Full Moon in Cancer
Around the hollow of her right flank a great stream of the primordially-generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.
In the left flank of Hekate exists the source of virtue, which remains entirely within and does not give up its virginity.
The Chaldean Oracles translated by Ruth Majercik, fragments 51 & 52
Full Moon in Cancer
The Full Moon on December 29 is in the watery sign of Cancer, the home of the Moon where its potency for nurturing restoration and drawing sustenance from memories and dreams can be expressed directly and fully. Ever since 2018 the Full Moon in Cancer each year has had to share its watery domicile with its North Node as well as forming an opposition with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, creating greater volatility and a harder edge to our lunar experience. In fact, we entered 2020 with a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 that set off the conjunction that formed between Saturn and Pluto a few days later on January 12. While the Cancer full moons and eclipses of the past three years have been helpful for drawing our attention to issues in need of tending, the Cancer lunation at the end of 2020 will deliver a purer dose of lunar medicine to imbibe. The silvery soulfulness pouring down from the Cancer Full Moon will be able to find its way to the parts of yourself in need of its nurturance, the more so that space is made to receive it and discover where it leads you.
The Full Moon in Cancer will peak as we prepare to cross the divide of calendar years into 2021. While the end of the year typically feels like a threshold experience, there will be an amplified sense of being at a collective crossroads due to the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on the solstice. The Cancer Full Moon will serve as a beacon of light not unlike the torch traditionally carried by Hekate, illuminating our feelings about what we are ready to release from the past year and what we are hopeful will emerge in the year ahead. We will need to draw from the perspective of the two-faced, threshold guardian Janus that can simultaneously reflect backwards while looking forward, as we need to honor the freshness of being at the beginning. The Cancer Full Moon will illuminate our arrival at the beginning of a new chapter in world history that has opened in correspondence with the new cycle set into motion by Jupiter and Saturn.
The Cancer Full Moon is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward an opposition with Mercury in Capricorn and a trine with Neptune in Pisces. The Moon’s opposition with Mercury will be mentally activating, while its movement from the sextile with Uranus into the trine with Neptune will activate the nonlinear realm of memories, emotions, and somatic material that often impacts us without our conscious awareness. Doubling down on the lunation making a potent subconscious impact is that in addition to immediately separating from a sextile with Uranus, the Cancer Full Moon is also separating from a catalytic square aspect with Chiron in Aries that will help to dislodge material that has been frozen in the psyche or held in the body so that it may become processed and released. The opposition between the Full Moon and Mercury may feel overwhelming if life events are creating excessive busyness and mental stimulation, and so if this is the case find ways to calm and soothe nerves. Otherwise the tension between the Moon and Mercury can be utilized in divination, journaling, artistic expression, or any other medium that can draw on the lunar activation by Uranus and Neptune to provide insight into important aspects of your inner parts and purposes that are ready to emerge in the new year and new era we are entering.
The Cancer Moon will form an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn on December 31 and then will form oppositions with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius and a square with Uranus in Taurus after entering Leo later in the day. In the wider context of the astrology of 2021, it’s fascinating that the Moon will move from an opposition with Pluto into hard aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus as the new year begins. As a result, the Moon’s movement will connect us with the fact that on a larger scale we are leaving a period of time dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto into a year that will be dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. The deep contractions and heavy gravity of years influenced by Pluto will now be erupting with the propulsive and shattering force of Uranus that can be erratic, unpredictable, emancipatory, and inventive all at the same time. Uranus can be a positive influence when connecting us with whatever makes us feel authentically passionate and inspired, and so the Cancer Full Moon can aid in shedding the dead weight of the past so as to feel lighter and more freely capable of aligning with the exciting opportunities that can emerge in the new year.
Venus in Sagittarius is making important aspects to consider during the Cancer Full Moon, including forming a conjunction with the South Node of Sagittarius that it will complete on December 30 with the mean node and on December 31 with the true node. Venus moving across the Sagittarius South Node will focus attention on material that was seeded at the Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14, with issues that were previously hidden becoming unveiled. With Venus tending to the release valve of the Moon’s nodes, the full light of the lunation pouring down upon us will bring realizations mediated by Venus in Sagittarius such as anyway we have been relating from dogmatic values, righteously believing we know the truth or crusading to convert others to our own viewpoint. Positively, Venus in Sagittarius can help in rooting our relating through awareness of not only the ways we are interacting with other humans but also in the ways we are interacting within the vaster field of animals, land, ancestors and other living spirits. As we leave the era of earth to enter the era of air, Venus in Sagittarius can help in revealing how it’s not only our relationships with other human beings that will need greater care and attention, but that our innumerable relationships within the vast realm of Nature above and below will also need greater focus and cultivation.
The lessons Venus can teach from its proximity with Ketu, the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, involve many themes covered by Jason Holley recently in a webinar entitled Sagittarius in Myth and Psyche. Holley focused on the tendency in today’s astrological world to project upon the nomadic consciousness of Sagittarius from the settler consciousness of the colonial cultures we live within. Some of the aspects of Sagittarius discussed by Holley led me to consider how they connect with our collective movement into the era of air, and in these ways it makes sense that Venus combined with Ketu in Sagittarius can help us cut through what is in the way of us becoming more spatially mobile, fluid in our roles, flexible in our social organizations, and capable of grounding in movement while retaining a differentiated perceptual field capable of restructuring interpretation and analysis as needed. Holley described the orientation of Sagittarius as carrying “an ancient memory that one is partly here to shepherd the souls of others and oneself- to free them from limitations.” This is a worthy lesson to remember from Venus as the star of Aphrodite journeys across the South Node of the Moon as we journey into 2021.
