Leo New Moon

from the Rosarium Philosophorum

Leo New Moon

The monthly unions of Sun and Moon purify and impregnate meaning for the lunar cycle ahead, initiating new growth and movement within the fertile blackness of moonless night. The Leo New Moon on July 28 is particularly potent as a threshold guardian that will lead us into one of the most volatile astrological months of 2022. Fortunately, the Sun and Moon in Leo are applying toward a close trine aspect with Jupiter in Aries, constellating a harmonious flow of uplifting spirit that can inspire creative solutions and expressions. With Jupiter in the exaltation of the Sun, there is a passionate, resonant interplay between the Leo New Moon and the star of Zeus that kindles faith in the unknown to come. The radiance of Leo with its indomitable fire that resiliently persists in the face of adversity is at the heart of the lunation.

The longstanding volatility across societal structures that has correlated with the catalytic square aspect formed between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus has been exacerbated during 2022 due to the presence of the North Node of the Moon in Taurus and the South Node of the Moon in Scorpio. With the friction between Saturn and Uranus amplified by eclipses taking place in the signs of Scorpio and Taurus, the missing fixed sign within the dynamic has been Leo. Call it a “grand square,” “fixed cross,” or whatever term you prefer; the Leo New Moon initiates us into a period in which all four fixed signs have a notable occupant: Mars, Uranus, and the North Node in Taurus, Saturn in Aquarius, Mercury and the Sun in Leo, and the South Node in Scorpio. As a result, the political and economic turmoil of recent current events will likely become even more amplified over the course of the forthcoming lunar cycle, with popular unrest in reaction stoked into even greater magnitude.

While the activation of Leo within the dynamic is not enough to solve issue of food shortages and economic collapse occurring in some regions of the world, it will be capable of facilitating significant growth and dynamic movement for many. As the missing fire element within the cross of fixed signs, Leo supplies the inspirational spirit necessary to fuel movements of political resistance so they may endure across times that feel bleak with little hope. The enormous activation of fixed signs also means that the changes occurring now are for the long haul and will have longterm ramifications. Although fixed signs are the most resistant to change, once they are set into motion they are able to conduct total overhauls of systems with focused thoroughness that brings things to completion in the end. Leo as the domicile of the Sun nurtures a sense of sovereign agency in taking the responsibility to creatively actualize and direct life in desired directions. There may be a need to strike a balance between enduring certain difficulties patiently while in other instances bringing mindfulness to rapidly changing dynamics that require quick, sharp responses.

by John Duncan

The Leo New Moon is resonant with the stage in Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey in which supernatural aid comes to the hero as they prepare to cross the first threshold from the known into the unknown. The key aspect of this phase is the willingness of the hero to accept the call of their own destiny and venture forth from the stability of the familiar into the volatility of the unfamiliar and uncertain outcomes. As the crossing of the threshold involves entrance into treacherous terrains where the hero may encounter fearsome foes, the hero’s decision to accept the trials that will occur by claiming their destiny invites the appearance of a mentor or magical helper of some form who usually delivers a talisman or magical gift that will become a crucial key to their journey ahead. The trine aspect between the Leo New Moon with Jupiter in Aries resonates with not only the willingness to fully accept the responsibilities of one’s destiny but also reception of beneficial aid in following the call wherever it leads.

The flowing trine between the Leo New Moon with Jupiter in Aries is extremely powerful not only because Jupiter is in the exaltation of the Sun, but also because Jupiter is stationing retrograde. When planets station they saturate the astrological landscape with their influence, as their divine presence takes on an amplified impact in daily events. Jupiter has a life-giving numinous presence, an archetypal force which nourishes growth, coheres, affirms, and inspires generous actions and leadership capacities. Jupiter also can facilitate reverence for the divine and communing with the sacred, as well as opportunities for material growth. Jupiter stationing retrograde at 8º43′ means that the star of Zeus has travelled as far into Aries as it will in its present synodic cycle, and so the trine between the lunation with Jupiter is an opportune time for reflecting upon gains in material as well as spiritual growth since Jupiter formed a conjunction with the Sun in Pisces on March 5, distilling whatever wisdom can be gained from events that have transpired over the past five months.

Le Désir, Remedios Varo

The inspirational force held within the trine from the Leo New Moon to Jupiter will be especially helpful for finding creatively productive ways to work with the most impactful configuration within the lunation: the triple conjunction forming between Mars, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon in Taurus. There are multivalent meanings involved in their alignment, including an intensified acceleration within current events of the numerous economic crises, food shortages, and political conflicts already under development. Yet while it is easy to see how the combination of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node can be disruptive in chaotically challenging ways in world events, its worth remembering how extremely powerful their union can be in our personal lives. Their shattering impact liberates within the disruption, like the chaos at the origin of all creation stories. Their union happening within the sign of Taurus points to the longterm impact of the changes brought by their combination, breaking us free from past patterns we have been overly attached to identifying with into a more authentic presence. The strife that comes in their wake, though difficult, may also simultaneously put us into palpable touch with our own essentiality in need of emergence.

As the triple conjunction of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node is occurring within the exaltation of the Moon, and the signs of Leo and Taurus also share sympathy due to being antiscia to one another, there is extremely creative resonance between the catalyzing impact of the square aspect occurring between the Leo New Moon with the triple Taurus conjunction. When Uranus entered Taurus in 2018, I wrote an article linking the meaning of Uranus being in the exaltation of the Moon to the work of Peter Kingsley, a scholar of ancient philosophers such as Parmenides and Empedocles, and his emphasis on incubating within your own inner sensations. Kingsley described inner sensations as “sacred ground” akin to the sacredness of the underworld to the ancient Greeks, yet in this case sacred ground you bear everywhere. Kingsley described the practice of lying down with full immersion within inner sensation a “practice of abandonment, the practice of giving up . . . when nothing else worked.”  Kingsley described how ancient people would seek a shrine to lie down within and be as close to death as possible when doctors were not able to diagnose a cure, and how through this process a healing remedy would emerge through submergence within inner senses.

To Kingsley the ancient Greeks had a fundamental need for the wisdom and understanding that comes through the incubation of inner sensation, stating “there was fundamentally no difference between a body that is sick, a mind that needs understanding, and a city that needs new laws.” Kingsley described that just as personal imbalances could be remedied through incubation, so could new systems of laws be brought to civilization by those who had entered and come back from “another state of consciousness by practicing incubation.”  Through incubation we become  “drawn into the underworld, into the depth . . . into that mysterious access point which is available in the underworld that gives you access to every level of existence.” With Mars and the North Node of the Moon amplifying the impact of Uranus in Taurus, it may be necessary to traverse dark nights of soul which force us to let go of old attachments. Yet as Kingsley described, the alchemy of incubation reveals the midnight Sun and that “the real light is found at the heart of darkness” and realization that “the source of light is inside.”

It’s worth noting how rare this exact alignment of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node is, as it has not happened in many centuries. The last time that all three came into somewhat of a hard aspect was not a conjunction, but rather an opposition: in November 1915 there was a wide opposition between Mars with Uranus, with Mars in Leo on the side of the south node of the Moon and Uranus conjoining the North Node in Aquarius. The last time there was somewhat of a close alignment between all three was December 23, 1458 with Mars at the beginning of Virgo and Uranus conjoining the North Node at the end of Leo; yet in this case Mars had moved on to a different sign when Uranus conjoined the North Node.

Fortunately, Venus in Cancer is in a harmoniously collaborative sextile aspect the Mars Uranus North Node union and is further more the planet responsible for its care. Mars will form a conjunction with Uranus on August 1 followed by Venus forming a sextile with Uranus on August 2, a few days after the lunation. With all three entities in the earthy home of Venus, and Venus occupying the watery exaltation of Jupiter and home of the Moon, there is increased potential for finding creative ways of working with the alignment. The presence of Venus in Cancer can help in making space for nurturance within relationship or within private places of solitude, creating the time needed to work through whatever disruptive issues emerge. It can be an extremely productive period of time for any work of creativity as a result of the synergy between Venus with the triple alignment of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon.

TEJIDO ESPACIO-TIEMPO by Remedios Varo

Meanwhile Mercury is in position to receive a sense of nonlinear time within whatever linear processes become set off by the friction of the fixed cross of planets, gaining a sense for how the events of the upcoming time period have larger implications that will stretch out across the years ahead. Mercury is emerging into visibility as an evening star during the Leo New Moon, bringing the divine presence of the star of Hermes strongly into our lives. Moreover, Mercury is setting off the dynamics of the fixed cross, forming a square aspect with the Mars, Uranus, and the lunar nodes, as well as an opposition with Saturn. As a result, Mercury can help in deeply attuning to the volatile dynamic forming with the fixed cross as it forms a square aspect with Uranus on July 28 and then moves through an opposition with Saturn it will complete on July 30.

