Leo New Moon & Mercury

Saulelydis

Sunset (1907) by M.K. Ciurlionis

New Moon in Leo

There is an indomitable spirit in each of us. An enlivening inner fire sourced from the stars, received within the depths of our heart whenever its radiance lights us up with presence and purpose. All of us in any moment can drop attachment to linear time and enter into timeless communion with the soulful, daimonic essence that animates our full being. It may come in the bliss of staring into the sun setting over an ocean, or arise in a moment of summoning all our strength to address a crisis. It’s felt presence centers, sharpens focus, and brings the courage needed to face whatever comes our way no matter how severe.

The New Moon in Leo on August 18 supplies a furnace of centering fire to carry us forward across the difficult and treacherous astrological terrain of the next three months. The Leo New Moon is in the home of the Sun, the great star at the center of our solar system whose steadfast motion and radiant light generates life and creates the astrological cycles we use to measure our quality of time. We are entering a period of extremely volatile astrology that will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, yet with focused intention it will also be possible to determinedly create and steadily build significant work.

The Leo New Moon is separating from a trine with Mars in Aries and applying toward a conjunction with Mercury in Leo.  With Mars in the exaltation of the Sun, the recent trine between the red planet with our solar light enflamed passions in ways that could have led to flights of inspiration and the seeding of ideas to develop and implement in the coming months. Yet with Mars also closely applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Saturn, the fires stoked between the Sun and Mars could also have brought bouts of anger and conflict especially when facing constraint or negating judgment that restricted the expression of desire.

The presence of Mercury with the Leo New Moon can also invigorate debate and stir arguments, yet its proximity to the radiant Leo Sun can aid in receiving insight through contentious conversations. Mercury being part of the New Moon seeding can also increase our capacity to be flexible and make rapid adjustments to the emergence of new storylines. Mercury takes on the qualities of whatever it forms relationships with, and so the caduceus of Hermes will be ablaze with the perceptive intelligence and animating creativity of the Leo Sun. The flowing trine between Mars with Mercury and the Sun will inspire direct action in response to inspiration of all sorts, whether in the realm of artistic creation or to address the exposure of corruption and injustice.

As a result, the Leo New Moon is potent for burning off distraction and dross to hone intentions so you may focus on your priorities in the months ahead. We are crossing the threshold into a several month period of radical change at all levels of society that will be marked by extreme division and polarized conflict. The fiery Leo New Moon can help in discerning the values that are most important to focus on cultivating, supporting, and protecting so that you can conserve your energy for whatever is emerging as most important for you to tend and develop.

jane graverol school of vanity

School of Vanity (1967) Jane Graverol

Mercury beginning a new cycle at the same time as the new lunar cycle is a key element to contemplate for the month ahead. Mercury in Leo experienced its superior conjunction with the Leo Sun during the balsamic phase of the Moon on August 17, the moment when Mercury is reanimated by the vivifying light of the Sun. Mercury passes through a death and rebirth whenever it enters the heart of the Sun, often called “cazimi” from a Latin transliteration of the Arabic for “as if in the heart.” The superior conjunction of Mercury is its celestial cazimi when it is moving direct at its fastest speed on the far side of the sun from us. It’s as if the star of Hermes is experiencing a heavenly communion that can clarify and coalesce whatever has become tangled in our thoughts during the past month.

The Leo New Moon therefore demarcates the shift of Mercury from being in its Morning Star phase into its Evening Star phase. Mercury will reappear in light with important messages in the twilight of sunset at the end of August in its nocturnal home and exaltation of Virgo. The last time that Mercury was reseeded in the heart of the Sun was during Mercury retrograde in Cancer on June 30, and so you may especially experience a purifying process of regeneration during the darkness of the New Moon concerning whatever ideas have been developing since early July. The forthcoming solar cycle for Mercury will be a key underlying influence to the headline grabbing battles between Mars in Aries with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, so surrender to whatever Mercury wants to burn off from the past that has been weighing you down. Once Mercury enters Virgo on August 19, set to work on crafting your reseeded vision.