However, Venus is not only applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, but also to an imaginatively activating square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that it will complete on December 30. The square between Venus and Neptune will constellate fantastical images and enticing visions, but we will need to be wary of being led astray into dangerous tidal forces. As Venus is now forming a waning square aspect with Neptune, it may bring back important insights, memories, or relationships connected with the long series of waxing square aspects Venus formed with Neptune due to Venus shifting retrograde in Geminiin May 2020 (May 12, May 20, and July 27 were the three exact aspects). Although Venus has not garnered as much attention as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in the astrological world during the past year, it has been a major factor in reshaping our relationships and relational needs during 2020. The pivotal sequence of hard aspects formed between Venus and Neptune have been opening our awareness to previously unseen needs, desires, and values during a year in which severe social distancing restrictions around the world have limited physical contact.
The waning square from Venus to Neptune is additionally bringing focus to the fact that Neptune is presently residing at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with both the North and South Nodes of the Moon that it will eventually complete on January 26. With so many people locked into polarized conflicts and perceiving things from completely different perspectives regarding reality, the disorientation stirred up by Venus with Neptune can potentially lead to even more widespread delusion that will make it even more difficult to resolve differences and mediate resolution. It’s been noted by many that the deluge of conspiracy theories circulating coincides with the fact so many people have felt anxious and alienated due to the global pandemic, and mistrustful of those in authority. It also seems fitting that the disorder being brought to consensus reality is coinciding with the great reordering of structural realities that will ripple out from the great astrological cycles beginning now. The collective volatility will not be ending anytime soon, and so it will be up to each of us to figure out how to hold the tension of our differences in viewpoints when relating with others. The square from Venus and the South Node of the Moon to Neptune in Pisces can help us deepen into understanding the troubled history of our world and the ways in which the ripples from systemic oppression across time are playing into our present relational difficulties.
After peaking in light at the full moon, the Moon in Cancer will move through an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn into a cathartic square aspect with Mars in Aries on December 31. The tensions unleashed between the Moon with Pluto and Mars on the final day of 2020 further shows how it’s a time of releasing the trials and tribulations of the past year, while also needing to recognize that the impact of the troubles that were exposed all around global societies in the past year will not be going away and will need our continued attention in the future years to come. Rather than develop illusory hopes that the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that has arrived at the end of the year is ushering us into a new era free from the suffering of the past, we instead need to utilize it like a lighthouse helping us navigate through the turbulent storms that will be coming in 2021 so that we may find our way to a stabilizing shore or harbor.
During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Mars will enter Taurus on January 6 and immediately incite the explosive tensions building between Uranus in Taurus with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Mars will not form its exact square aspects with Saturn and Jupiter and its conjunction with Uranus until after the upcoming Capricorn New Moon on January 12, but we will begin sensing a notable increase in disruptive influences and social unrest as the present lunar cycle comes to a close. On personal levels, the friction stirred up between Mars and Uranus with Saturn and Jupiter will dislodge whatever has been stuck, creating rapid change in some cases. It will be much better to find your way into the flow of the changing currents rather than attempting to hang on at all costs to the way things have been in the past.
Cancer 1 Decan
The Full Moon will rise 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 equal passion, 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 and the Moon. Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, nor the Moon only about the enclosure of their fertile love in the palace of Eros. The Cancer Full Moon can thus connect us with the Eros of care, love, and fellowship that weaves community together when focused upon a common purpose that brings practical help and resources to those in need. It can also reveal those in our relational field who we can form mutually supportive dynamics with. As we are entering an extended period of collective volatility, we will need to be actively co-creating community that can flexibly mutate in accordance with the changing societal dynamics.
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.” Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, and that the “face’s magical virtue is to establish mutually nurturing relationships.” With Venus applying to a square aspect with Neptune during the Full Moon, we may also gain realization for patterns that have led us into unhealthy enmeshment with others, as well as a more lucid sense of the needs we seek within all types of relationships we form with others.
In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, to the first face of Cancer. A daughter of the underworld river goddess Styx, Nike allied herself with Zeus in the war against the Titans, a mythic war resonant with the astrology of 2020 that has ended with a new order being constellated between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Nike served as the divine charioteer of Zeus in battle, while also rewarding victors of competition with the glory of wreathed laurel. In 36 Faces Austin Coppock connected the presence of Nike in the first face of Cancer with the ancient symbolic link between chariots and the body as the vehicle of the soul, symbolism also resonant with the connection in tarot between the VII Chariot arcanum and the zodiacal sign of Cancer. If we want to make a difference in 2021 and help to shape the world we wish to live in, we will need to take care of our body and mind so that we will have the strength and clarity necessary to be effective agents of change. Make time and space during the Cancer Full Moon and the following days to get all the rest and restoration you need. May the strength you cultivate now serve you in deepening into fulfilling your purpose and destiny in 2021.
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Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Majercik, Ruth. (2013). The Chaldean Oracles. The Prometheus Trust.