New Moon in Sagittarius
The New Moon in Sagittarius arrives at the close of 2017, a few days before the Capricorn Solstice and the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and peak time of light in the southern hemisphere. The threshold we cross at the New Moon also involves the end of two different cycles of Saturn: the end of Saturn’s cycle over the past year with the Sun, as well as the end of Saturn’s journey over the past three years through the sign of Sagittarius. On December 19 Saturn will enter Capricorn, and on December 21 we will experience the amazing alignment of Saturn entering the heart of the Sun and beginning a new synodic cycle on the same day as the Solstice. The visionary significations of Sagittarius are amplified at the New Moon as Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and the Sun and Moon are all co-present in the sign of the Centaur; and yet, there is a tension at play between the expansive thrust of Sagittarius and the impending shift into the condensed, disciplined, and persevering qualities of Capricorn that will dominate the coming lunar cycle.
Mercury is a vital player to listen to within the final symphonic movement of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius we are experiencing at the New Moon. We are at the final stage of Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, as Mercury will station direct at the same time as the Capricorn Solstice and the union of the Sun and Saturn in the sign of the Sea Goat. Mercury is orbiting in between our Earth and our Sun and similarly the presence of Hermes will demand our attention as Mercury stands still (from zodiac perspective) in a catalyzing aspect with Neptune in the week following the New Moon. Mercury calls us to descend into our inner darkness and reflect upon how are beliefs about life are interfacing with our actual experience of life. The New Moon calls for an uncompromising assessment of what has been happening for us in the material world rather than what we wish would be happening in imaginal space. Mercury offers the gift of shifting perspectives and beliefs to better align with the hard work and determined problem solving that will be needed in the coming season.
Adding creative fire to the lunation is the harmonious trine formed between Uranus in Aries with the Sagittarius New Moon, with Venus in Sagittarius closely applying to a trine with Uranus. The asteroid Pallas Athene is also united with Uranus in Aries, and the mythic significations of Athene such as far ranging vision and strategy are available to engage with in figuring out needed course corrections. Uranus can bring unexpected events but also opens fields of perception to simultaneously remember our past as well as liberate ourselves from whatever has kept us stuck in limiting patterns of thought. If we can align our hopes and desires for our future with grounding in the needed work of daily life, the trine between Uranus and the New Moon can facilitate breaking free of stagnant habits and the birth of presence needed to make real the type of “new year resolutions” traditionally made at the threshold between calendar years.
With regard to the coming shift of Saturn into Capricorn, the darkness of the New Moon invites rumination over the past three years since Saturn entered Sagittarius on 23 December 2014, enabling us to be prepared and ready for what is to come with the shift of Saturn into Capricorn. In the coming season of amplified Capricorn atmosphere, we will have opportunities to make strides in building structures to support our core desires and visions. Yet to reach the potential of Saturn in Capricorn we will also need to let go of the elements of our life that have been needlessly dissipating energy and resources so we can be as efficient and direct as possible in action.
Jupiter in Scorpio rules the Sagittarius New Moon and is in the middle of two pivotal aspects with Mars in Scorpio as well as the transiting lunar nodes. Since Jupiter is in the home of Mars, Mars being at home in Scorpio bolsters and supports Jupiter and makes our experience of Jupiter as intensely Scorpio as possible. There is tenacious determination available in pursuit of goals and greater support for persevering through whatever obstacles are in the way of desired outcomes. Yet the square between Jupiter and the transiting lunar nodes creates the climate of a crossroads on both personal and collective levels. Accountability is being demanded, as well as a piercing analysis into how we have been conducting ourselves in pursuit of desires.
Mars in Scorpio at its highest expression is a fierce protector who will unconditionally devote itself to guarding the vulnerable, while Jupiter in Scorpio adds amplified intuition and the capacity to transcend former limitations. With the transiting North Node of the Moon in Leo and the transiting South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, it is necessary at the Sagittarius New Moon to penetrate into how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture and realize how this has influenced our values and desires. It is a perfect time to reflect upon what aspects of our beliefs and goals have had more to do with fitting in with group dynamics and societal norms more so than how we can truly manifest our gifts in service to what our surrounding community actually needs. Jupiter in Scorpio is demanding exploration of difficult questions and uncomfortable answers about our collective culture; on personal levels we have the opportunity for purification and release of past influences while embodying deeper integrity aligned with the core values that stand up to the test.
The trine between Neptune in Pisces with Jupiter in Scorpio can help with feelings of disillusionment regarding the surrounding world so that we can form a vision of life that is simultaneously inspirational as well as more realistic and grounded. Instead of trying to escape reality or distract ourselves in denial, we have the opportunity in the coming lunar cycle to take practical steps toward helping to create the type of world we want to live within. At the same time, the challenging square formed between Chiron in Pisces with the Sagittarius New Moon signifies the indescribable pain that can be felt through witnessing both the suffering of the world and the lack of appropriate response by power structures. Within the coming influence of Saturn in Capricorn in the year ahead, we will need to take the responsibility to protect and nurture rather than expect it to come from outside sources.
After Saturn enters Capricorn as the Moon waxes full, both Mars and Saturn will be at home in their own signs, strengthening the resolve to bring about the significations of Saturn and Mars in our life. As a result the coming lunar cycle will be more about perseverance than normal, enduring challenges while striving for whatever we need to make happen for ourselves or others. As the Moon builds with light into the coming Cancer Full Moon on January 1, Mars will move within three degrees of an applying conjunction with Jupiter as well as a square to the lunar nodes. We can expect the collective atmosphere of heated conflict to not only continue but intensify, and so within the tumult we will need to make careful choices and decisions so we will be aligned with the highest good.
Sagittarius 3 Decan
The Sagittarius New Moon falls in the third decan of Sagittarius associated with the 10 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above. Human toil, endurance and perseverance are some of the immediate associations evoked by the image of determination, and so there is strong alignment between the 10 of Wands with the astrological atmosphere of the New Moon. In tarot this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations, and in fact is called Oppression in the Thoth deck. Fittingly, the third decan of Sagittarius is ruled by Saturn, a planet that involves the type of oppressive circumstances that force us to cultivate endurance and new structures of support.
Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius in his book 36 Faces, describing how it reveals the unification of mind, body, and spirit through committed work and effort yoked to a goal. Coppock also wrote that the final face of Sagittarius brings a reckoning regarding whatever needs to be sacrificed in pursuit of desires, noting that “those who walk this face must choose which burdens they will bear to the bitter end, and which are not worthy of such feats of will and endurance.” Coppock also noted the influence of the primordial goddess Ananke over this decan, as the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac proclaimed the presence of the goddess of Necessity here. While we have a range of choices to choose from in response to what is arising in our life at the Sagittarius New Moon, there is also the necessity of what we have to face due to being here amongst all of the challenges brought about by the period of world history we find ourselves within.
Since Saturn is present within the third decan of Sagittarius at the New Moon, the forces of Necessity unleashed by the third face of Sagittarius will be on full display. Cultivating inner fire and bringing inspired effort into our daily grind not only will help us achieve personal goals but will also model the needed passion that can bring hope to others in the doldrums of despair. As we leave the fiery, outwardly directed energy of 2017 we enter the year of 2018 that has more of an emphasis on the inwardly directed elements of earth and water. Allow the darkness of the Sagittarius New Moon to open you to the level of soul searching needed to face all of the demands coming in the season ahead.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.