The influence of Uranus in Taurus is also important to consider as Uranus recently stationed retrograde on August 15 and the waning dark Moon in Leo formed a catalyzing square with Uranus on the day before the New Moon. When a planet stations it saturates the astrological landscape with its significations, and so it will be important to pay close attention to whatever jolts of unexpected Uranian lightning strike your awareness and experiences in the week surrounding the Leo New Moon. Uranus stationed while being received by Venus in Cancer in a collaborative sextile aspect, and so you may feel especially receptive to nonlinear insights emerging from memory or having your emotions stirred by something aesthetically invigorating, exciting, or inspiring.

Uranus stationed retrograde at 10°41′ Taurus and so will be especially jarring for those with important natal placements in between seven and thirteen degrees of Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio, and Leo. Be curious about whatever sudden revelations or unexpected experiences have caught you off guard in recent days, taking time to explore potential meaning rather than making rash decisions in reaction. Uranus will remain in retrograde motion until stationing direct on January 14, 2021 at 6°43′ Taurus.

800px-Mikalojus_Konstantinas_Ciurlionis_-_CREATION_OF_THE_WORLD_(II)_-_1905_-_6,_Varsuva

Creation of the World II (1905-6) by M.K. Ciurlionis

The forthcoming lunar cycle will contain an ever present buildup of tension and friction between Mars in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn. Between now and the beginning of October Mars will remain in range between 25 to 28 degrees of Aries due to stationing retrograde on September 9 at 28º08′ Aries. During this same period of time Saturn will remain in range between 26 and 25 degrees of Capricorn, creating an unusually long period of time for Mars and Saturn to be engaged in a volatilizing, catalyzing, and grating square aspect.  Although Mars is already slowing down considerably, there is a significant difference between it plodding forward during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle and once it stations at a standstill following the Full Moon in Pisces in the beginning of September.

Just as Mars is appearing in a vivid red shade of light in our night sky now, the star of Ares is known for its extreme heat and blazing sharpness that separates, divides, pierces, and penetrates. Mars can be a foolishly reckless instigator, a valiantly courageous protector, an intensely focused warrior in fury, as well as a pioneering alchemist making effort to be ground breaking. The normally intemperate heat of Mars in Aries reaches an extremity of scorching fire once it enters its retrograde phase, and so it’s impact upon the lineup of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter will shake and rattle the structures and systems of the status quo, forcing change even in the face of resistance.

During the waxing half of the lunar cycle beginning now,  the focus will be on the mounting friction between Mars and Saturn as they approach the first of three square aspects they will make between now and January 2021. The contraction of Saturn that will feel unbearably restraining at times for Mars will need an outlet in your life, so it will be wise to begin projects and daily regimens giving you the ability to release energy in creatively constructive ways. There is also an unavoidably destructive quality to be curious about rather than deny and attempt to suppress. Make space to explore what you sense Mars is wanting to burn down or separate yourself from that you have been attached to, but is no longer serving your deeper purpose in life.

As the New Moon and Mercury in Leo is separating from a flowing trine with Mars in Aries, there is increased capacity to act decisively at the beginning of the lunar cycle in setting things in motion to then tend and guide in response to outer events as the Moon waxes in light. As the waxing Moon approaches the fullness it will reach at the Pisces Full Moon on September 1, there will be a series of pivotal aspects made by Venus in Cancer at the same time that Mars is more intensely engaging with Saturn. Venus will oppose Jupiter on August 25, form a flowing trine with Neptune on August 27, and then oppose Pluto in Capricorn on August 30 just before the Full Moon in Pisces. The upcoming Pisces Full Moon will illuminate Venus making two especially difficult aspects, first forming a square to Saturn on September 2 followed by a square with Mars on September 4.

Mars and Venus are planets of night connecting us with our most intimate and primal desires, the feelings and passions we discover within our inner darkness away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. They are the two planets closest to us in orbit: Venus on the inner side and Mars on the outer side of our orbit around the Sun. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, and valuable, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from the intolerable. Venus in Cancer may pull us away from outer discord in order to nurture ourselves and loved ones in privacy, yet the star of Aphrodite will be traversing lunar terrain of emotions, memory, dreams, and the irrational. Listen to what is brewing inwardly and make space to reflect upon emergent material before leaping into reactive response. Attuning now to the shifts emerging will help you align with the larger collective changes rather than trying to force your way against a tidal wave.

wands07

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here. The martial figure in the Seven of Wands further relates to the asymmetrical significations of Mars in astrology through standing his ground in footwear that does not match.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed.

