cycle ahead and will feel most deserving to share in mutual nurturance.  Remember to also pour an offering to the Earth and Spirit, and set intention to manifest your most cherished desires in the season ahead.

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Mönch_am_Meer_-_Google_Art_Project

Caspar David Friedrich (1810) The Monk by the Sea

New Moon in Cancer

Memories envelope the New Moon in Cancer on 4 July 2016, memories which nourish as well as memories which torment with the pang of loss.  The Moon is home in Cancer, and the blackness of the New Moon lacking solar light signifies the pure, raw emotions of the lunar realm.  The Moon’s constant waxing and waning, reflecting and holding the light of the Sun, illustrates why we associate Cancer and the Moon with the ebb and flow of our moods and the ever present influence of our memories.  We hold memories of past loves and peak emotions in Cancer and the Moon, as well as remembrances of family, cultural, and ancestral origins.  While memories bring sustenance and source our flights of imaginative vision, the reminiscences of our most blissful times can also become torturous in the pain of losing their source.  Attachments to memory can overburden us when grieving what we have lost, and can also be sources of disruptive illusions in those attached to sentimental nostalgia rather than the arising change of the moment.  In collective events there has been a Nationalistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and bigoted monstrosity raging that has its roots in a nostalgia for cultural illusions of the past. The positive message found in the Cancer New Moon is resolution through reconciling the past with the present, and in the stillness of a reflective moment experiencing the flowering of grace.

The New Moon in Cancer brings a cathartic release through its opposition to Pluto.   Instead of a soft and supple lunar goddess we will feel more in the protective presence of a hard and skeletal Santa Muerte.  Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, in the resulting dismemberment we are given the opportunity to reassemble ourselves into a more authentic presence, remembering our essentiality through the dismembering.

Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche associated Pluto with Dionysus because it shatters and brings forth new forms in transit, and dismemberment also circulates through the stories involving Dionysus.  James Hillman in Mythic Figures wrote that the dismemberment of Dionysus is “necessary for awakening the consciousness of the body,” because the loss of central control resurrects the light of each separate organ making up the whole.  Hillman saw this alchemical dismemberment as an awareness that can cut through the “habitual ways we have ‘grown up’ and ‘grown together,’” by making us aware of the light found within each distinct part of our body- so it is not really a process, and “not a movement from integration to dis-integration to re-integration.”  It is more of a loosening that “results in the activation of the psychic life of the organs.”  Similarly, within the chaos of recent collective events that has caused fear and destruction in multitudes, the Cancer New Moon brings an opportunity to reawaken from within, impacting the external world through healing and vivifying internal fractures.

JMWTurner_Sunrise_with_Sea_Monsters

J.M.W. Turner (1844) Sunrise with Sea Monsters

Modern astrology associates Cancer with mothers, the womb, and birth, and in ancient astrology Cancer was noted as the rising sign and first house of the thema mundi, the birth of the universe.  The New Moon occurs in the second decan of Cancer, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces noted that the fragmentary Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Heracles to this decan, the legendary hero who was tormented from birth by his stepmother Hera.  My good friend Jason Holley gave a brilliant talk linking Cancer and the Moon with Heracles at the recent Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) of 2016.  In the Greek myth connected with the constellation of Cancer, a crab was sent by Hera to attack Heracles as he was engaged in battle with the Hydra.  After the armored crustacean emerged from the watery depths and charged, sideways, toward Heracles as its claws protruded into the ankles of the hero, Heracles obliterated the crab with his foot.  From the shattering of the crab, Hera thus placed it into the sky as a constellation rewarding its service to her.

In his talk “Exquisite Attunement: the Moon and Empathy,” Jason Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm.  Hera’s wrath stems from her being betrayed and abandoned, similar to a devaluing of the lunar realm that sees the fertile void as valueless.  Hera nurtured the Hydra to destroy Heracles, and the Nemean Lion has been said to have fallen from the Moon, sprung from Selene and brought forth at the bidding of Hera.  Holley interpreted Hera’s desire to attack Heracles as an undermining of the solar self that seeks to bring the self back down into the unconscious and the emotional body.  The crab emerging from the lake has come ashore from the undifferentiated unconscious, yet as Heracles shows is vulnerable to attack.  Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority.

