Full Moon in Aquarius

Andante (Sonata II) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

Full Moon in Aquarius

Standing guard at the liminal boundary between the visible and invisible, the constraints of time and the expanse of timelessness, the ringed planet Saturn is always occupying a role of heavy gravitas within astrology. However, in recent years as Saturn has been transiting through its earthy home of Capricorn and airy domicile of Aquarius, the star of Cronus has been even more of a pivotal shaping influence than normal as it has been the key planet involved in the most impactful planetary alignments: the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in January 2020, the conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in December 2020, and the volatile square aspects between Saturn with Uranus that will last from 2021 through 2022. While Saturn can feel like a stern taskmaster who delivers judgment on the degree to which we are being accountable and claiming authority in our lives, as we engage with the lessons of Saturn we can experience radical growth as we shed aspects of life no longer aligned with our authenticity, focusing instead on the work and relationships that are most deeply aligned with our essence and purpose.

As the Full Moon in Aquarius on July 23 is applying toward a conjunction with Saturn, the lunation will illuminate the ways our lives have been reshaped, honed, strengthened, and irrevocably changed under the influence of Saturn in Aquarius. The Aquarius Full Moon will also provide opportunities to gather a deeper sense for the massive changes that are presently in process in correspondence with the ongoing square aspect between Saturn and Uranus. Following the peak light of the Aquarius Full Moon on July 23, the waning Aquarius Moon will form a conjunction with Saturn and a catalytic square aspect with Uranus on July 24. It’s the first Full Moon to directly set off the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus since the Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26, and so it’s likely that certain storylines developing at the end of April are reaching new levels of meaning and turning points. While the amount of chaotic energy circulating throughout our greater collective can feel disorienting due to the diverse, widespread changes intersecting within processes of becoming, we can gather our courage to cross the threshold calling us onward, following the path that puts us into deeper touch with our creativity, passions, and core purpose.

Made of mountain, solid with the sentience of stone that endures the fleeting elements of time, Saturn holds a perspective that bridges the eternal with the present moment. Saturn within its airy home of Aquarius can combine the flexible, mobile, and coalescing qualities of air with the fixity of Aquarius that will doggedly persist through obstacles to develop longterm plans that last, taking care to be thorough in both preparation and implementation. As Saturn receives the full light of the Moon into its Aquarian abode, we may come into deeper contact and realization of far reaching visions to cultivate as well as the necessary next steps to take in the immediate period ahead. The gift of historical periods in which longstanding structures fall apart to be reshaped is that old personal patterns that have previously made us feel stuck can likewise shatter, creating potential for exciting new movements in storylines that are more personally meaningful and soulfully resonant with the ways in which the wider world is experiencing its own metamorphosis simultaneously.

The Full Moon is close to the same degree as the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of December 21, 2020. As the grand conjunction not only established a new historical era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs for two centuries but also formed during the deep potency of the solstice, it has taken time for us to begin to gain greater clarity regarding the monumental changes emanating from their era defining conjunction. While we will continue to come to terms for a long time with the ways in which our lives have been fundamentally altered and redefined in correspondence with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, the Full Moon in Aquarius can nonetheless serve as an important illumination of however we have been bringing dramatic changes into our life, work, and relationships. If you note an accelerated quality of time in which the end of 2020 feels much further back in time than a date seven months in the past would normally feel, it’s likely due to the extraordinary degree in which aspects of both your internal and external life have been completely changed. With the Full Moon in Aquarius returning us to the degree of the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn while also triggering the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, we may experience another surge of accelerated developments in the wake of the Aquarius Full Moon.

Since the Aquarius Full Moon will catalyze the propulsive potency of the ongoing square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, it is worthwhile to consider the details of their present phases. Saturn in Aquarius has been retrograde since May 23, backtracking against the backdrop of the fixed stars every night through the degree range that it previously occupied. For example, Saturn will be at 10°51′ Aquarius during the Full Moon, a degree it previously occupied around March 25, 2021. Astrologer Adam Gainsburg has taught that the present retrograde phase of Saturn can center our awareness around adjusting commitments and allegiances to authority figures or realities based upon the revelations we have been receiving from our experiences.

In contrast, Uranus in Taurus has been continuing to move direct and has made it farther into the sign of Taurus than it previously has during its present transit, occupying 14°29′ Taurus during the lunation. Uranus will eventually station retrograde at 14°48′ Taurus on August 19, and so will be spending an extended period of time between fourteen and fifteen degrees of Taurus from now until the beginning of October. With Saturn calling for internal reflection on how to readjust boundaries and commitments, and the liberating force of Uranus continuing to break new zodiacal ground, the Aquarius Full Moon can illuminate feelings of opening and deepening to the ways in which our old sense of order is dissolving and unraveling, helping us gain insight into how to develop a new sense of order amidst the continuing changes that will be occurring all around us.