Yet there is also an air of empire and hegemony haunting the link of Serapis to the third face of Leo, for Serapis was utilized in part by the Greek settler culture that took over rule of Egyptian land in the wake of the Hellenistic empire initiated by Alexander. This is the other side of “The Banner” found in the third face of Leo in the form of cultural icons created by power structures to attempt to culturally assimilate indigenous and other immigrant cultures into the culture of the dominant culture holding positions of power. There have been many such icons torn down in 2020, whether in the beheading of Christopher Columbus or the dismantling of Confederate army figures and symbols from the U.S. Civil War.

As the fiery New Moon in Leo unites with the ever questioning Mercury, ask yourself what flags of idealism you are carrying and fighting for. Where or how are you blinded by allegiance to ideals or to others? How are you holding back from joining forces and aligning with a team of supporters who resonate with your ideals and can help you in co-creating them? Let the Leo New Moon connect you to the essence of your beating heart so that you may separate yourself from those attempting to manipulate your desires and align with those who share your values.

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References

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

 

Leo New Moon

Anselm Kiefer midsummer

Midsummer Night (1980) Anselm Kiefer

The Leo New Moon on August 2 is as black as all new moons go, but the dark night sky will be bejeweled with more glimmering objects than normal as all five visible planets will be on display following the setting of the Sun.  Mercury is more briefly aglow at sunset while Venus sustains her brilliance through twilight, with Jupiter also shining above as Mars inches toward Saturn in the depth of each night.  This is also the pagan holiday time of Lughnasadh, one of the eight sabbats that in the Northern Hemisphere is our Mid-Summer, a traditional celebration of harvest and communal festivities.  There is a harvest to reap and share with others in the coming lunar month, and in the twilight hour when cobalt shadows nourish imaginative vision the visibility of all five planets likewise beckon visions of love and creativity.

Leo signifies the radiance of the Sun, the radiance of the heart that expresses an audacious glow in the face of the unknown future.  The Leo New Moon is separating from a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and marks the return of Mars to the fiery sign of Sagittarius, with Venus co-present in Leo.  This New Moon is an opportune time to figure out what you want and then set your life in motion to go after it through heart-centered expression that unites mind, body, and soul.  Saturn continues to be square to the transiting lunar nodes and Neptune, and is slowing to a standstill as it will station direct on August 13.  As a result, Saturn is at the crossroads similar to Hekate, serving as the guardian of the threshold holding the wisdom of what needs to be both released and given birth to.  The creative actualization of the Leo New Moon needs us to access Saturn through being honest about our essential needs and taking the responsibility to seize the moment with flair and immediacy.  The emphasized element of fire in this New Moon is a torch held by Hekate to illuminate a karmic path forward, while disintegrating the fogginess of former illusions.

It is important to realize that there is absolutely nothing in the air element at this New Moon, and that in contrast there is a great deal of fire with the Sun, Moon, and Venus in Leo, Saturn and Mars in Sagittarius, and Uranus in Aries.  Fire signs are passionate, inspirational, and direct in ardor, and this is great as long as our relationships are aligned with similar goals and needs.  Fire signs are not as adept in patience and empathy, or being able to listen to not only the words but the emotions of others and communicate with compassion.  Since there is nothing transiting in air signs to help facilitate communication, it will be vital to focus on listening with active presence to the underlying message from others without taking personally the language form or undertones that trigger sensitivities.  This is even more the case considering that Mars is in range of a square to both Mercury (separating) and Venus (applying).

Magritte,_The_Palace_of_Memories,_Le_palais_des_souvenirs,_1939

The Palace of Memories (1939) by Rene Magritte

Uranus stationed retrograde in Aries a few days before the New Moon and so is saturating the lunation in shattering Uranian impulses and insights that bring liberating clarity.  Venus in Leo is separating from, but still in range of a trine with retrograde Uranus and so whatever the immediate impact was of Uranus stationing in trine to Venus has already been felt.  Oftentimes Uranus stationing can bring an unexpected shock or an upsetting event, yet the catharsis of released emotion and thought can break us free from a past repetitive pattern we realize was underlying the troubling issue.  As a result the Leo New Moon has an amplified charge of facilitating a fresh start in an area of life that had become stagnant or limiting.  Uranus in its early stages of slowly creeping backwards is potent for opening to unconscious forces as best we can, surrendering to the messages from dreams or the stillness of a moment that gives access to whatever is arising from within.  Uranus here can bring sudden revelations that feel more like remembering rather than striving to learn something new.