The Cancer New Moon is fruitful in terms of regaining inner security and authority following a period of loss and disillusionment that has caused deep questioning of one’s value and how it is accepted and nurtured by others.  The New Moon is separating from a trine with Neptune and therefore pulling away from the square between Saturn and Neptune, applying toward harmonious aspects with its own lunar nodes.  Following its opposition to Pluto, the waning Moon will form an exact sextile with Jupiter and conjunction with Venus.  The embrace of loved ones will be a balm that calms, but the true potency of this New Moon is found through genuine self love and discovering security that is not dependent upon approval or admiration from others.

georgia black abstraction

Georgia O’Keefe (1927) Black Abstraction

The New Moon is also notable for intention setting related to all things Mars, as Mars is finally direct in Scorpio and beginning to slowly generate momentum in the black of the Moon. The opposition between Pluto and the New Moon reinforces the slow metamorphic feeling, akin to the tension of a butterfly wing struggling against the confines of the releasing chrysalis.  Mars moving forward again in the final decan of Scorpio is a slow inferno burning off desires needed to be laid to rest, a funeral pyre releasing and transfiguring what has passed away.

Those who have felt confused or thwarted in action during the Mars retrograde, or hung up on past pain that continued to poison rather than purify, will now be able to feel greater capacity to navigate into favorable currents of change and forward momentum.  Laying desires to rest is never easy, and when dealing with heartbreak or mourning the pain may never be fully released. With Mars beginning to move direct again, however, there is powerful support to commit to a path and the practical actions and steps in need of the zealous force of Mars.  The quincunx from Uranus and trine to Chiron are further indications of the depth of material being purged and purified in the forward crawl of Mars.

klee rhine at duisburg

Paul Klee (1937) The Rhine at Duisburg

my way is in the sand flowing
between the shingle and the dune
the summer rain rains on my life
on me my life harrying fleeing
to its beginning to its end

my peace is there in the receding mist
when I may cease from treading these long shifting
thresholds
and live the space of a door
that opens and shuts

— Samuel Beckett

Mercury is applying to a conjunction with the New Moon, approaching its superior conjunction with the Sun in which it is on the far side of the Sun in orbit from Earth.  Mercury reaches its Superior Conjunction a couple days after the New Moon on July 6, where Mercury rules from the throne at the heart of the Sun and is strengthened in all of its significations.  At the time of the New Moon, Mercury is combust meaning it is undergoing a period of purification and regeneration in the flames of the Sun.  With Mercury in Cancer it is possible moods, memories, emotions, or fears circulating could overwhelm capacity to maintain centered focus, especially within a tumultuous environment of chaotic collective events stirring up hysteria.

Although this phase of Mercury can feel overwhelming,  the surrounding potent aspects to Mercury suggest epiphanies can be unveiled.  The Mercurial atmosphere will contain moments to soak within the elements of our past whose memories will nourish us going forward, while simultaneously opening to a regenerated presence. Insights into one’s family or ancestral karma and influences can be found, as well as greater awareness of relational patterns and emotional dynamics we have been constellating.  As a result, the New Moon supports intention setting for a strengthened sense of inner security less needful of external attachments to feel stable.

cups03

3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The second face of Cancer where the New Moon occurs is associated with the 3 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The mirthful image of merriment radiates mellifluous metaphors, a tarot card that signifies harmonious collaborations of inspired thought and creativity.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “a walled garden in which something precious is kept” to this face, adding an element not obvious from the above image:  the need of protection and nurturing to allow for an incubating space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance.  A glance through images of this face from ancient texts reveal a profusion of beautiful women of melodious voice, some “seated on a snake-throne” (Yavanajataka) and all adorned with flowers or wreathed in myrtle (Picatrix, The Beginning of Wisdom, 777).  A man appears in Three Books of Occult Philosophy in this decan, dressed elegantly in style and engrossed in play.

The second decan of Cancer is ruled by Mercury.  Mercury at the moment of the New Moon is applying to a trine with Neptune as well as a conjunction with the Sun and Moon.  After Mercury separates from its conjunction with the Sun, it will be opposing Pluto and then receiving a sextile from Jupiter in Virgo.  Mercury is in position to mediate the fracturing and ruptures created by the last quarter squares between Saturn and Neptune, and Saturn and Jupiter.  Though current events are rife with destruction, murder, and desperation, though many are wrestling with struggles and fears over poverty, if one can enter into a protected space of nourishment the astrological aspects of this New Moon can also foster enlivening creativity and collaboration.  Joining with others to create structured and protective spaces that filter out the mayhem of the surrounding world can help to circulate and amplify the potential for shared fulfillment and beauty.  This can be a beautiful time to share your own precious gifts with others while being emotionally present to receive the inspiriting blessings of what others have to share.

Fig-tree, for such a long time now, there has been meaning for me,
in the way you almost wholly omit to flower
and urge your pure secret, unheralded,
into the early, resolute fruit.
Like the jet of a fountain, your arched bough
drives the sap downward, then up: and it leaps from its sleep
barely waking, into the bliss of its sweetest achievement.
See: like the god into the swan
……….We, though, linger,
ah, our pride is in flowering, and, already betrayed,
we reach the late core of our final fruit.
In a few the urge to action rises so powerfully,
that they are already waiting and glowing with their heart’s fullness
when the temptation to flower, like the mild night air,
touches their tender mouths, touches their eyelids:
heroes perhaps, and those chosen to vanish prematurely,
in whom Death the gardener wove different veins.
These plunge ahead: they go before their own smile,
like the team of horses in the slightly
hollowed-out relief of Karnak’s victorious pharaoh.