Vitally, the Aquarius Full Moon will be the final lunation featuring Jupiter in its oceanic home of Pisces for the rest of the year. Jupiter will leave Pisces to return to the sign of Aquarius on July 28 within a week of the Full Moon, returning the coalescing and synthesizing qualities of Jupiter into tending to the Aquarius side of the ongoing friction between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus. The waning Moon in Pisces will form a conjunction with Jupiter on July 25, making it an ideal time for realizations regarding whatever new sources of growth and inspiration have deepened in your life since Jupiter entered Pisces on May 13. While Jupiter’s time in his watery domicile of Pisces has helped fertilize and gestate new dreams free from the constraints of Saturn, his return to Aquarius will necessitate utilizing the boundaries and containers of Saturn to foster growth. The airy nature of Aquarius is similar to the watery nature of Pisces when utilizing the paradigm of them both being moist astrological elements possessing flexible, unifying, and coalescing qualities; with Saturn in co-presence with Jupiter in Aquarius, we can draw upon their combined strength for concentrated focus which will continue to redefine our mental frameworks, problem solving issues and conceiving ideas and forms that will have longterm consequences.

Psyche and Eros by Edward Burne-Jones

Venus will be continuing to glow brightly in the evening sky and will be forming a quincunx aspect with the Aquarius Full Moon from her fall of Virgo. Venus in her fall of Virgo calls for descent into inner senses, turning away from whatever we have been conditioned to exalt by culture in favor of the treasure we may discover within the darkness of our own soul. Within the collective unraveling which will be continuing at an accelerated pace, Venus in Virgo can help in reweaving the threads of our destiny into new patterns and storylines. Rather than turning away from the less than ideal, Venus in her fall of Virgo will plunge into the issues that need our attention with her discerning, unflinching gaze. Venus being in the earthy home of Mercury can be helpful when weaving together disparate threads of experience and finding flow in the moment between the rational and emotional rather than being overly reactive, judgmental, and critical. Yet Venus in a sign of Mercury can also lead to anxiety when we become caught in mental loops and self-criticism. The cure for Venus in Virgo is being tactile and moving our active minds into expression through our bodies within the surrounding world of nature, utilizing any experiences of suffering to deepen into realizations of self discovery.

Resonant with the valleys of the soul and underworld journeys that Venus in Virgo can lead us down into, the Psyche asteroid is in a prominent position; indeed, the Full Moon in Aquarius is forming an opposition with Psyche, who is only two degrees away from the Sun. Furthermore, the Sun in its fiery home of Leo will form a conjunction with Psyche at 4°55′ Leo a few days after the lunation on July 27, reanimating the story of Psyche and her devotional search for connection with her Eros. The extremely solar nature of Psyche meeting the Sun in its fiery abode is evocative of her second task when Aphrodite demands that she gather the fleece of golden rams that shine like the sun. After Psyche prepares to throw herself into her own death from a river’s edge due to the seemingly suicidal nature of the task, a marsh-reed mediates and instructs her to seek cover in the shade of a sycamore tree during the heat of the noonday sun so she may avoid the rams, which possess deadly sharp horns, being agitated and viciously rabid from the highpoint of the Sun’s heat. The reed advises for her to wait until the rams begin to cool themselves in the river breeze, and then for Psyche to shake the branches of the nearby grove that will have collected the wooly gold of their fleece in its bush.

Marie-Louise Von Franz in her analysis of the Psyche and Eros story viewed the reed as corresponding to the “tiny hints of truth with we get from the unconscious,” whispering “the truth and anticipation of the future.” Von Franz noted that Carl Jung “always saids that truth does not speak with a loud voice,” but rather that “its low but unsuppressible voice announces itself as a malaise, or a bad conscience,” requiring quiet contemplation to feel and discern its hints. The capacity Psyche displays in waiting for the right moment to gather the golden fleece reveals the importance of waiting and patiently tending to unconscious processes as they work themselves out rather than reacting impulsively. Von Franz stressed the importance of finding out what overwhelming emotions mean, stating that “wherever there is a destructive emotion, there is possibly also light, and the art is to perceive this light without getting pulled into the primitiveness of uncontrolled emotion.” Similarly, whether we experience extreme heights, lows, or middle grounds of emotions following the Aquarius Full Moon, the importance will be in taking the time to fully explore the feelings demanding our attention to more fully realize the meaning they suggest for the path ahead.