Within the forthcoming lunar cycle after Mercury moves through its opposition with Saturn, the Sun in Leo will move into a square with Uranus on August 11 followed by an opposition with Saturn on August 14. The upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius on August 11 will deeply trigger the dynamics by forming a close conjunction with Saturn while also forming a square aspect with Uranus, Mars, and the lunar nodes. During a year of especially volatile eclipses that ignite the fracturing friction of Saturn facing off with Uranus, the present lunar cycle places us at the midpoint between the eclipse seasons, as well as deeply sets off the longstanding tension between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated the astrological landscape since the beginning of 2021. As s result it will be even more important than normal to pay attention to the changes taking shape and the directions they may lead us within the lunar cycle to come. Thankfully, about a week before the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius, Mercury will enter Virgo on August 3 and become a fortunate point of focus for clarifying now to mediate and navigate through the changes occurring on both personal and societal levels.

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon in Leo strides forward in the first face of Leo, associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. T Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that it’s worth remembering that the “Strife” associated with the Five of Wands “is just another way of saying ‘Striving.’ No matter how daunting the task, there is always a prize to be won. It may not be something we can polish and display on a shelf; it may not even be something we’d choose- but it might just be the making of our personal legend.”

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature. The need to align one’s persona with one’s authentic nature in relation to the responsibility that will result fits well with Saturn and the Sun being the rulers of the first face of Leo.

Saturn ruling the first face of Leo suggests the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and connect with a receptive audience. As the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius on August 11 will be conjoining Saturn, we will do well by using Saturn’s gifts for slow and steady contemplation to consider whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona through which we have been engaging the world. The alignment of Mars, Uranus, and the North Node can force changes suddenly, but it may bring about the exact set of circumstances necessary to help shed the old aspects of your identity and ambition that need to be released in order to make space for more vital passions to emerge you may follow forward.

While the New Moon in Leo is in the first decan of Leo, it is also within the Egyptian bounds of Jupiter, meaning that Jupiter will be setting the terms of the lunation while forming a flowing trine with the lunation and stationing retrograde. Thus the potency of Jupiter stationing can help guide us in contemplating how to remake the mask we wear in public, drawing us into interior depths to discover inspiration attuned to our soul. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down our old mask that can now be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results in August, letting our creative process align with the changes of nature taking shape within us and outside us.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Leo Full Moon

Lion-headed Goddess Amulet (1070 – 664 B.C.)

Leo Full Moon

The Full Moon on February 16 is in Leo, the living image of the Lion, whether you use the tropical or sidereal zodiac. In fact, the Moon will illuminate the night sky nearby the fixed star Regulus, known as the heart of the lion within the Leo constellation. Across astrological traditions, Regulus has been associated with leadership and power, the type of fiery strength that can achieve success and victory against all odds. Yet the true strength of Regulus is the essential dignity and integrity we bear within our heart, the strength and wisdom of our core, our central self around which our vast, inner multiplicity revolves. Within a period of time emphasizing Saturn and its current placement within Aquarius, the Leo Full Moon will inject a charge of coherence as fragmented strands of past storylines come together into greater understanding. The Full Moon pouring down the star fire of Regulus will kindle an inner flame of knowing that can guide us into the next steps to take, whether we are continuing on course or in need of a dramatic change in direction.

Yet the royal power and fierce leadership associated with Regulus is also a quality some wish to seize for fame, wealth, influence, and other ambitious desires that can lead to inflation and hubris. Bernadette Brady described the nemesis of Regulus as being revenge, stating that its ambitious qualities need to be balanced by restraint from seeking retribution and vengeance if we wish to secure the success it can bring. Within Indian astrology, the nakshatra of Regulus where the full moon will ripen is Magha, the seat or throne of the king that has been linked with splendor, regality, prosperity, power, and the will force needed to achieve important endeavors and victories. Dennis Harness described the shadow side of Magha in connection with the extreme ambition that resides here, such as “arrogance” and “prejudice,” over attachment to “material prosperity” and “identification with class status,” as well as “divine restlessness or chronic discontent” for falling short of high aspirations and perfectionist standards. Harness further described the danger of constant courting of external approval at expense of the essential self.

Magha’s ruling deities are the ancestor spirits Pitris, making the nakshatra associated with gifts and benefits brought by ancestors, as well as loyalty to spiritual lineages. Harness described Pitris as “the great Fathers of Humanity, who function as guardian angels giving protection in the event of major calamities on earth.” Indeed, the true nobility of character offered by Regulus lies within the agency of the heart and contact with our deep sense of inner sovereignty. Rooted in our core value, the polarity between the Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Leo can foster drive and desire sourced from inner values rather than based upon ambition for external approval and acting in accordance with however we feel we need to fit in with the status quo of trends and popularity contests. The Leo Full Moon can ignite curiosity about where we have felt powerless and why, helping us make contact with our inner wellspring of power from a place of openness to mystery rather than insistence on control. We may also gain insight into whatever forms of power dynamics within relationships we have become entangled by and the adjustments necessary to make.

Supplying an uplifting, liberating influence to the Leo Full Moon is an invigorating sextile aspect between Jupiter in Pisces and Uranus in Taurus. For over a year we have been experiencing the amplified volatility constellated by the catalytic square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus, with the jolting impact of Uranus dislodging and breaking open longstanding structures and systems of Saturn. While the shattering of old structures and forms that have previously been part of our identity and sense of security may have been difficult during the past year, the clashing between Uranus and Saturn have also created vast potential for new directions, patterns, and ways of being to emerge that can be creatively liberating and free from past restraints. With Jupiter in Pisces forming a harmonious aspect with Uranus, we will have increased support in discerning the larger vision for growth that is emerging out of the dismantling of the past.

Babylonian Lion, associated with Ishtar (604 – 562 BC)

Intensifying the potential for the Leo Full Moon to brings things to a climax and a turning point in direction is the fact that the Moon will be forming a square with the lunar nodes at the northern bending. The northern bending of the Moon’s orbit is a dynamic point of change in which the Moon has reached maximum northern latitude, a peak from which the Moon will begin to immediately fall in descent back down toward the ecliptic. Demetra George wrote that since the Moon at her bending has reached “the farthest distance of the plane of the lunar orbit from that of the Sun’s path on the ecliptic,” it “suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection.” George further noted that Ptolemy stated the Moon forming a square to her nodes at her bending “helps with the character of the soul in the direction of greater versatility, resourcefulness, and capacity for change.”

Thus while the Leo Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes may correlate with amplified emotional volatility or feelings of disconnection for some, in other cases it may accentuate the capacity to gain distance from emotional entanglements in order to gain a clarifying perspective. The Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes is further significant due to it demarcating the midpoint between eclipses, with the Leo Full Moon forming a square aspect to the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus which occurred on November 19, 2021 and the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio which will occur on May 16, 2022. It’s an opportune time to reflect upon whatever changes arrived with the previous eclipses on November 19 and December 4 last year, taking stock of however you have already made adjustments as well as stepping back to see the bigger picture of how present dynamics appear to be developing into the future and where changes need to be initiated.

Since the transiting north node of the Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus, and the transiting south node of the Moon in Scorpio is ruled by Mars, the union of Venus and Mars in Capricorn during the time of the Leo Full Moon will increase the likelihood of the lunation illuminating the passions, anger, frustrations, and desires at the root of present relational dynamics and creative processes. Relationship tests have likely arisen recently as Venus and Mars have approached their conjunction in Capricorn, and so if the Leo Full Moon brings feelings of dissatisfaction to light, allow your curiosity to explore what your symptoms reveal about your sense of soulfulness and what needs to change so you may rebalance your relational dynamics with others and realign with your deepest sources of creativity and inner security. While events leading up to the Leo Full Moon may have caused underlying emotional challenges within relationships to burst forth into awareness, if both partners are willing to engage with the needed inner work while also listening and engaging in dialogue, the lunation can also help bring forth new ways to relate to one another that are mutually supportive and respectful of one another’s dignity.

Pan and Nymphs by Ignaz Elhafen

Venus will form a conjunction with Mars at 16°53’ Capricorn on February 16, about two and a half hours before the exact opposition between the Moon in Leo and the Sun in Aquarius. Mars and Venus are nocturnal planets that orbit on either side of Earth in closest proximity, connecting us with primal feelings we discover within our inner darkness, away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. The union of Mars and Venus initiates us into a process of rediscovering what we want in relationship, as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. Venus and Mars coming together calls for embodiment, getting in touch with bodily senses to uncover desires untethered from societal conditioning. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, valuable, and distasteful, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable or displeasing. With their union occurring within the cardinal sign of Capricorn, their conjunction will bring a significant initiation into new relational dynamics emerging within coming weeks. Their union in the earthy, nocturnal home of Saturn calls for the need of forming the boundaries necessary to contain and nurture the seeds of new desires, making space for greater embodiment of one’s own inner eros separate from its mixture within external relational dynamics. As we come into deeper relationship with our own feelings and desires, so will we be able to more effectively make the adjustments needed within our many relationships within the world.

