Aquarius New Moon

Crow Screen, Asian Art Museum

Japanese crow screen on display at Seattle Asian Art Museum

New Moon in Aquarius

It feels natural for children to build tree houses of secluded protection, build contained castles out of bedding, or discover a place of protected privacy away from external influences.  In between boundaries and borders of form a self contained light stirs and seeds illumination, guiding from within rather than from the expectations of others.  For many people time alone or with few intimates can feel so fruitful with freedom and insight it leads to an embrace of alienation from the collective consensus.  Yet an isolated hermit is capable of bearing waters of key messages and resources for those in need to receive, and so the dance of duality calls for a return to publicly share the meaning found on divergent paths.  The Aquarius New Moon this week supports finding balance between nurturing seclusion and braving the discord of disseminating meaning within consensus power structures to effect change and aid those struggling to find support.

The New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017 launches us into a catalytic month of eclipses, for the Full Moon that follows is a Lunar Eclipse in Leo which then releases into a Solar Eclipse in Pisces at the end of February.  All planets are direct and absorbed in costume and character, ready for the curtain to open on the unprecedented drama that will defy preconceived notions.  Fear may arise with recognition that anything can happen for good or ill, yet a grace of constant perseverance may be embraced that is wide awake to possibilities with careful attention to the small and necessary tasks of the present.  There is an activating gale in the blackness of the Aquarius Moon to harness into determined work and innovative collaboration.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn, a nesting for the New Moon which provides nourishing protection to guard against the toxicity of collective conditioning in order to center vision on radical intention.  From roots that tap into streams of past philosophies and arts, the outward branching of being in Aquarius discovers the future in synthesizing old strands of story and science with current influences and evidence.  Aquarius possesses the fortitude to be alone if necessary to be authentic, as well as the facility with networking to weave strong connections between reciprocal resonance across gulfs of time and space.  To make the most of Aquarius we need to embody our values and principles that do not align with the expectations of cultural conditioning, opening our heart to radiate full presence rather than detaching with disassociation. The Aquarius New Moon is opportune for prioritizing goals based upon intrinsic value rather than accord with societal norms.

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Giorgio de Chirico (1913) The Anxious Journey

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Aquarius New Moon with its closest aspect being a separating square with Venus in Pisces and Chiron, linking now with 15 April 2017 when Venus will station direct following its retrograde in square to Saturn and in conjunction with Chiron.  Venus with Chiron in hard aspect to Saturn can open old wounds for catharsis as well as bring acute awareness to whether or not heartfelt desires are supported by structural foundations in our life.   The tension between Venus, Chiron, and Saturn can be transmuted into empowering exchanges with others or from one’s inner creative matrix.  This is not a temporary transit of passing influence, however, as its link to the upcoming Venus retrograde means that current events and issues will have a storyline that arcs into vital developments in mid April.   Because of the link between the New Moon, the upcoming eclipses, and the subsequent Venus retrograde, our current trajectory has events of immense magnitude on the horizon we have no way to currently account for. However, whatever we are receiving from current experiences can be used to reformulate and modify plans and strategies for the future, with the hard stress between Sagittarius and Pisces meaning that clarifying whatever is being stirred up within our emotional body can be used to realign intentions and goals to make more of an effective impact.

As the Moon waxes through its new moon phase in Aquarius, it will form harmonious aspects with Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, providing support for objectifying thoughts and feelings rooted in practicality and a stark assessment of bare bones reality.  We can discern a path forward with a vision bound to immersion in the details of the present moment, keeping awareness attuned with both subtle and seismic shifts in our surroundings.  There is also extraordinary power within these aspects for collaboration with others of shared passion, and a rapid expansion of development within collective movements united by a shared cause can ensue. Those engaged in creative arts and sciences initiating or developing a project have support for experimenting with expansive and inventive work that can become more solidified in April when Venus stations direct in alignment with Chiron and Saturn.  The current astrological movement can facilitate ingenious breakthroughs that will only come once we are actively engaged in the process of work.