In addition to the Psyche asteroid being at a prominent phase of her orbit, the Eros asteroid will station direct at 16°49′ Sagittarius within a week of the Full Moon on July 29. As Eros stations to begin forward movement again, we may similarly feel a kindling of new desires that spark important forward momentum. Psyche and Eros will continue to occupy fire signs that trine one another until September 25, 2021 when Eros will enter Capricorn (Psyche will leave Leo to enter Virgo on October 4). Eros previously stationed retrograde at ten degrees of Capricorn on May 3, with Psyche in Cancer beginning to apply toward an opposition with Eros; Psyche then formed an exact opposition with Eros on May 18 at 8°19′ of Cancer and Capricorn that may have coincided with tensions forming within new desires we needed to hold and tend. Now that the retrograde motion of Eros has brought Psyche and Eros back into a trine aspect by whole sign, there will be opportunities for integration of however our inner landscape has been altered by the new desires that have been forming in recent months.

Around the same time that Eros stations direct, Mercury will leave the watery sign of Cancer to enter the fiery sign of Leo on July 27. Mercury will then proceed to move at its fastest speed into the heart of the Sun, completing its superior conjunction with the Sun on August 1 while forming an opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. We may apply the same lessons of Psyche forming her conjunction with the Sun to Mercury, allowing our unconscious to sort out what needs to be burned off from the past cycle of Mercury as we become more clear and focused on whatever ideas we have been developing. The more we can listen closely to the messages Mercury will deliver from its union with the Sun, the better we will be able to work with the new ideas that will be catalyzed by Mercury in Leo forming a square aspect with Uranus on August 3 followed by the Leo Sun forming a square aspect with Uranus on August 6, only two days before the New Moon in Leo that will occur on August 8.

Before Mercury leaves Cancer, however, it will form an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn a couple of days after the Aquarius Full Moon on July 25. Again the lessons of Psyche completing her second task by patiently waiting for the right moment to gather the golden fleece apply, as the importance of this temporary transit suggests being mindful of whatever feelings become stirred up, taking the time to gather their deeper meaning rather than reacting rashly.

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan 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 pridefully watching his conquered rivals walk away, leaving him solitary in a freshly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first decan of Aquarius, calling it “a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” a place where “there are discoveries to be made and profit to be had on the periphery.” Coppock noted that many images in older texts for this decan “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside,” whereas others reveal figures “whose labor results in both beauty and financial reward.”  Coppock further linked the meaning of the Five of Swords to this face through the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” gained when breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic.” In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card reveals how some relationships become necessarily sacrificed when entering exile away from societal norms, while new vivifying relationships will also arise in alignment with the liberated sense of Self that emerges in the process of becoming.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice, Dike, as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Coppock in 36 Faces linked Dike appearing here with “the abandonment of relationships which do not live up to Lady Justice’s high standards.” Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), further revealing how the sword and scales of Lady Justice can cut through to the heart of the matter within the first face of Aquarius, weighing the relationships that deserve our full devotion versus the ones that are misaligned with our soulful essence. 

Thus the Full Moon in Aquarius is ideal for reflecting upon however your relationships have been impacted, changed, and had boundaries redrawn since the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, 2020 that also took place in the first face of Aquarius. Consider the deeper meaning behind the relationships that have had to end as well as the ones that have emerged to become irreplaceable, as well as what qualities within relationship feel deeply aligned with your authentic purpose and meaning. When seeking pleasure, passion, and the resources needed to survive and thrive on the outskirts of consensus culture, there is a need for true allies and resonant networks of support. Let the light of the Aquarius Full Moon guide you toward deepening into relationship with those who can support your deepest calling, while also letting the silvery splendor of the Moon in the sign of the Water Bearer pour down upon you, filling you with the courage needed to pursue your true desires.

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References

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

Von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1992). The Golden Ass of Apuleius: the Liberation of the Feminine in Man. Shambhala.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

max ernst seen through a disposition

Max Ernst, Seen Through a Disposition

Blood Red Moon in Aquarius

Dissonance

(if you are interested)

leads to discovery

— William Carlos Williams

Total Lunar Eclipses are one of the most dramatic visual phenomenons in astrology, as the full light of the Moon becomes enveloped in blood red shadow. Within the space of the shadow’s sojourn, we sense the dragons of ancient lore awaken, wings rustling and eyes beaming. We feel red, the redness of pungent vitality penetrating whatever has felt stagnant, smelling of decay. We’ll feel the full strength of Mars during the Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, moved by the red planet of indomitable courage and resilient creativity pulsating within. The shadow will nourish us through its martial heat to emerge from the shedding of old forms and identity into fuller embodiment of our nature.