The conjunction between Venus and Mars on February 16 is the second Venus Mars conjunction in a sequence of three taking place within a span of eight months. The previous conjunction between Venus and Mars was at 19°48’ Leo, in the same zodiacal sign as the Leo Full Moon, on July 13, 2021. The final conjunction in the series will be on March 6, 2022 at  00°01’ Aquarius. The present conjunction on February 16, the middle one of three, is especially significant due to it occurring with both Venus and Mars visible as morning stars heralding the rise of the Sun. Their previous conjunction on July 13 occurred with Venus and Mars as evening stars following sunset, and since then we have experienced both Venus and Mars traversing the underworld in transition from evening to morning sky. Most significantly, Venus was recently retrograde in Capricorn from 19 December 2021 until 29 January 2022 and now is increasing in speed, light and elevation having been reborn in her morning star phase. She is only slowly beginning to pick up speed, however, which is why Mars has been able to recently overtake her in speed and form a conjunction with her by moving from behind and in front of her by zodiacal degree. As a result, during the waning half of the present lunar cycle as Venus continues to slowly pick up speed she will remain in close proximity with Mars, eventually overtaking Mars and forming their final conjunction in the series on March 6, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

While the time from the Leo Full Moon until the final conjunction of Venus and Mars on March 6 will be full of new developments and desires within relationship and creativity to be mindful of, the union of Venus with Mars during the Leo Full Moon is especially potent in terms of bringing numerous streams of relational storylines together into a flowing, charged river bed that is fertile with the potential for new patterning within relationship to develop. It’s also worth noting that both Venus and Mars have essential dignity within the zodiacal degree of their conjunction, as it is the exaltation of Mars and the bounds of Venus. The second decan of Capricorn where their union takes place also has rulership association with both Mars and Venus (Mars is the ruler in the Chaldean descending rulership scheme; Venus is the ruler in the triplicity scheme). It’s a place ripe with potential for launching new enterprises and building great works of imagination and vision step by step with groundedness and receptivity to the input needed within collaboration with others.

The fact that both Venus and Mars have zodiacal agency within the place of their union is further accentuated by their close proximity with Vesta in Capricorn. As Venus and Mars will continue to move closely together during the waning half of the lunar cycle into their upcoming conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on March 3, so will Vesta in Capricorn. Venus will form a conjunction with Vesta in Capricorn on February 27 while Mars will form a conjunction with Vesta on February 25, less than a week before Venus and Mars unite with Pluto. The presence of Vesta alongside Venus and Mars can help in finding greater coherence for how our relational desires and needs have been transformed within recent months, especially when making space for sacred time with one’s self. The devotional aspect of Vesta can also help us in realizing what forms of creativity and new goals to develop are most authentically aligned with our core self, as well as the relationships most resonant with our true path to cultivate and deepen in relationship. Vesta traveling with Venus and Mars during the waning half of the lunar cycle can help initiate the process of building the strong foundations of a new legacy, maintaining the boundaries necessary to do so.

EXPLORACIÓN DE LAS FUENTES DEL RÍO ORINOCO by Remedios Varo

Further adding to the intensity of the Leo Full Moon is the fact that Mercury will be at maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that Mercury will be increasing in speed and curious connectivity in the coming weeks. Mercury finally left Capricorn and its extended time in close proximity with Pluto in Capricorn on February 14, and during the day of the Leo Full Moon will be close to the early degree of Aquarius where Mercury formed its regenerative conjunction with the Sun on January 23. Whatever new ideas developed, whatever shifts in storylines needed attending, whatever ways the catalytic and volatile period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn from January 14 to February 3 impacted and transformed you is important to consider under the glow of the Full Moon in Leo. Mercury is now entering its solar phase as a Morning Star that Gary Caton likened to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s recent retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being

During the waning half of the lunar cycle, Mercury will form an invigorating and volatile square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on February 24 followed by Mercury forming a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on March 2, the same day as the New Moon in Pisces. Mercury began its recent retrograde phase on January 14 while in close proximity to activating the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, and during the waning half of the lunar cycle we will finally experience Mercury moving forward to finally complete the activation. The present path of Mercury is vastly significant, connecting the present moment with the larger waves of change signified by the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 as well as the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus dominating the astrological landscape in 2021 and 2022. It’s a time to feel into how your inner shifts relate with the much larger waves of change rippling across global societies. Ways in which our lives began to change in the beginning of 2021 can become clearer as Mercury leads us out of the dreamscape of night into the brightness of day in coming weeks, helping us clarify how to formulate our next stage of development.

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Leo is in the third decan of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a warrior is 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. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that the Seven of Wands in a reading can signify facing a “daunting challenge” requiring discernment of whether or not it’s a situation or position worth fighting for. Chang described that while the Seven of Wands “shows a human capacity to persevere,” it still requires facing “whether persevering through the difficulty will be the making of us the building of our character- or whether it is simply not meant to be.”

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. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the link between the third face of Leo with the underworld aspects of Serapis as revealing “the important decisions that those who walk this decan face- when to give up and let go, for even the Sun surrenders the earth to darkness.”

Whether you are engaged in battle with external or internal forces under the light of the Leo Full Moon, beware of the shadow of defensiveness and feeling the need to fight off those perceived as invaders at all costs. Particularly within inner processes of conflict, the various parts of self that seem to be at odds with one another may also lead to new insights and awareness as we let go of the need to control and allow seemingly paradoxical impulses to deepen into the tension of relationship with one another. The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the night at a pivotal turning point of astrological cycles- may its brilliant light nurture the turning of mind needed to make the decisions and choices most aligned with the creative potential ready to emerge from within you.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. Wessex Astrologer.

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

de Fouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert. (1996). Light on Life: Introduction to the Astrology of  India. Lotus Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice. Rubedo Press.

Harness, Dennis. (1999). The Nakshatras: the Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press.

New Moon in Leo

Gold phiale (libation bowl), 4th – 3rd Century B.C. (Greek)

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on August 8 will be brimming with the brilliant solar radiance that animates the Moon every year when she unites with the Sun in its fiery home of Leo, yet this year its inception will be strongly shaped by the potent force of Saturn and Jupiter occupying the opposite sign of Aquarius. Within the polarity between Leo and Aquarius, our urge to center upon the personal subjectivity of our passions must come into relationship with the plurality of multiplicities surrounding us internally and externally, including on the outskirts of our awareness. As the New Moon in Leo can facilitate connection with the creative desires we wish to pursue, its opposition with Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius calls for us to find ways of bridging the blazing sovereignty of our purpose with the needs of wider networks and communities. The darkness of the New Moon in Leo will provide fertile soil for what has been gestating in your heart, readying itself to transmit its fiery eros through the presence and work you bring into the world.

As the Leo New Moon is separating from hard aspects with Saturn and Uranus while applying to an opposition with Jupiter, its zodiacal placement is strongly configured to the astrological movements which correlate with the uncertainty of being at a collective threshold while simultaneously experiencing our own personal process of metamorphosis. When feeling the tension of holding paradoxical perceptions while facing a crossroads or preparing to cross a threshold, it is natural for inner defenses to surface into awareness and lead us to question the direction forward. With the enlivening and steadying force of the Sun at the core of the lunation, we can utilize the Leo New Moon for investigating the nooks and crannies of our inner walls and exploring the ways we have built up layers of defense over time.

Within the dynamic strain between Saturn and Uranus, the propulsive force of Uranus may prod us to break free of old limitations or shatter forms of security in favor of whatever feels exciting and freeing, while the influence of Saturn may restrain us from making major changes due to fear of the unknown or feeling we are not ready. However, the profound contemplative capacity of Saturn in Aquarius can also help us reflect upon the ways in which we may feel blocked or inhibited from pursuing new directions, revealing insights regarding the past patterns sourcing our present. Now that Jupiter has returned to sharing the zodiacal terrain of Aquarius with Saturn, we can draw upon the growth oriented nature of Jupiter to find ways of integrating ideas of potential growth that may have felt too overwhelming in the past to expand into.

The fact that the Leo New Moon is applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Aquarius is additionally significant since the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius on August 22 will be forming a conjunction with Jupiter. Allow yourself to sit with whatever issues may be arising regarding desires and plans, as the concentrated focus of Jupiter in Aquarius can assist in gaining a broader perspective that may reveal multiple sides of present circumstances that need to be considered. Whether patience or more urgent action is required, making space to reflect upon whatever challenges you have been contending with will help with grounding into the next steps to take. With Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Mercury, the Sun and the Moon all occupying fixed signs, you may find yourself more concerned than normal with ruminating over longterm plans and musings related to longterm visions. Between the Leo New Moon and when the Moon forms a conjunction with Jupiter while waxing into fullness on August 22, find ways to generate forward momentum on what you wish to create, gathering the courage to cross the threshold between how things have been and the unknown potential of what you are becoming.

Isadora Duncan at the Parthenon (1921) by Edward Steichen

In addition to the Leo Moon applying to an opposition with Jupiter, Mercury in Leo is also forming an opposition with Jupiter in Aquarius that will become exact on August 10 at 28°24′ of Leo and Aquarius. Mercury in Leo recently formed an opposition with Saturn on August 1 and a square with Uranus on August 3, and so the tension between Mercury with Jupiter during the Leo New Moon will make us more acutely aware of adjustments needed to be made within developing plans, aspects of ideas that need to be let go as well as new sources of inspiration that may open new potential directions. Mercury will then quickly move into its earthy home and exaltation of Virgo on August 11 and into a catalyzing square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes that it will complete on August 15. As Mercury is the ruler of the transiting north node in Gemini, the week following the lunation will place the star of Hermes in position to provide key insight into the issues surrounding the new directions we wish to pursue and however storylines are changing.