The sextile between Saturn and Jupiter in Libra as well as the trine between Saturn and Uranus in Aries signifies greater support for groundbreaking risks than normal for both individuals as well as consolidated power structures.  Those seeking to control civilization (Jupiter in Libra) always want the liberty (Uranus in Aries) to take what they want for their own benefit through conditioning the public with belief systems that justify (Saturn in Sagittarius) acts of oppression and coercion.  The recent eruptions of large scale social protests can become further enflamed and expanded within these astrological aspects, leading into inevitable clashes and confrontations with opposing forces equally intent on achieving objectives.  Within the clamoring of conflict, the Aquarius New Moon contains support for purifying thoughts and feelings from how collective influences have attempted to manipulate minds with fake news and alternative facts.  There is potent yang, outwardly directed force within the Aquarius New Moon for direct action, and so it is well worth the time to become as clear as possible about intentions and where to prioritize investment of energy.

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Landscape with a Rainbow (1881) by Alexei Savrasov

Mercury in Capricorn has returned to unite with Pluto at the Aquarius New Moon, reaching the same degree of Capricorn it previously stationed retrograde on 19 December 2016.  As a result the storylines stemming from the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and mid December 2016 are now able to be more clearly understood, with events during the week leading into the New Moon sparking distillation of meaning. As the Moon waxes into the crescent bow of Artemis, Mercury will separate from Pluto and apply to a square with Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra.  Mercury will be sparking surprising change and revelation, unveiling what was previously hidden, and catalyzing effort from sharpened perception.  There will be massive conflicts and confrontations erupting in correspondence with these aspects and so careful awareness will be needed to discern how to most effectively participate and move with the flow of current.

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Emblem for Cum severitate lenites (Even in harshness there is mercy) by Henry Peacham (ca. 1610)

A cathartic drench is gathering in the air to finally release at the end of February in a Pisces Solar Eclipse united with the South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   The atmosphere of the Aquarius New Moon is saturated by premonition of the eclipses forthcoming in the month ahead, yet it is the celebrated calm before the storm offering a time to become grounded about goals and a plan for manifestation.  Mars is at the final degree of Pisces at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, empowered by the fact that both the final decan of Pisces as well as the first decan of Aries it is at the cusp of entering are both ruled by Mars.  Both Mars and Venus are Evening Stars, and their balsamic conjunction can be seen brightening the night void of any moonlight.  With Mars and Venus remaining within a hard aspect to the scythe of Saturn at the New Moon, we can gain sense for old relationship patterns we have been living from that no longer are working for us.  Adjustments to how we have been giving and receiving in relationship can be made, new attractions followed and initiated, but due to the upcoming Venus retrograde there is much more to be worked out in the close of the current cycle between Mars and Venus that will not be fully realized until October 2017 when Mars and Venus finally conjoin together in Virgo.

As the Moon waxes toward the Lunar Eclipse in Leo on February 10, Mars will enter its home sign of Aries  soon after the New Moon followed by Venus on February 3.  The shift of Mars and Venus from Pisces to Aries in the coming lunar cycle signifies a speeding up of experiences as well as an injection of amplified assertion to act from instinctual responses.  The influence of the impending eclipses activating the South Node of the Moon in Pisces bring release and purification as well as potential for profound disillusionment that can be quickly turned into angry reaction due to the movement of Mars and Venus into Aries.  The fire of Aries can be harnessed to fuel empowered responses to wherever we feel injustice and oppression are occurring, yet the Aquarius influence of the New Moon suggests discerning the choices for action that can best sustain impactful effort over the longterm rather than into eruptive outbursts that lead only to burn out.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.   It is a strong individualistic image of resolute pride.  In the Thoth deck the Five of Swords card is called “Defeat” and features swords arranged in a downward pointing pentagram within frenetic, jagged lines.  Here the meaning of the Five of Swords links with negative thought patterns that keep us bound to old wounds or trapped in a self-defeating cycle.