Marsilio Ficino in his books on life described spirit as a subtle, hot vapor of the blood, writing that “blood serves the spirit, the spirit the senses, and finally the senses reason.” Spirits will be stirred as there is a wild, unrestrained quality to the eclipse that will burn off  the usual conscious attempts to keep deep rooted desires buried underneath the conditioned patterns we’ve felt bound by.  It will not feel so reasonable to suppress passions in order to fit in with status quo expectations, but rather unreasonable to hold back heartfelt expression. Yes, anger and conflict can get amplified at a scorching syzygy such as this, but so can feelings of liberation that prod us to finally take the actions necessary to reshape our role and rewrite our story.

Mars is opposite the Sun at the full phase of its synodic cycle, the heart of its retrograde journey in which it is closest to us in orbit and brightest red in the night sky. The glowing Mars will appear below the eclipsed Moon against the canopy of fixed stars, both aligned with the South Node of the Moon; meanwhile the Sun will be at home in Leo and united with the North Node of the Moon. We are called to make a sacrifice, to make sacred through releasing an old identity, fear, wound, pattern, ambition, or obsession into the flames of the Aquarius South Node. Growth will be found through being receptive to unconscious messages and guidance, while sustaining sharp discernment and clarifying awareness so that we do not become entangled in unnecessary conflict. Yet confrontation and mettle will be a necessity to engage with the potency of the eclipse. At times we will need to withdraw into protected contemplative space for reflection, at other times we will be required to act quickly and directly, bravely confronting whatever obstacles or dilemmas arise.

Uranus in Taurus is rocking the eclipse, making a direct strike that excessively accelerates the volatility: many collective crises will erupt, many will feel on edge or hyped up on strong stimulants. It’s not an eclipse for maintaining tight order and control. Things will be messy, hot and sweaty, dirty and fecund with germinating seeds signaling a future harvest or the falling apart of past security. If you feel passionate about working on a particular project, there is power available for engaging fully with the process while letting go of worrying about unreadiness. There’s also strong potency in the spaces of stillness where we can envision while focusing more on the release of old aspects of ourselves we are ready to lay to rest.

MSevenBremner_FructusMortis_2018_sm

Marlene Seven Bremner (2018) Fructus Mortis

Within all the tumultuous, rushing currents of the Aquarius eclipse within collective events, Hermes is sitting in stillness, consumed with penetrating thought.  Less than two days before the exact alignment of the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury is stationing retrograde at 24 degrees of Leo. Mercury remains a visible Evening Star during the time of the eclipse, having not yet descended into its invisible, underworld phase in which it plays the role of psychopomp. Mercury will be stationary as it emerges from the shifting hues of twilight for those in position to glimpse its fleeting presence, and similarly Mercury will be available to help decipher and digest the events and insights that align with the eclipse. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it becomes even more important than normal to sustain keen awareness and sharp perception not only to the usual mundane affairs, but also to passing signs that may serve as omens of guidance.

Mercury in its retrograde phase in Leo will reach its illuminating rebirth moment of aligning with the Sun only a few days before a Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11.  The gift of this Mercury retrograde in Leo will be in helping to guide perception toward what needs greater awareness, whether that be an image in a dream or a detail in a work project. With regard to the retrograde loop pattern traced in the sky by the path of Mercury, there is a fascinating element in which it is happening in southern latitude relative to the ecliptic, similarly to how the Mars retrograde is also occurring in southern latitude.  The reason for this is that both the present Mercury and Mars retrograde phases are occurring in signs that form a square to their own planetary nodes.

I was lucky to see a wonderful talk by Michelle Gould at UAC entitled Planets at the Bending in which she theorized that planets at the southern bending may have gained a more fearful interpretation compared to the north in Mesopotamian astrology because Mesopotamian civilizations were often protected by mountains to the north and vulnerable to invasion from the south. In astrology there is a lineage of thought linking planets in southern latitude to our conscious personality becoming vulnerable to greater influence from the unconscious. Mercury retrograde periods are ideal for mediating the intersection between conscious and unconscious dynamics, and will be an important point of focus in coming weeks.