Meanwhile, Mars in Virgo is also applying to a tense square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes during the Leo New Moon, completing the aspect a few days after the lunation on August 11. The square between Mars and the lunar nodes comes less than two weeks behind the square formed by Venus with the lunar nodes on July 29 that brought awareness of important changes needing to be made within relational dynamics. It’s been less than a month since Venus and Mars formed a conjunction on July 13 and we are only at the beginning of a long process of coming to terms with the new creative and relational desires that will be taking shape in correlation as they will ultimately form two more conjunctions on February 16, 2022 and March 5, 2022 before fully initiating their new cycle. For now, with Mars forming a square to the lunar nodes we may feel frustration regarding what isn’t working or feeling like we haven’t made enough progress on what we desire to create. Allow the ingenuity of Mars in Virgo to create mutations in plans and actions to better fit the reality of changing circumstances.

As the Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Aquarius that will occur on August 22, Mercury will form a conjunction with Mars in Virgo on August 18. The conjunction between Mercury and Mars in Virgo is unusually important due to the fact that Mercury will end up forming two more conjunctions with Mars in the next few months due to stationing retrograde at the end of September. Mercury will form a second conjunction with Mars in Libra on October 9 while Mercury is retrograde, with both Mercury and Mars additionally forming conjunctions with the Sun. After Mercury stations direct it will form its third conjunction with Mars in Scorpio on November 10 at the same time that Mercury and Mars will also be forming an opposition with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn. As a result, the forthcoming lunar cycle will introduce a theme involving Mercury and Mars that will not only be playing out over the course of the next three months but will ultimately also serve as yet another catalyzing trigger to the immense changes in life structures taking place as Saturn and Uranus continue their change inducing, clashing relationship.

Vitally, the first conjunction between Mercury and Mars at 12°48′ Virgo on August 18 is notable due to it occurring at the same time that Uranus will be stationing retrograde at 14°48′ Taurus on August 19. Not only will the astrological atmosphere be saturated with the emancipatory impulses of Uranus at this time, but the conjunction between Mercury and Mars will be forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus. Moreover, the conjunction between Mars and Mercury will be occurring around the same time that Mercury is rising into its first appearance as a visible Evening Star, intensifying the influence of the star of Hermes. As a result, as we approach the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius there will be powerful support for breaking free from past restrictive patterns and choosing to pursue the uncertainty of change rather than remain in the normalcy of a comfort zone.

Isadora Duncan by Arnold Genthe

Venus is continuing to glow bright as an Evening Star following sunset and is applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces during the lunation. Venus will form an exact opposition with Neptune at 22°41′ of Virgo and Pisces on August 9, a day after the Leo New Moon. Moreover, Venus in Virgo is also applying to a flowing trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn, forming an exact trine with Pluto on August 11 at 24°59′ of Virgo and Capricorn. The discerning analysis of Venus in Virgo can strip away illusory projections within relational dynamics so we may better orient to the actual needs and reality of our relationships. Yet there is also an ideal of love and devotion that Venus in Virgo can cultivate within her polarizing aspect with Neptune to express within our relationships, with the empowering trine between Venus and Pluto adding a depth of feeling that can connect with the inner soulfulness of each partner. If you have been experiencing difficult emotions or anxieties recently, let Venus direct you towards tangible sources of pleasure that can relax your mind and allow for greater ease in flowing with whatever changes have been taking shape in your life.

After moving through her opposition with Neptune and trine with Pluto, Venus will enter her airy domicile of Libra on August 15. Venus will remain in Libra until September 10 when she will enter Scorpio. After entering Libra, Venus will begin applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that will become exact on August 23, a day after the upcoming Full Moon in Aquarius. Venus in Libra will be helpful for mediating any difficulties or tension within relationship as well as provide opportunities for meaningful and delightful social interactions. With Venus forming harmonious relationships with both Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius during her time in Libra, it will be an opportune time for making significant progress on whatever new creative directions become generated by the New Moon in Leo. The presence of Venus in her airy home will also create a supportive astrological climate for having conversations within relationships about changing needs and figuring out however the relational dynamics between partners need to be altered accordingly.

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The New Moon in Leo is in the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of triumphant victory, we see the strident champion being honored by an adoring crowd as well as a wreath of laurel.  As laurel is of the nature of the Sun just like the gold medals pursued by competitors in the recent Olympic games, there is potential within the second face of Leo for not only expression of soulful radiance, creativity, and power but also reception of honors for it. Fittingly, Jupiter rules the second face of Leo, revealing the potency found within this decan for expansive success.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  Yet the pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, as Coppock wrote that “great works do not guarantee any greatness of character.” Coppock further noted that the second face of Leo can guide us toward realizing what elements of our public persona are out of alignment with our inner integrity, or instead how we may need to embody more humility within experiences of recent praise or glory. Coppock made the point that “recognition of one’s virtues does not dispel the reality of one’s vices,” since many images of the decan in ancient text show it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan.” Coppock declared that the promise and power of victory is so strong in this decan we must guard against becoming blinded by the solar light of success.

Thus we can utilize the New Moon in the second decan of Leo for gaining insight into how to refine the way we are expressing the indomitable light of our inner soul into the world around us. Fascinatingly, it is none other than the great goddess Isis who resides in the second face of Leo according to the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Isis became syncretized as the goddess containing all goddesses in the Hellenistic era, and just as she weaves many traditions together in her history, so does she weave a web of love through times of trauma to bring about an eventual retrieval and integration of wholeness. Isis brings the courage needed to resiliently persist on inner journeys to reanimate whatever aspects of our essential self have become fragmented. Within the darkness of the New Moon in Leo, be willing to descend into inner depths so that you may retrieve desires that had become lost or suppressed, arising again full of purpose and meaning to share in the world.

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References

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

Full Moon in Leo

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future 1955 by Joseph Beuys

Hearts of the Revolutionaries: Passage of the Planets of the Future (1955) by Joseph Beuys

Full Moon in Leo

Cast the emptiness from your arms
into the space we breathe: perhaps the birds
will sense the increase of air with more passionate flying.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the First Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

The fiery Full Moon in Leo on January 28 will set events in motion that have been building in tension, enflaming the underlying astrological aspects that have correlated with volatile events as well as major changes in storylines during the past month. The Full Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Aquarius as well as a disruptive square aspect with Mars in Taurus. With the Moon fully illuminated in the zodiacal home of the Sun, find your center within the immense changes taking shape around and within you. Like a calyx protecting and nurturing the flaming colors of the bloom ready to open, within heart space you may deepen into the glowing meaning that is emerging from whatever difficulties you have been through recently.

There is stunning timing at play between the peak radiance of the Leo Full Moon with the synodic cycle of Jupiter, as Jupiter is at the very end of its solar cycle when the Moon forms its exact opposition with the Sun. Jupiter in Aquarius is in the underworld, experiencing both the putrefaction of its past cycle as well as the purifying regeneration of being reseeded by the Sun. Jupiter will be reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun about six and a half hours after the Moon forms its opposition with the Sun, giving an amplified charge to the inner illumination we may experience with Jupiter being reborn.

As Jupiter signifies hope, prosperity, and optimism, we may experience a renewal of faith regarding the path we are following into the unknown as Jupiter is revivified by the Sun. Jupiter will continue to be gestating the new meaning of its cycle while invisible until re-emerging into the visible light of its Morning Star phase in mid February. As Jupiter helps with creation of new growth and life, synthesizing meaning and wisdom from our experiences, so may we gain greater understanding of the shifting structures within personal and collective movements during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

We are also at the beginning of a new Saturn cycle with the Sun, as the Sun formed a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on January 23. Thus the Leo Full Moon is also illuminating how the new solar seeds of Saturn are beginning to gestate, as Saturn continues to make its way through its invisible underworld phase. We are only at the beginning of Saturn’s journey through Aquarius that will stretch into March 2023, and so the Leo Full Moon is also shining a spotlight on the tests and challenges that Saturn will be bringing to our attention.  The solutions to larger problems may not be ready to emerge, but the dazzling light of the lunation can help us realize what areas of life need our focus in the month ahead.

Moreover, since the Sun formed a square with Uranus in Taurus on January 26, the Full Moon will heighten awareness of whatever breaking points or innovative changes are emerging with the discordant square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that will be intensifying in the next few weeks. Since the Full Moon is separating from Saturn and Uranus and applying to Jupiter and Mars, the lunation is setting off all of the dynamics between Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars that have correlated with numerous protests and cacophonous volatility in global events during the past month.


Dawn Moon and Tumbling Snow (1889) by Kobayashi Heihachirō, from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

The catalyzing square between the Leo Full Moon with Mars in Taurus may bring stressful events or conflicts to mediate, but on a constructive level can also provide the impetus to make a needed change happen. If it’s necessary to create separation from a troubling source or inject motivated passion into making a certain movement happen, the triggering of Mars by the lunation can supply an amplified boost in the desired direction. It will also be important to pay attention to whatever symptoms of difficulty we experience, as they may indicate deeper issues below the surface of events that we will need to focus on to repair and heal in the month ahead.

While the Leo Full Moon will enflame the friction between Uranus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, it also demarcates the beginning of Mars and Jupiter slowly moving away from the shattering square aspect taking shape between Saturn and Uranus. The first exact square between Saturn and Uranus will take place on February 17, and so from now until then the rupturing emanating from their clashing dynamic will continue to intensify. However, since Mars and Jupiter have recently set off the volatility building between Saturn and Uranus, we are already gaining a sense of what sorts of collective and personal disruptions are developing in correlation.