In his book on the decans in astrology 36 Faces,  Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first face of Aquarius, describing it as a decan of purposefully living as an outsider in exile to conventional society.  Coppock linked the meaning of this face to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the traditions of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society.  Yet at the same time, leaving consensus culture opens the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self, as well as enables creative actualization aligned with spirituality more so than material rewards.

The first face of Aquarius is ruled by Venus, bringing further significance to the separating square between Venus and Saturn at the time of the New Moon.  While Venus in her exaltation of Pisces has been lauded for her desire for union and harmony, in truth Venusian decisions to choose one over another can create strife and brings a weight of necessity to the eccentric yearnings of Venus.  The New Moon in Aquarius invites us to discover the wisdom of unorthodox perspectives, values, and relationships yet requires awareness for how our actions and choices can cause separation with others.  The gift of Aquarius is its capacity not only to foster knowledge of essential truth that goes against the dictates of dominant culture, but to transmit meaning with heartfelt creative expression that can warm and empower others.  As Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Moon, Saturn, and Mars in Aquarius, once wrote:

The practice of artistic seeing first had to overcome itself to the point where even in the midst of what is terrible and apparently repulsive, it beholds only being that is valid along with everything else that is.  Just as the artist may not choose what he wants to behold, he may not turn his gaze away from any form of existence.  A single instance of refusal exiles him from the state of grace, and he becomes utterly sinful.

This act of lying-down-with-the-leper and sharing all-of-one’s-warmth, including the heat of one’s own heart during a night of love:  all of this must have been part of the artist’s life as an act of overcoming to reach his [her] new state of beatitude.  Behind this kind of devotion holiness begins with small things first:  the simple life of a love that has persisted and that has joined itself to everything alone, inconspicuously, and wordlessly without taking any pride in it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2005). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer.

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New Moon in Aquarius

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Greek water jar (490 B.C.) with Triptolemos bringing wheat to humanity in his winged chariot

Aquarius New Moon

The New Moon in Aquarius on February 8, 2016 ushers in the Year of the Fire Monkey in Chinese culture, and similarly holds an array of aspects facilitating bursting forth with new endeavors.  Mercury remains in its retrograde shadow zone, yet has separated from triggering the Pluto and Uranus square.  Venus is close behind Mercury in Capricorn, and also separating from its conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding this New Moon.  While January and the first week of February this year contained heavy, chthonic, cathartic astrological aspects, a New Moon in Aquarius brings a moment to detach from feelings in order to objectify and envision pioneering intentions.  Aquarius is the sign of the purifying idealist who can bridge diverse worlds, crossing intellectual boundaries such as time and space, finding the future through exploration of the old.  Aquarius is a fixed sign of yang energy that can help foster the setting and achievement of goals that will bring stability.  However, since this particular Aquarius New Moon is in square to Mars in Scorpio, we will also need to beware of a shadow side of self-righteousness.

This New Moon is in the home of Saturn, and the transiting Sagittarius Saturn is in sextile to this Aquarius New Moon.  In addition, the modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is also in sextile to the New Moon as well as in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius.  These aspects highlight the innovative nature of Aquarius that can not only brainstorm progressive ideas and solutions, but also create the necessary structure to bring inventive concepts into material manifestation.  In the past month collectively we have passed through intense astrological transits that brought up core issues, fears, and desires.  In the dark of this Aquarius New Moon we can  begin to separate from past compulsions and enter a more objective mental space. Here in the cool, airy mentality of Aquarius we will not be completely free of the feelings we have been overly fixated upon, but the influence of these gripping, irresistible desires can be less restrictive on our vision going forward.