In recent years Uranus has been stationing retrograde toward the end of July, last year stationing retrograde simultaneously with Venus stationing retrograde.  In contrast, this time Uranus is stationing retrograde in trine to Venus increasing in light as an Evening Star.  Uranus stationing with so much in Leo surrounding it can spark playful rebelliousness and wild abandon, taking whatever opportunities present themselves for claiming the freedom to act from the heart without consideration of societal constructs and conditioning.  In the drama of life, the stage is set at this Leo New Moon to imbue your role in life with self-assured panache.  Uranus will be retrograde until December 29, 2016 when it will station direct at 20º33′ of Aries.  The astrological landscape will be completely different then, with Jupiter in Libra opposing Uranus, and Saturn in Sagittarius in trine to Uranus and sextile to Jupiter.  Thus the curtain lifts at the Leo New Moon to unveil the storylines that will coincide with these next five months of Uranus retrograde, and so there is no time like the present to courageously initiate the actions you want to take without reservation.

At the same time that Uranus stationed retrograde in the days leading up to the New Moon, Mercury at the end of Leo formed an exact last quarter square with Mars at the end of Scorpio.  The square between Mars and Mercury has been a pivotal theme of 2016, as the year began with Mercury forming a square at the beginning of Aquarius to Mars at the beginning of Scorpio.   In addition, because Mercury will be retrograde in September there will be two more squares between Mars and Mercury in coming months that could tie back to this time:  in September with Mercury retrograde in Virgo and Mars in Sagittarius, and in October with Mercury in Libra and Mars in Capricorn.  Mars and Mercury forming a square can correspond with intense arguments, conflicts or anger, yet the volatile nature of these planets are also intrinsic to forcing change.  In combination with the stationing of Uranus, the Leo New Moon follows significant catalysts for growth that may have felt uncomfortable but forced an issue needing to be revealed in order to create a necessary shift.

titan's goblet

The Titan’s Goblet (1833) Thomas Cole

The re-entrance of Mars into Sagittarius at the same time as the Leo New Moon seems to be one of those cosmic messages of a vital initiation into a new level of our journey.  Mars being in Sagittarius will start to make the movement of Mars moving forward again since being retrograde feel faster and like events in life are picking up again with everything set in motion.  Unlike the time period of March through May in which Mars entered Sagittarius only to then stand still and slowly move backwards into Scorpio, this time Mars is on a quest straight through the sign of the Centaur that leads to a conjunction with Saturn and the fixed star Antares at the end of August.  Bernadette Brady in her book on fixed stars said that Antares being a Royal Star “offers great success” but “also indicates that the person may well cause their own undoing,” stating that the essentiality of Antares “to generate success by going through a cleansing life-and-death experience can cause a person to seek this intensity even when it is not required” (p. 287).  Since Saturn is also involved in this triple conjunction, the trine of Saturn to the Leo New Moon is opportune for responsibly getting a handle on desires as the month begins in order to creatively manifest whatever is in the highest good rather than set things up for a fall into destruction.

At the 2016 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), Jason Holley gave an insightful talk about Leo entitled Leo and the Solar Field: Creative and Destructive Forces of Narcissism.   Holley illuminated both the creative potency and pitfalls associated with Leo through exploration of Herakles wrestling with the Nemean Lion and gaining its impenetrable skin to wear as armor in his following labors. Holley compared the wrestling of Herakles to wrestling with the archetypal field, as the Nemean Lion was an archetypal force that fell from the Moon at the bidding of Hera to destroy Herakles.  Holley also focused on the rejection felt by Herakles after returning to King Eurystheus to proudly show off the lion skin he was wearing, only to have Eurystheus become so frightened he hid in a subterranean wine jar.

Archetypes are forces that move through us, yet in the myth Herakles merged with the Nemean Lion through wearing its skin, akin to over identifying with an archetypal force in order to inflate the self.  Holley linked the narcissism that can come from Leo to prior rejection of the self in childhood or relationships, leading to the compensation of putting on the lion skin and becoming an archetype to generate a field of magnetism for others to orbit around and mirror.  Feelings of failure in the ordinary world lead to withdrawal into the extraordinary world in order to preserve a feeling of specialness through charismatic channeling of the archetype.  Yet the resulting disconnect with the ordinary brings relational isolation, as becoming a performer adored by an audience also means people are not necessarily connecting with the real person underneath the persona.  Holley said while this can be a soul saving gesture in terms of protecting a sense of specialness, the act of making oneself into a performer possessed by an archetype can lead to pressure to perform and no identity outside of achieving ambitions and acclaim.