The hero is strangely close to those who died young. Lasting
doesn’t contain him. Being is his ascent: he moves on,
time and again, to enter the changed constellation
his risk entails. Few could find him there. But
Destiny, that darkly hides us, suddenly inspired,
sings him into the tempest of his onrushing world.
I hear no one like him. All at once I am pierced
by his darkened sound carried on streaming air.

Then, how gladly I would hide from the yearning: O if I,
if I were a boy, and might come to it still, and sit,
propped on the future’s arms, and reading about Samson,
how his mother first bore nothing, and then all.

Was he not a hero already, O mother, in you, did not
his imperious choice begin inside you?
Thousands seethed in the womb and willed to be him,
but see: he grasped and let go, chose and achieved.
And if he shattered pillars, it was when he burst
out of the world of your flesh into the narrower world,
where he went on choosing, achieving. O mothers of heroes,
O sources of ravening rivers! Ravines into which
weeping girls have plunged
from the high heart’s edge, future offerings to the son.
Because, whenever the hero stormed through the stations of love,
each heartbeat, meant for him, lifting him onward,
he turned away, stood at the end of the smiles, someone other.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sixth Elegy, Duino Elegies

References

Beckett, Samuel. (1977). Collected Poems in English and French. Grove Press.

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

Hillman, James. (2007). Mythic Figures. Spring Publications, Inc.

New Moon in Cancer

New Moon in Cancer

La Nascita (The Birth) by Marc Chagall (1911)

Cancer New Moon

New Moons are a time of visioning and nurturing the intentional seed we plant in the hidden depths of fecund darkness.  Cancer is a sign associated with birth, the creation of new life from the wombs of mothers, the arising of a new season at solstice, and the development of our personal identity from the matrix of our soul.  The New Moon in Cancer on July 15, 2015 falls in the final decan of Cancer and brings to our awareness a sense of separation from sources of past comfort and a vague dawning of realization into the new direction arising out of this dark genesis.  Creating a new lunar cycle following a Full Moon in Capricorn that was conjunct Pluto on July 1, this New Moon in Cancer resurrects the potency of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus we have lived through in the past several years, as it is square to Uranus in Aries while Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer and directly opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

As an infant must bravely breathe in air separated from the sheltered nurturing of the womb, so must our identity shed the comfort of past security attachments if we wish to embody the full radiance of our potential in the moment.  Amplifying the air with instinctual individualism is a Uranus currently stationing in Aries, standing still by zodiac degree from our earthbound perspective and preparing to turn retrograde in less than two weeks.  Since the New Moon in Cancer is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries, it triggers the discomfort, insecurity, anxiety, or fear that can strike from within when we realize that the burning force beckoning us to embody a liberated presence creates the possibility and even likelihood that we will become disconnected in the process from our ties to family, culture, and other elements of the accustomed reality we take comfort in.

We may find it necessary now to create a sacred space of some sort to nurture the vulnerability we feel in the unfolding of our current creativity.  Even when we consciously have desire to free ourselves from the conditioning of culture and the way we felt our family of origin limited our full creative actualization, a fear of losing the security we gain from our relationship with these same influences can still overcome us.  In addition, due to sensitively observing authorities in positions of power taking advantage of the more vulnerable, we can also come to fear the potential impact of expressing our full power into the world around us.  Synthesizing together the strength that can come from hard aspects between Cancer, Capricorn, and Aries, we can ultimately learn to take the responsibility for expressing our personal power in a way that protects and empowers ourselves and our relationships.  Yet the calamitous aspects held by this New Moon of Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn in Scorpio in square to Venus and Jupiter in Leo, means that there will be a number of oppressive power dynamics between people on display in our surrounding environment to observe and mediate.

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

Image of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 13, 2015

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

It is simply incredible that as the first images of Pluto enter our consciousness through the completion of the epic journey of the New Horizons spacecraft, Mercury is exactly conjunct Mars and in opposition to Pluto, while Saturn shapes structure in the Plutonic sign of Scorpio.  It is further fitting that this binary planet named for the Lord of Souls and the Ferryman of the Underworld claimed center stage in mainstream media in the dark of a balsamic Moon that was opposite Pluto.  Whatever shift in collective consciousness happens as a result begins to build in accordance with a potent New Moon that places the messenger (Mercury) and will-force (Mars) of consciousness in a full polarity to Pluto.