The influence of subconscious, irrational lunar forces are further amplified by the eclipsed Moon being out toward the far point of its orbit relative to Earth, and so not far from Black Moon Lilith. There’s an aspect of our nature we’ve been in denial of or have suppressed to uncover here. Sometimes we project this material and identity on to others we end up becoming triggered by, but normally once we begin the process of accepting and integrating this aspect of ourselves we are able to not only feel more whole, but our life trajectory also tends to shift into greater flow with opportunities in life appearing to embody the new found presence.

Paul Klee gaze of silence

Paul Klee, Gaze of Silence

Venus in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying toward a close trine with Pluto in Capricorn during the eclipse. As a result Venus is playing an important mediating role behind the scenes of the eclipse in placing us in deeper contact with soulful feelings through our inner senses. Venus in Virgo has been stirring up a lot of material for us through relationships, and with all of the retrograde action some of this material could relate to the realm of memory and the stories held within of past relationships in addition to current. Venus moving from Neptune to Pluto can reveal how we have given our power away in the past through relationship, how we have felt abandoned or betrayed by those we have trusted, and how we can come to acceptance with how all of this has impacted our present state and the way we interact with others.

Though some material arising within may feel uncomfortable and difficult to face, ultimately Venus is in a position of empowerment. The trine from Pluto in Capricorn to Venus in Virgo within the dissolution of Neptune can foster the softening of old, stubborn patterns that have weighed us down like heavy rocks of burden. Venus is in the home of Mercury which is the reason it is considered to be in “fall” in Virgo, yet with Mercury stationing retrograde at the eclipse there is potent analytical force available for Venus to bring to our inner depths.

Michael_Maier_Atalanta_Fugiens_Emblem_03

Emblem 3 from Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier

Mars being opposite the Sun within a day before the exact alignment of the Total Lunar Eclipse means the red planet is entering the most “hot and dry” phase of its synodic cycle. As Mars is already considered to be at an extreme of heat and dryness, in the aftermath of the eclipse we will need to focus on how to most effectively separate ourselves from the situations that no longer feel tolerable for us. Some may feel like “burning the house down,” so keep in mind how to best make changes in ways that will not unnecessarily exacerbate conflicts.

The above image from Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens shows a woman cleansing clothes soiled by the dirt of earth through the other elements: the soaking in water raised to high heat from fire, with the ensuing exposure to air and the heat of the Sun completing the purification. She is a worthy image of the Water Bearer holding the space of Mars retrograde, the South Node of the Moon, and the Total Lunar Eclipse. As the text of the Atalanta Fugiens states, “whatever faeces or Crudities are in [the Philosophick Subject] will be purged and taken away by the infusion of its proper Waters, and the whole body will be brought to a great perfection and cleanness.” We are working here with what the Rosarium Philosophorum called the “Philosophic Fire” and “Philosophic Water.” We can also see in the image the woman is wielding a variety of materials in order to stoke a variety of heat for the process.

It may be helpful to work with a similar image of cleansing and purification with whatever material comes up in correspondence with the Total Lunar Eclipse. Allow yourself to work with the material, to heat and soak it, and expose it to air and solar heat for further treatment. Astrological events such as this Aquarius Lunar Eclipse signify change and a greater capacity to rewrite our life narratives and change the course of our coming life in a more authentic direction. It doesn’t mean the process will be easy and pleasant, but it does mean a great reward may be found in the end through doing the work.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The blood red shadow arises across the face of the full Moon in the first decan of Aquarius, associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman pridefully watching his conquered rivals walk away, leaving him solitary in a freshly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that Aquarius I “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” and that a lot of images in older texts “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside” (p. 226).  Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the 5 of Swords card above shows how many relationships become sacrificed when one goes into exile away from societal norms, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the liberated sense of Self.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice Dike as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Coppock in 36 Faces linked Dike appearing here with “the abandonment of relationships which do not live up to Lady Justice’s high standards,” an idea which makes sense. Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), signifying the boundaries of relationship. While we may feel like severing certain relationships as we pass through the shadow of the eclipsed Moon, the real gift offered here is awareness of what ideals, ethics, and values are important for us to embody with integrity as well as have present in the bonds of relationship we form with others. The more we gain awareness of these qualities and most importantly hold ourselves accountable to living from them, the more likely we will also experience a deeper resonance with these values within our relationships. It will be important to not waste energy projecting judgment toward “scape goats” we judge as being out of alignment with our values, but instead draw upon our full reservoir of energy to create with integrity a life more resonant with the discovered essentiality.

References

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