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Inner Forces (1939) by Paul Klee

Mars holds significant influence over this New Moon as it is in a superior square to the lunation as well as fully fulfilled in its own domicile of Scorpio.  The New Moon arrives following a crashing wave of Mars, as the Sun will have formed a square with Mars a day before the New Moon, and the Moon itself will square Mars about an hour before the exact timing of the lunation.  This can bring a more righteous, fervent quality to the intentions and goals we are envisioning, and also signifies that incredible effort and determination will be needed in achieving them.  While anger over what appears to be in the way of goals could come up, the activated Mars embedded in this New Moon contains the impetus necessary to launch bold ventures.  As we simultaneously enter the Year of the Fire Monkey, this New Moon evokes the feeling of fireworks traditionally associated with the dawning of a New Year.

In the next seven months Mars will become one of the most significant planets in transit, as it will be retrograde from April 17 through June 28.  About a week after the New Moon, Mars will enter the shadow zone of its upcoming retrograde, and so this New Moon in square to Mars opens a window to the torrential storm of Mars brewing outside.  As the upcoming Mars retrograde will begin with Mars conjoining the red star Antares, found in the heart of the Scorpion constellation, we will experience another Royal Star retrograde activation such as we did last July when Venus stationed retrograde conjoining Regulus.  Mars retrograde periods tend to bring pivotal twists of fate, and so beginning with this New Moon it will be worthwhile to begin intuiting what could be coming in tandem with the approaching retrograde of Mars.

Mars has been conjoining Juno over the past couple weeks, and though still in range of a conjunction at this New Moon, Mars has now separated from Juno.  At the same time Mars and Juno are both in sextile to Venus and Pluto in Capricorn.  Altogether, these aspects suggest that Mars and Venus are stirring up the core relationship desires that we will be needing to focus on and process over the next seven months.

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Paul Klee (1925) May Picture

Venus in Capricorn like the New Moon is in a sign of Saturn, though in Capricorn more focused upon initiating from an inner sense of value.  The Aquarius New Moon arrives at a harmonious time in the transiting cycle of Venus and Mars, as Venus will have entered into a Crescent, waxing sextile with Mars.  In 2015 we experienced three conjunctions between Venus and Mars, meaning that it took most of the year in order to fully initiate their new cycle.  Now in a Crescent sextile, Venus in Capricorn can facilitate the structuring of the deep Scorpio Mars desires in order to help lay down solid roots to bolster new growth and resist the pull of past patterns no longer serving our developing purpose.  There is tremendous potency between transiting Venus and Mars at this New Moon, as Venus is carrying the tumultuous energy from its conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus into the formation of its sextile with Mars.

Venus is also in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Capricorn, following the blazed trail formed by Mercury’s back and forth movement in retrograde.  In the predawn sky we can now glimpse both Mercury and Venus as brilliant Morning Stars, in addition to the morning appearance of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Mercury and Venus will remain within five degrees of one another over the next couple of weeks as the Moon waxes Full in Virgo on February 22.  Venus following in the footsteps of Mercury means that much of what was stirred up by the Mercury retrograde in January will be revisited within our emotional body and Venusian passions, ultimately helping to clarify the associated issues.

While most of the pivotal aspects formed by this New Moon are “after effects,” meaning aspects that perfected before the time of the New Moon, Venus in Capricorn is applying toward a trine with Jupiter in Virgo.  This means that the trine between Venus and Jupiter is intensifying at the New Moon, whereas most of the other major aspects discussed here will have already occurred.  For example, Mercury in Capricorn is also in range of a trine with Jupiter, only separating.  Mercury and Venus coming into range of a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, following their conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus, means that out of the recent cathartic transits there is now an opportunity to seize and integrate the myriad material dredged up into a regenerated vision.  This New Moon supports being resolute in pursuit of new opportunities and growth leading into the unknown future, rather than relying upon the old and familiar ways of being.