Due to a number of astrological factors, in the past couple of months there has been an emphasis on a new quality of Mars to exert through an influence of Mercury.  Mercury is an unstable planet of wild extremes and variation in speed, and so while on the one hand it can bring challenges in our ability to focus our Martian drive, on the other hand when we align instinctually with their unified energy it brings the eloquent cleverness of Hermes to our life force of desire.  With Mercury and Mars unified in polarity to Pluto, we need to be ready for the possibility of extreme power conflicts and emotional confrontations occurring around us.  Yet on a personal level, there is also an initiation found in this aspect to journey into our core depth to discover a regenerated treasure of gifts from within to begin to integrate and express in the cycle ahead.  There is a purification involved in this process, as Mercury is now under the beams of the Sun and preparing to enter into the heart of the Sun a week from now around the first quarter Moon, while Mars is also under the beams having already united with the Sun and beginning to get some clarified separation away from the fiery center of our solar system.  Emotions may feel raw and overly sensitive, but are the material through which we can now gain penetrating insight into the core emotional patterns and compulsions most in need of attention.

Venus stationing

La Paresse by Felix Vallotton (1896)

Venus stationing

Meanwhile, our Queen of pleasure, luxury, and glamour, Venus in Leo, is slowing down and preparing to station at the time of this New Moon in Cancer.  Venus is now at the final degree of Leo and in a few days will enter Virgo where she will station retrograde on July 25- meaning that basically for the next few weeks Venus is not going anywhere and holding space at the first degree of Virgo and final degrees of Leo.  This would be intense under any circumstance, but is so even more as Venus is conjunct Jupiter and in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio.  As Saturn is stationing direct at the beginning of August and will also be standing still then, this means that from now through the beginning of August we get to experience the seriousness of Venus in a last quarter square to Saturn, while simultaneously buoyed with a sense of expansive vision by Jupiter.  Venus now in Leo, soon to be in Virgo, in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio, brings about a reorientation of our inner values that at times could feel severe as the scythe of Saturn cuts away the old value structures that must now be released.  At this moment, we are only at the precipice of a deep transformation with many dramatic experiences coming our way.

Thus, while we may feel a burning sense of desire through the union of Venus and Jupiter, their last quarter square to Saturn brings a constricting sense of an obstacle or major challenge standing between us and the full manifestation and experience of our desire.  Powerful work on an inner level and on an outer level through our vocation and creative expression can come about through this aspect, but we are being asked to be disciplined, focused, organized, and thorough in our approach if we wish to realize the full potential available to us.  This is not a lighthearted skip through the woods singing without a care in the world, but rather a courageous and focused trek into a deep region of the forest we have previously avoided exploring.   This is not to say that it will not be possible to experience moments of pure pleasure and luxuriation, as in fact bringing a sense of joy to our daily experience will be a vital help.  It is only to suggest that if we bring passion into our work with a sense of disciplined persistence to work through the upcoming obstacles, on the other side of these aspects we can experience a deep sense of fulfilled desire.

Cancer III Decan

4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer III Decan

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and so is a potent place for a New Moon, a particularly auspicious new lunation to set intentions toward the new direction sensed from within.  In the image of the 4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered out of thin air by an otherworldly hand.  The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, and appears to either not notice the fourth cup or be dismissive of it.  In fact, this protagonist’s stance of crossed arms, crossed legs, and eyes cast down suggests someone unwilling to go after what is being offered, perhaps until after completing an inner exploration.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces found that the third decan of signs are synonymous with the “Solve” phase of separation in alchemy in which “the constituent pieces must part ways,” similar to “the spirit forced to separate from the matter,” and “those factors which press for an abandonment of the balance created in the second” decan of the sign (p. 264-265).  Along this line of thought Coppock gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the Cancer III decan, declaring that it “juxtaposes the advantages and dangers of luxurious excess with the truth of scarcity” (p. 115).  Our cherished sense of luxury we desire is shown in contrast here to a sense of scarcity rooted in “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 116).  Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the 4 of Cups tarot card with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.

Importantly, Coppock additionally linked the karmic significance of further investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works, so as “to be a conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” (p. 116).  Furthermore, he brought up the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter.  Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain.  Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled.  This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless.  (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the great goddess Hekate with the Cancer III decan.   Hekate  ruled over the three phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, and also crossroads, magical craft, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  In short, we could not have a better spirit to associate with the dark richness of this Plutonic New Moon than Hekate, and it is worth remembering there is a long tradition of praying to Hekate in order to receive wealth.  Hekate is also a goddess of midwives, and therefore an apt ally for us in the intense birthing process that will follow this Cancer New Moon.

CancerNewMoonWRIGC1

References

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