When the slow contractions of Saturn come into conflict with insistence from Uranus on rapid innovation, we need to come to terms with the elements of life we previously relied upon for security that need to be released to make space for the new forms emerging. We also need to keep in mind the longview that the radical shifts and breaking apart in personal foundations and systemic structures that will correlate with the tension between Saturn and Uranus will be taking place over the next two years. We are only at the beginning of the story, and since we know that Saturn and Uranus will be bringing irrevocable change we can begin to deepen into the internal shifts we are experiencing and make space to sort through the visions of expansive growth we receive. In the short term, there will be a need for rapid responses to address immediate concerns and cultivate the stability needed to navigate the liminal passage ahead.

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

Although not in an exact aspect with the Leo Full Moon, Mercury in Aquarius is a major underlying influence of the lunation due to it stationing retrograde two days later on January 30. As a result, the intensification of all things related to Mercury in the days following the Full Moon will necessitate being as mindful as possible and paying attention to whatever early signs are emerging regarding the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Mercury will be retrograde from January 30 until February 20, backtracking from 26°29’ Aquarius to 11°01 Aquarius. Mercury while retrograde will pull us back into the volatile tension between Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus and so there will be opportunities to continue to address whatever issues are emerging with the Leo Full Moon in the month ahead.

When Mercury stations to begin shifting retrograde it can be especially helpful to pay close attention to your dreams and any omens or synchronicities you experience in daily life that can help you better understand the message that Mercury will be delivering during its retrograde. This is especially the case now due to Neptune in Pisces also forming an exact square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes.  The disorienting square between Neptune with the transiting lunar nodes can be confusing and make crisp clarity difficult to grasp, but can be powerful in terms of imaginal activation. While the conspiracy theories running rampant in collective events is one side of Neptune forming a square with the lunar nodes, at the same time in our personal life we may receive otherworldly insight that can unveil illusions we had been holding as well as important new perspectives to consider. With Mercury shifting into retrograde movement for the rest of the waning lunar cycle, the psychopomp nature of Mercury when retrograde can facilitate descent into inner mysteries to gather important understanding that will ultimately help us in navigating external events.

profile of shadow by Odilon Redon

Profile of Shadow (1895) by Odilon Redon

The other major astrological aspect embedded within the Leo Full Moon is the conjunction between Venus with Pluto in Capricorn. When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

In addition to Venus catalyzing descent into the underworld desires of Pluto, in the week following the Full Moon we will also experience the heliacal setting of Venus as the star of Aphrodites shares its final light as a Morning Star before disappearing into the shadows of its invisible, underworld phase. Venus will continue to be visible as she makes her way through the rest of the sign of Capricorn, but will begin disappearing from view once she enters Aquarius on February 1. This amplifies the importance of whatever messages you are receiving from the union of Venus and Pluto, as Venus may awaken important desires that will need to be tended and nurtured as she makes her way through her underworld phase in the months ahead. Venus will eventually re-emerge into visible light as an Evening Star in early May.

5 of Wands

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the first decan of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature.

Saturn and the Sun are the rulers of the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and radiate meaning to a receptive audience. The meaning of the lunation in this decan is especially notable for those who were born with Saturn in the first decan of Leo, as they are not only experiencing their Saturn opposition but it also being illuminated by a Full Moon in square with Mars and Uranus. Whether you are dealing with a Saturn opposition or not, it will nonetheless be wise to use the slow and steady contemplation of Saturn to consider the ways in which your engagement with the world has felt inauthentic. As Saturn in Aquarius was recently regenerated by the Sun, allow whatever aspects of your old identity and ambitions need to be shed to make space for a more authentic presence to emerge.

It’s further compelling that the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down old structures that can be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results as we transition from a volatile month of January into a month of February that will be dominated by Mercury being retrograde in Aquarius with Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn also occupying Aquarius. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon guide your creative process so it may align with the changes of nature taking shape within internal and external realms. As the Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos sings:

Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:  /  Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:  /  All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:  Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.  /  To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.  /  Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:  /  Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

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.

 

Full Moon in Leo

lion head 4th centurcy bc

Achaemenid Gold (6th – 4th Century B.C.)

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is the place of fixed fire, the indomitable flames that endure and resiliently persist in the face of extinguishing forces. The Full Moon in Leo on February 8 (or 9th, depending upon time zone) is an invitation for sustaining focus on the creations you most dearly wish to forge from your inner furnace, no matter how dire the collective crises of the time appear.  The Full Moon is applying toward a flowing trine with Mars in Sagittarius, inciting passionate heat and radiant inspiration that can enliven any downcast spirits. Since 2020 began with the intensifying conjunction of Saturn and Pluto combined with volatile eclipses, the Leo Full Moon can stoke movement driven by the undercurrents of whatever deep material has been stirred up in the past month.

Heroism and courage are character traits associated with Leo we will need to embody in 2020, as it is a year that promises immense collective change with numerous cycles within astrology coming to endings and beginnings. Yet while heroines will be needed, the trine between the forthright Leo Moon and crusading Mars in Sagittarius also warns against hubris and righteously exerting your will in conflicts in which you think you know best.  The Leo Full Moon is ruled by the Sun in Aquarius, giving it the unique characteristic of being the only Full Moon in which the polarity between Sun and Moon is mitigated by the Sun receiving the Moon into its fiery home. The cool, contemplative nature of the Aquarius Sun can help in detaching from emotional reactivity, discerning choices for authentically contributing the skills we are excited about developing within the wider community.

While the trine with Mars is the only aspect the Full Moon is making with other planets, if we are willing to welcome the dwarf planet Eris into consideration there is a fire triangle formed by the Full Moon, Mars and the distant trans-Neptunian entity named after the goddess of discord. While there hasn’t been a lot of time to compile astrological research concerning the meaning of Eris since her discovery in 2005, astrologers have begun to construct significations based in large part upon her meaning in mythology and wildly eccentric orbit. The chaotic strife Eris delights in instigating can be witnessed clearly in current events, and so it is fitting that the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 formed a harsh square aspect with Eris. The fiery triangle between Eris, Mars, and the Full Moon can propel breakthroughs that have their source within the volatility of collective breakdowns and personal tensions that have sharpened awareness of what matters most to us.

The Full Moon is also engaged in aspects with asteroid goddesses, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square aspect with Vesta in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Juno retrograde in Libra. As we become clearer about what gifts we wish to cultivate from exploration of our inner darkness, we will need to form mutually beneficial relationships with collaborators who can help bring the imaginal potency we have been developing into the light in ways that can be received by a resonant audience. We also need to reflect upon the balance of power and responsibility within our relationships, making adjustments so that there is a fair distribution of tasks and reciprocal attention to having emotional needs met. There is stormy astrology on the horizon we will be able to navigate more effectively by addressing relational imbalances that the Leo Full Moon illuminates.

John_Duncan_-_007

by John Duncan

There will likely be important relational issues brought to attention by the passage of Venus in Aries forming conjunctions with Chiron and the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith. Allow the full light of the Moon to expose whatever material has been harbored in your shadow and projected into your relationships. It’s a good time for the practice of reflecting upon how not only those you desire but also are repulsed by can reveal key patterns about yourself you have not been consciously aware of.  Venus expresses ardor directly in Aries and once struck by the arrow of Eros, Venus in Aries will claim the agency required to draw closer to the source of attraction. With Venus continuing to shine brightly in twilight as an Evening Star, though impulsively following desires can lead to trouble it will be the kind of trouble that can also trigger vital lessons.

Venus is also applying toward a sextile with Ceres in Aquarius as Ceres is in an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Venus in Aries is not afraid to fight for whatever it considers to be true, good, and beautiful, and so one way this configuration may show up is through increased interest in social activism and protest movements building around issues of environmental and social justice. The square between Ceres and Uranus can feel upsetting and enraging regarding any personal or collective events in which greed and power dynamics harm or threaten life, yet the invigorating sextile between Venus and Ceres will stoke intrinsic motivation to take action as needed. In some cases this may mean taking the risk to initiate direct movement toward goals, in other cases there may need to be a staking out of space and time in which to actively contemplate the next course of action.

In the week following the Full Moon, whatever issues surface that involve Venus in Aries will continue to demand attention as Venus will be applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes that it will complete on February 13. Venus in Aries delights in the creation of movement, and so if facing dilemmas related to Venus it will be helpful to be physically active such as taking hikes in nature while reflecting upon the next steps to take. Interestingly, although Venus is at the zodiacal point of being at the southern bending in relation to the lunar nodes, it is simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with its own geocentric north node and so will be passing across the ecliptic in the next week from southern into northern latitude (fittingly on February 14 aka Valentine’s Day). This means that the instinctual, subjective emotions and desires that Venus in Aries stirs up will be absolutely essential to integrate and can serve as important guidance in how to more fully engage in the larger changes that want to take shape in our life.