Redon Upon walking

Upon Walking, I Saw the Goddess of the Intelligible, with Her Severe and Hard Profile (1885) by Odilon Redon

The conjunction of Jupiter with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo is also becoming tighter in opposition to the conjunction of Chiron with the South Node in Pisces, and the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron will continue to build with intensity in the coming lunar cycle.  While Jupiter conjoining the North Node clearly signifies opportunities to develop new belief systems and philosophies to live from, the opposition with Chiron implies we will be arriving at our new vision through a process of old wounds re-emerging not to hold us back, but rather to provide circumstances for us to have breakthrough experiences that liberate us from past restrictive beliefs.

A powerful aspect of the Aquarius New Moon supporting this process is Ceres in Pisces applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  The day after the New Moon, the Moon will pass over both Ceres and Neptune, and every day as the Moon waxes Full in the coming cycle Ceres will get closer to Neptune.  At the coming Full Moon in Virgo on February 22, Ceres will have culminated in her conjunction with Neptune.  Ceres is in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and among other things signifies how we nourish and manage our willful, sometimes angry, desires of Mars into the Jupiter vision of life we live from. Neptune will dissolve whatever we have been carrying in our emotional and physical bodies that needs to be released as Ceres  approaches Neptune.  Our imagination will be activated, and Ceres can use imaginal forces most effectively when we are willing to enter into our full range of feelings without taking Neptune escape routes such as addictions and delusions.  The book The Eyes of the Skin contains a lucid description of the interplay between mind and body:

In The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura gives a subtle description of the multi-sensory imagery evoked by the simple situation of the tea ceremony: ‘Quiet reigns with nothing to break the silence save the note of the boiling water in the iron kettle. The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron are so arranged in the bottom as to produce a peculiar melody in which one may hear the echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds, of a distant sea breaking among the rocks, a rainstorm sweeping through a bamboo forest, or of the soughing of pines on some faraway hill.’ In Oksakura’s description the present and the absent, the near and the distant, the sensed and the imagined fuse together. The body is not a mere physical entity; it is enriched by both memory and dream, past and future. Edward S Casey even argues that our capacity of memory would be impossible without a body memory. The world is reflected in the body, and the body is projected onto the world. We remember through our bodies as much as through our nervous system and brain.

— Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, p. 45

Ceres is often interpreted in astrology through her mythic associations, an apt association as the planetary body was discovered in a lab near the site of Persephone’s abduction.  The Ceres of myth holds symbols we can associate with the astrology of Ceres: grains (the stabilizing gift of agriculture), opium poppies (solace from grief), and snakes (regeneration). I saw Demetra George lecture about the meaning of Ceres in astrology through connection with her myth, and one of the most powerful moments to me was when Demetra described the ability of Ceres to heal herself and regenerate within the waters of the Ladon river. The capacity of Ceres to heal herself, purifying her anger and rage in the ceaseless currents of water, correlates with the potential Self-nourishment which is available at this New Moon.

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6 0f Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the 6 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the 6 of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and independence:

Once again we see Mercury as ruler of this decan, for the swift planet’s sacred space is every road but no place. Mercury is lord of dualities and the space between them. Unlike the other decans which emphasize dualities, this one, being the middle decan of a fixed sign, is usually fixed, and stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth…

This face is one of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles. There is thus a certain royalty to this decan, for its residents connect worlds without becoming beholden to them. There is great benefit to plying these waters between, for they allow the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown. The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 233 -234

Mercury, the ruler of the second decan of Aquarius is separating from a trine with Jupiter, traveling a few degrees ahead of Venus, and also separating from its square to Uranus and conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Aquarius New Moon.  The recent exact trine in which Mercury in Capricorn received Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo serves as a fitting symbol for the ability of this face to bridge divides, as Mercury entered the trine with Jupiter after triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus, and being in sextile with Mars in Scorpio.  As a result this Aquarius New Moon supports striking out from a place of empowerment and principle, capable of independently acting when necessary to weave together divisions.  This is the final New Moon before we enter the eclipse season of March, and so a time to come to clarity and prepare for the unknown to come.

References

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

Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. John Wiley & Sons.