One of the antidotes for destructive narcissism Holley brought up is the need for relational mediation, in which the relational field created with another helps step the archetypal force down into metabolizable parts so that both one’s specialness and ordinariness are embraced, and the individual can feel gifted while also an interdependent part of the group, a star amongst a vast field of stars.  This is an important point that can be further connected to the month ahead that also features Mars and Saturn coming together in Sagittarius in addition to the Sun in Leo and Uranus in Aries.  Finding and valuing the relationships in which both our ordinary and extraordinary sides are accepted will help us embrace being ordinary, instead of becoming so upset or impatient that we are not achieving our extraordinary ambitions that we sabotage or neglect important areas of our mundane reality and responsibilities.

Fire by Kircher

Diagram showing the interconnectedness of fire within the earth by Athanasius Kircher from Mundus Subterraneus

Mercury will play the role of mediator with great aplomb in the coming lunar month, as the planet of Hermes has returned to Virgo, both its home and exaltation.  Because Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August, Mercury will continue to be in Virgo through October 7, an excessively long time for Mercury to inhabit one sign.  Currently Mercury is both dignified and increasing in light as an Evening Star, a herald of the twilight hour who can help reflect upon and digest the essential learning of each day’s experience.  Mercury has also been making pivotal aspects by transit, having moved from conjoining Venus to being square to Mars in the recent past, and in the week following the New Moon will move forward to engage the square between Saturn and Neptune.  Mercury opposite to Neptune and in a superior square to Saturn will help clarify any disorientation that has been occurring in sync with the ongoing square between Saturn and Neptune.  As Mercury will then cross over the North Node of the Moon, Mercury is not only mediating but guiding awareness toward new opportunities for growth.

Returning to Jason Holley’s talk Leo and the Solar Field:  Creative and Destructive Forces of Narcissism, Holley made a brilliant point about Virgo and Mercury rooted in the concept of the natural zodiac utilized in Evolutionary Astrology.  Holley stated that when there has been too much narcissistic Leo identification with archetypal forces, then the Virgo Mercury role will become overly perfectionist due to the pressure of needing to perform at a high level, feeling both stress and inner judgment in relation to achieving ambitions.  Furthermore, just as Herakles performed his labors as an act of atonement so can Virgo Mercury succumb to overworking from a place of guilt more so than intrinsic desire.  In contrast, if the mediation of Virgo Mercury can help bring down the narcissism of Leo to being special while also grounded, then the Virgo Mercury can have genuine humility (instead of self punishing humility) and the sort of magical attention to detail and the moment that imbibes the mundane with all of the enchanting Leo magnetism and wonder.

wands06

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Leo associated with the 6 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, in which we see a victorious champion riding a triumphant steed and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, analyzing the second decan of Leo as holding the triumph of great acts performed by those who have created an authentic persona and ego-structure through which to project their spirit.  This is fitting as Jupiter rules the second face of Leo.  Coppock emphasized that the victory signified by this face “comes through authenticity, not the perfection of character or moral virtue,” and that it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan, for nothing tests the character so much as victory” (p. 128).  While Coppock wrote that few can rejoice in the light of a lavishly fed ego without becoming blinded, he concluded that the potential of the decan necessitates the alchemy of mediating an authentic connection between the persona one projects into life and the spirit fire within.

Jupiter in Virgo at the time of the New Moon is within a degree of where it stationed retrograde in January 2016, and as it has been moving away from its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its square with Saturn, it is applying toward an opposition with Chiron and a quincunx with Uranus.  There is an essential adjustment to be made in tandem with Jupiter to fully engage with life in all of its mundane details, projecting soulful spirit into the world through our heart-centered essence instead of projecting everything into a relationship or other external dependencies.  The bold, passionate immediacy of Leo is a thing of beauty, paraphrasing John Keats, that is a joy of increasing loveliness forever.  Find this place of joy within at this fiery Leo New Moon and share its love and beauty with life.

References

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

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