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John Duncan The Turn of the Tide

Just like Venus, Mercury in Pisces is also visible during sunset and in fact will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on February 10 at ten degrees of Pisces. The maximum elongation of Mercury as Evening Star demarcates a shift in speed as it slows down to match the steady course of the Sun. Although Mercury will continue to be visible in the week following the Full Moon, it will increasingly become slower until stationing retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces. This means that issues that will become deeply involved in the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase that will last from February 16 until March 9 will be more obviously rising to the surface in the week following the Full Moon. If you notice old patterns and storylines emerging that could be laid to rest, they can serve as worthy compost during the initial putrefying phase of Mercury retrograde that will last from the stationing of Mercury on February 16 until the inferior conjunction of Mercury on February 25 that will occur two days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

It is notable that not only is Mercury in its fall in Pisces, it is further under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. This does not signify doom but does invite contemplation of ambition and desires for greater power and status within society. Rather than insisting on having our expectations of higher achievement fulfilled, Mercury and Jupiter are in position to facilitate descent into the depths of inner darkness and shadow. There is wisdom and depth to gather in our unconscious underworld if we are willing to undergo the trials we must necessarily encounter when journeying there. From now through the back and forth of Mercury retrograde, we will have the opportunity to regenerate our beliefs and visions of meaning and what we want to create with our life.

Mercury is also mediating the polarity between the lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a trine with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. Furthermore, Mercury is applying to an exact sextile with Pallas Athena in Capricorn, as Pallas Athena is beginning to separate from a recent conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. The collective wounds associated with the misogyny of patriarchy that has its roots in the ancient times that astrology itself was developed have been on full display in the current events that have corresponded with a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Since Mercury in Pisces is more about feeling than articulation, symbol more so than thesis statement, we will have opportunities to deeply feel and reckon with how our thoughts and ideas are systematically conditioned by the times we are living in. These insights will go far beyond words, yet by opening to the possibility of making the inner changes we are capable of making we can begin to strip away however we have been inauthentically conditioned by dominant cultural forces.

Pallas Athena in Capricorn will be an overlooked player in the great planetary drama that will be enfolding in February and March after Mars enters Capricorn on February 16. Pallas Athena will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn that will last all the way through the Aries Equinox into April, with Pallas Athena being present with Jupiter and Pluto when they form their first conjunction on April 4. Pallas Athena is ultimately a symbol of sacred feminine wisdom, and though her mythology has had her wielded as a weapon in the hands of empires of the past, so may she side with the forces of liberation in the present.

paul klee ghost chamber with tall door

Paul Klee (1925) Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (New Version)

The major outer planetary aspect that will form during the waning half of the current lunar cycle will be Jupiter in Capricorn receiving Neptune in Pisces through a waning sextile aspect that will complete on February 20. This will be the first of three sextile aspects that will form between Jupiter and Neptune during 2020 (the others will be on July 27 and October 11), making it a key aspect for the year. The harmonious interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can be helpful in realigning our vision of life this year to be more congruent with all of the changes that have been taking shape in the past year, especially changes corresponding with the last quarter square formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces during 2019.

Within the volatile breakdown of societal structures during 2020, Jupiter and Neptune’s relationship can inspire imaginative ideas for coalescing new growth from whatever dissolution and shedding we have been undergoing personally. In particular, we can gain awareness of old beliefs we need to release that have been interfering with our capacity for more deeply understanding our present circumstances. During the Leo Full Moon, Jupiter is applying within two degrees to an exact sextile with Neptune, as Neptune is simultaneously conjoining the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith. The combination of Neptune with Black Moon Lilith is a potent symbol for how we can become distracted and seduced away from our true authenticity by the myriad forms of illusory media surrounding us and the polarizing political conflicts that have become further exacerbated through manipulative media.

wands07

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Leo Full 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.

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. As the peak illumination of the Leo Full Moon wanes in the week ahead, open yourself to discovering a symbol of your most soulful purpose to carry through the challenges to come in 2020. Not as a banner to use in imposing your will upon others, but rather as a guiding star you may follow through whatever difficulties and darkness arise.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

New Moon in Leo: Tending the Forge’s Fire

nielsen_1001-nights_overseer's tale

Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Overseer’s Tale” from 1001 Arabian Nights

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on July 31 seeds solar fire illuminating the dawn of a new lunar cycle, bringing an end to a month of eclipses and the strange descent into soul making and twists of fate that occur when our luminaries become devoured in shadow. Though the Leo New Moon officially marks the end of eclipse season, its fiery light will be casting shadows full of revelations from the eclipses that will continue to foment change.  Whatever came through during the Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 will be cohering into new forms during August, bringing the potential to gain clarity regarding whatever shifts in storylines emerged in the past month. There is also a liberating quality to the lunation that can help in making creative breakthroughs, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square with Uranus and applying to a trine with Jupiter. Just in time, the ever nimble Mercury will be making sure we get the message we need to receive as it will be stationing direct as the Moon and Sun unite in Leo.

Not only is the Moon in Leo being reseeded with solar light in darkness, Venus in Leo has also descended into her invisible phase of dark initiation, death and rebirth. While star power radiates from Venus in Leo when in her visible phase, in her current solar phase she has turned away from external pursuits in order to experience an inner rapture and epiphany. Venus is at the end of her cycle which will ultimately transition her from being the glorious Morning Star role she played previously during 2019 into the Evening Star role she will take on toward the end of September into October when she becomes visible again in the twilight of sunset. As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Venus will be experiencing a period of regeneration and purification as she races toward her sacred union in the heart of the Sun at 21º11′ Leo on August 13 or 14, depending upon your time zone. Venus will be encountered in hidden realms and in the shared secrecy of intimacy during August.

For the rest of the month, Venus will be inviting you to ponder the mystery of the past month of eclipse season, letting  whatever has been stirred up to settle, giving yourself time and space to integrate the changes in feeling and desire. Venus in Leo is calling us to reconsider the values we have been living by as well as the style and aesthetics we express ourselves through and utilize to magnetize and attract what we want to create. It may be necessary to surrender to a metamorphosis of identity, with old layers of our persona peeling away to reveal a new sense of self ready to begin emerging. There could be difficulties and doubts swirling around us as we recover from an intense eclipse season that was aligned with Saturn and Pluto, but if we are willing to let Venus lead us into our inner depths there will be passion, power, and purpose for us to discover alongside the vulnerability that comes within liminal states of change.

Moreover, the Leo New Moon also marks the entrance of Mars into its invisible phase of darkness at the end of its synodic cycle that began on 25 July 2017 at 4º12′ Leo. Mars is also calling us to regenerate our desires and will-force as it undergoes a period of purging and purification until it is reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2 at 9º41′ Virgo. Allow yourself to consider in the darkness of the Moon the trajectory of your life in the last two years, which desires you were able to achieve with satisfaction, which ones led you astray, and the wisdom you have gathered from all of the martial adventures you have undertaken. If you feel anger and frustration over unfulfilled ambitions or barriers that have obstructed you while Mars is in the process of burning up in the Sun, look for healthy physical outlets to transmit the energy through. Mars in Leo has the fiery heart of the lion and the courage we need to descend with the star of Ares into the underworld to experience a rebirth of how we wish to wield the force of Mars in its forthcoming cycle.

nielsen_1001-nights_tale of the third dervish

Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Tale of the Third Dervish” from 1001 Arabian Nights

As the Leo Moon waxes towards its first crescent light it will pass through a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Sagittarius that will aid in elevating vision from the watery depths of July into conception of how the volatility of eclipse season is coagulating into new forms. Furthermore, Venus and the Sun in Leo will both be applying toward a trine with Jupiter which the Sun will complete on August 7 and Venus on August 8. While Jupiter in Sagittarius was out of aspect with the eclipses in July, the star of Zeus will dramatically come back into prominence during August. Jupiter will station direct on August 11 on the same day that Uranus in Taurus will station retrograde, which is notable due to Venus applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus during the New Moon, with the Sun and Moon beginning to separate from a square with Uranus. As a result, the first couple of weeks of August will be full of the emancipatory influence of Jupiter and Uranus, inciting flights of inspiration and vision.

Jupiter has been retrograde since April 10 when it stood still at 24º21′ Sagittarius in order to turn backward toward its direct stationing point at 14º30′ Sagittarius. For four months Jupiter has been glowing bright in night skies asking us to integrate and make meaning from our myriad experiences. As Jupiter stations while forming a flowing trine with the Sun and Venus in Leo, we have an opportune period to take stock of whatever we have been working on, the ideas for what we want to conceive and create, as well as the current state of our relationships and how to adjust our co-participation based upon the inner changes that have been brewing in recent months. Meanwhile, the square between Venus and Uranus will shake up whatever has become stuck or stagnant in the way we have been relating with others or expressing ourselves. August begs us to invite eros into our psyche and let the fires of our imagination guide us forward.

Amazingly, just as Jupiter is beginning to slow down to station direct on August 11, it is entering into an antiscia aspect with Saturn in Capricorn that will extend all the way through September 21. This means that while Saturn and Jupiter are not in a traditional aspect, they can still see one another through being equidistant to 0º Cancer, mirroring each other across the solstice axis at places that share the same amount of daylight. Reinhold Ebertin noted that “patience and perseverance” comes with Jupiter and Saturn in a planetary picture, a worthy attitude to bring toward whatever material and events have been stirred up by the recent eclipse season, especially since the transiting South Node of the Moon will also be traveling with Saturn and making its antiscia with Jupiter more deeply karmic.

Jupiter has been in balsamic relationship with Saturn during 2019, bringing the revisioning and karmic release that always comes at the ending of their cycle. Jupiter and Saturn began their current cycle on 28 May 2000 at 22º42′ Taurus, and their forthcoming union at the end of 2020 in Aquarius is the great conjunction that will launch us into a new astrological era centered around the element of air. After Jupiter enters Capricorn on 2 December 2019 we will have an intensification of the reseeding and release that comes at the end of any cycle, but from now through September the mirroring of Jupiter and Saturn through antiscia can give us an early start on conceptualizing how to begin adjusting our long-term plans to align with the wider collective shifts emerging as we enter the new decade. The 2020s will be initiated by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that also forms a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, and so it will be worth considering what direction you want your life to go and what you want to create in the next couple of years as both Jupiter and Uranus station simultaneously this month.

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Kay Nielsen illustration from The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain

While the Moon, Venus, and Mars will all be invisible, overwhelmed by proximity to the indomitable flames of the Sun in Leo, Mercury is making a dramatic appearance and announcement at the same time the New Moon in Leo is reseeded. Mercury is stationing direct at 23º56′ Cancer while forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn, as well as becoming visible again as a Morning Star. Thus as the Moon in Leo waxes into its first crescent light of a new cycle, we have a potent opportunity to deepen the understanding and revelation we have gathered during Mercury’s retrograde phase that began July 7 at 4º27′ Leo. We can expect an upsurge of information to enter our awareness from subconscious depths and unexpected sources, or a new insight into whatever material was stirred up by the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. The tension between Mercury and Pluto can facilitate penetrating underneath the surface of conventions, probing beyond societal boundaries to understand the essence of whatever you have been exploring.

As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 9 at 29º Cancer, and then will return to Leo on August 11 and begin applying toward a harmonious trine with Jupiter as the star of Zeus stations direct in Sagittarius. However, before we get to mid August when Mercury is picking up speed and creative potency, we need to make the space to integrate the revelations brought by Mercury stationing direct during the darkness of the Leo New Moon. It’s always necessary to maintain sharp focus toward picking up whatever signs and omens cross our path when Mercury is stationing direct, but this is especially the case this time round with Mercury forming an opposition to the degree of the recent Lunar Eclipse. Let the cunning tricks and deft mixing of Mercury work itself on your mind, loosening plans and preconceived notions in order to open awareness to what your soul is guiding you to receive from within.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon in Leo strides forward in the first face of Leo, associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A tarot card associated with conflict and competition, the strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity so that we do not become trapped in a public role ill-suited to our nature.

Saturn rules the first face of Leo, suggesting the necessity of putting time and concerted effort into constructing an effective vehicle to broadcast our work and connect with a receptive audience. The past month of eclipses were difficult for many in part due to the fact that Saturn was playing an integral role in both, with Mercury retrograde at the same time. Use the gift for slow and steady contemplation that Saturn offers toward considering whatever has been feeling inauthentic regarding the persona through which you have been engaging the world. As Saturn in Capricorn will be continuing to plod along backwards in alignment with the South Node of the Moon for the rest of the month, there are aspects of your old identity and ambition to shed in order to make space for a more vital passion to follow forward.

While the New Moon in Leo is in the first decan of Leo, it is also within the Egyptian bounds of Venus, meaning that Venus will be setting the terms of the lunation while in process of being burned up and regenerated by the flames of the Leo Sun. Thus Venus can help guide us in remaking the mask we wear in public, drawing us into interior depths to discover inspiration attuned to our soul. Fittingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Hephaistos to the first face of Leo, the greek god of artisans, craftsman, sculptors, blacksmiths, and all manner of fire. Like Hephaistos, we may transfigure the pain of wounds and rejection into artistic forms, tending the fire of the forge as we melt down old structures that can be refashioned anew. The work of Hephaistos is not about speed and making something happen fast, but rather taking the necessary time to work and rework the matter into rarified manifestation. Similarly, we need to take our time and not demand quick results in August, letting our creative process align with the changes of nature taking shape within us and outside us.

Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:  /  Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:  /  All-taming artist, all-diffusive pow’r, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:  Æther, Sun, Moon, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.  /  To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffus’d thro’ mortal bodies bright and strong.  /  Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:  /  Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Tejedora Roja

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Hailed across media platforms as the super blood wolf moon, the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo on January 20/21 will be a magical visual experience for those able to view it. The astrological aspects surrounding the eclipse are also intense and complex, making the media hype an intriguing instance in which mass public attention has been brought to a celestial event which truly has significant ramifications. All of the planets are direct in motion and in aspect, yet the total eclipse brings a warped and strange atmosphere for their interactions to occur within.  These aspects include Venus and Jupiter uniting in square to Neptune, Mars and Saturn in a square aspect, and Mercury moving from a conjunction with Pluto toward union with the South Node of the Moon and a square with Uranus.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is simultaneously closing a chapter of our lives while opening a new door, as it is the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius, signs we have been experiencing eclipses within since February 2017.

The Leo Moon will be glamorously garbed in red, as the shadow cast by the earth creates the deep reddening visual effect known as a blood moon. The Sun is on the side of the South Node of the Moon, while eclipsed luna is on the side of the North Node of the Moon, indicating a confrontation with past patterns and issues necessitating a letting go into a more visceral engagement with the present. As red shadows consume the Leo Moon, our desires to pursue new opportunities will become engulfed in the shadowy realm of our aspirations, our need for recognition, validation, or acclaim. There is an opportunity here to explore the shadowy subconscious material underlying your ambitions, in particular whatever has been building since the first Lunar Eclipse in Leo that happened in February 2017.

Prior to the eclipse, the waxing Moon in Cancer conjoined its own North Node in Cancer while also applying to a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in Aries. This places Uranus at the southern bending of the lunar nodes at the time of the eclipse, amplifying the activation of unconscious material in a way that can feel extremely volatile. Moreover, Mercury is conjoining the South Node of the Moon while applying to a square with Uranus, magnifying our perception of previously hidden issues. Gaining awareness of whatever crashes through dissolving interior boundaries also brings the potential gift of Uranus for liberating us from old patterns that have been restricting us without our full realization of their impact. However, in this process of coming to terms with our past and its intersection with where we feel pulled into a future unknown, we will need to have patience and compassion, and do our best to communicate with responsible integrity. It will help to not only take the courage of Leo into this experience, but also the playful creativity that can be lit by the fires of Leo.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Despedida

Within the reddening of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, we will be experiencing the amazing timing of the two malefic planets of astrology confronting one another while the two benefic planets of astrology unite together at the same time. The change inducing square formed by Mars and Saturn can correspond with separations and severing yourself from something or someone whose time has passed, but it can also correlate with seizing determined resiliency in working through present obstacles with disciplined hard work. This is in contrast to the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter which indicates fertilization of something pleasurable and of great inner value, a stoking of desire to pursue our most expansive dream of what we can create and build together.

Yet there is also the underlying influence of Neptune in Pisces to consider within these aspects. Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius are forming a catalytic square with Neptune, while Saturn in Capricorn is also applying to a harmonizing sextile aspect with Neptune. As a result the resolutely realistic pragmatism of Saturn in Capricorn is loosened to consider a reordering of goals bathed in imaginal vision of broader potential. While this can correlate with opening to take action on desires we previously did not allow ourselves to follow, Neptune’s influence upon Venus and Jupiter means the scythe of Saturn will also be required to clear perception of any foggy delusions out of alignment with the reality of current circumstances. We could be unrealistic about available time, space, and resources or new information could come into awareness that changes everything. If possible it will be better to refrain from initiating significant new action for now and discern next steps as things settle in the week following the eclipse.

Since Venus and Jupiter are separating from a superior trine to Mars in Aries as well as holding a superior square to Neptune, there is an emphasis upon their positivity being able to ultimately uplift us out of present predicaments. Venus having completed its trine with Mars is especially significant considering their tense relationship in the second half of 2018 in which first Mars and then Venus went through retrograde phases that led to fracturing, shedding, and rebirthing for many. We are now at a point in which it is possible to make significant progress and reparations regarding whatever breakdowns or breakthroughs came about in the past six months, especially in the realm of personal relationships that both Mars and Venus relate to. Yet in the reddening shadows of the eclipse, we may be haunted by passing fears and feelings it will be better to let pass through us.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Remedios Varo La Llamada

The transiting lunar nodes are no longer in Leo and Aquarius and will not be again until the year 2026. Since the Leo eclipse is demarcating a finale to the corresponding narrative that has been developing since the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017, it will be worthwhile to reflect upon whatever has come to fruition as well as has passed away since that time. In particular, with Leo impacting the transiting North Node of the Moon, we have been given opportunities to enhance our creative actualization with life. Where have you been willing to take risks on behalf of heartfelt dreams and aspirations? What lessons have you learned in terms of going too far with excessive ambitions or need for attention? Though the lunar nodes in Cancer and Capricorn are seeding new lessons in new areas of our life, the encircling red shadows of the Leo eclipse will draw us toward a final lesson with regard to the choices we have set in motion to express our authentic nature and creativity through.

There are so many enormous societal issues causing problems around our global community, one way to access a higher potential of the aspects surrounding the eclipse is to collaborate with others who are also willing to devote effort and commitment toward shared ideals. Within the crimson cloaking of the eclipse, err on the side of choices and actions that make your blood flow more viscerally and your heart beat true. As the Leo Moon begins to wane within its full phase, it will begin applying to a grand fiery triangle with Mars in Aries and the union of Venus with Jupiter in Sagittarius. It’s an eclipse for releasing whatever is keeping you back from claiming the inner integrity to live fully according to your ideals, honoring the ancestry of those that have come before you on the path cleared by your most soulful desires.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The Total Lunar Eclipse ripens within the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A card associated with conflict and competition, there is a fitting symbolism for the blood red eclipse in the form of the dashing central figure dressed in crimson. The strife in the image suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired position amongst external competitors, or could instead be viewed as an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo, describing its power as focusing “a mass of attention on one point or person,” while bringing karmic consequences to the role or mask one bears in public performance for an audience. Coppock in particular noted the importance of aligning one’s public persona with one’s inner authenticity, and in this way we could view the central red figure in the image as our essential nature rising up to take control.

Saturn is the ruler of the first face of Leo in the descending rulership scheme of the decans, while the Sun is its ruler in the triplicity rulership scheme. Since Saturn in Capricorn is the ruler of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn as well as the transiting Aquarius Sun, it is vital in the wake of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to discern how well our work in the world is aligned with our inner values and authentic nature, shedding and releasing whatever aspects conflict.  The year ahead will witness Saturn slowly moving toward a union with Pluto in Capricorn that signifies massive decay, dissolution, and ultimate regeneration of innumerable societal structures and institutions. It will be up to each and every one of us to do our best to contribute toward the world we wish to create out of the destruction that will be coming in many collective fields. Rather than acting from fears of survival, the best guide for our determination moving forward will be from the courage of the heart, from the primordial light of eros felt within.

References

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

 

Mercury Retrograde in Leo

Mercury from Hermetic child of Sun and Moon

from Hermetic Child of Sun and Moon (1752)

Mercury Retrograde in Leo

Flower-muscle, slowly pulling open / the anemone’s vast meadow morning, / until the loud sky’s polyphonic light / comes pouring down into its womb,

muscle of infinite reception / flexed in the quiet flower star, / sometimes so overwhelmed by fullness / that the sunset’s call to rest

is scarcely able to give you back / the wide-sprung petal edges: you, / resolve and strength of how many worlds!

We violent ones, we last longer. / But when, in which of all these lives, / are we finally open and receivers?

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

When Mercury stations retrograde its best to honor the stillness of the quicksilver messenger, bringing focused presence to our day and open receptivity to the multiplicity of night. Being ever watchful as Mercury stations helps direct awareness toward opportunities appearing on the horizon as well as previously unnoticed matters on the edge of disarray that need remediation. Mercury is always powerful when stationing and typically dominates the astrological discourse when it does; however, when Mercury stationed retrograde on July 26 it was overshadowed by Mars  being opposite the Sun at the heart of its retrograde phase, as well as the anticipation of a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius climaxing the next day. Being in the middle of eclipses, with a partial solar eclipse in Leo coming on August 11, we can expect more than the usual amount of change in coming weeks. Mercury twinkling in the cooling of sunset, standing still by zodiacal degree, offers us the gift of potent awareness.

Of course, Mercury shifting retrograde really means that Mercury is passing in between our Earth and its orbit with the Sun. Since Mercury becomes closest to us in orbit when retrograde, the star of Hermes becomes a more dominant force to contend with amongst the daily transits. Though Mercury retrograde has taken on overly negative projections in popular culture that are false exagerrations, it is true that there is a cunning, elusive quality of Mercury that can be difficult for many to negotiate with. The star of Hermes becomes a crafty, artful leader in life when retrograde, with a wily and procreative quality that was deftly teased by Karl Kerenyi in the following passage:

With Hermes as leader in life- so the classical tradition teaches us- the world receives a special nuance, the Hermetic accent as we have become acquainted with it. This Hermetic aspect is thoroughly empirical, and it remains within the realm of a natural experience of the world. The sum total of pathways as Hermes’ playground; the accidental “falling into your lap” as the Hermetic material; its transformation through finding-thieving- the Hermetic event- into a Hermetic work of art, which is also always something of a tricky optical illusion, into wealth, love, poetry, and every sort of evasion from the restrictions and confinement imposed by laws, circumstances, destinies- how could these be mere psychic realities? They are the world and they are one world, namely, that world which Hermes opens to us.

The reality of the Hermes world proves at least the presence of a standpoint from which it is revealed; more than that, it testifies to something active that is not merely revealing itself from that standpoint, but that is ever again suddenly present and drives the world to give concrete expression to the Hermetic works of art and illusion. The source of this experience and configuration of the world … is Hermes himself. It must possess the complete Hermetic breadth, from the phallic to …  the guidance of souls, an activity that stretches even beyond life.

— Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls

Though people often curse blunders, mistakes, and the falling apart of possessions linked in the mind with Mercury retrograde, its worth considering the realm opened by Mercury retrograde is not an anomaly but rather something already there, awaiting activation. Indeed, Mercury stations retrograde at least three times a year for three weeks or so, and so the guidance it offers when retrograde is intrinsic to its nature. It’s what makes Mercury, Mercury.  In fact when retrograde Mercury brings an amplified, penetrating focus to research, inner exploration, and the changing of habitual patterns.

Visually, Mercury transitions from being an Evening Star visible at sunset into an invisible phase in which it descends below the horizon, too close to the Sun to be seen. This oracular disappearance from light is called the heliacal setting of Mercury, and will occur on July 30. From this day until Mercury eventually reemerges again into visibility on August 19 as a Morning Star at dawn, Mercury will be taking on its underworld role as a guide of souls, or psychopomp. Mercury is less the fleet footed, super curious social networker in this phase, becoming more plodding, penetrative, intuitive, and facile with symbolic interpretation of the signs we encounter in life. As Marsilio Ficino wrote in Opera:

Mercury has the power to put souls to sleep or waken them with his staff; that is, in some way or another by putting himself into a certain shape, he can dull or sharpen the mind, or weaken or strengthen it, or upset or calm it.

The tricks of changing mind we can feel while Mercury is retrograde may feel frustrating, but if we can stand back and contemplate the bigger picture we will begin to sense an insight we actually needed to bring into our awareness. Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that Mercury “gives mental formulation to the solar will,” seeking “to impersonalize and provide a conceptual foundation- a raison d’etre – for the often unclear (because emotional) urge the would-be individual experiences to live his or her own life.” With Mercury retrograde in the home of the Sun, during a time in which the Leo Sun will become partially eclipsed (August 11), and Mars retrograde will continue to deeply stir desires, the capacity of Mercury to help us discover a purpose within the tumult will be needed medicine.

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from The Crowning of Nature

Though the world change swiftly / as the forms in clouds, / all perfected things fall back / to age-old ground.

Over what changes and passes, / wider and freer, / your deep song still hovers, / O god with the lyre.

Pain has not been understood, / love has not been learned,  / and what in death removes us

remains undisclosed. / Alone over the land / song hallows and heals.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury retrograde in Leo is the second of three retrograde phases in fire signs we will experience in 2018. Previously we experienced Mercury retrograde in Aries from March 22 through April 15, and later in the year Mercury will station retrograde in Sagittarius on November 16. Within a year of regenerating our relationship with the fire signs (consider what houses the fire signs occupy in your chart and related topics), the retrograde of Mercury in Leo is not only at the dead center of the process, but occurs during the most volatile period in astrology this year.  As a result, Mercury retrograde can facilitate breaking down and releasing whatever aspects of our life need clearing to create more space for new growth to take root. The purgation that can come with this Mercury retrograde is amplified due to it occurring in Leo, the sign of the upcoming eclipse as well as the sign forming a polarity to Aquarius, the sign of the recent Lunar Eclipse and the place Mars is currently retrograde in.

One of the advantages Mercury retrograde periods bring is increased capacity to look at things from a new perspective, helping us gain insight toward old issues and realize what aspects of life need support and attention.  The combined influences of Mars retrograde with eclipses makes it more likely than normal that storylines are changing dramatically, and so the extra stirring provided by Mercury retrograde brings to mind the delight Mercury takes in the twist that moves the plot in a surprising direction and creates needed change. Thomas Moore in his book about the Italian Renaissance astrologer Marsilio Ficino brilliantly summarized Ficino’s perspective toward the protean imagination intermixed by Mercury:

Mercury reveals an inner realm of things without depriving them of their concreteness… The most common mode of interpretation, in some circles the only way, is to dissect and analyze, freezing the components of an insight into brittle pieces which are then easy to manipulate. But the crafty sleight-of-hand of Mercury interprets without killing, transforming our view of one image through another…  Since interpretation consists chiefly in discovering new images among the old, the surprise Mercury brings is a new image or a new idea, a gift from the cunning god who knows how to stir the soul…

In Mercury, words are like crystals whose facets are revealed in their turning, in the various perspectives brought upon them. Whatever keeps our ideas and fantasies turning and shifting, eluding our rational grasp and defying conclusive definition, is Mercurial. When we are the deft, interpretive, eloquent secretaries of our own actions and ideas, then we are Mercury; for then we interpret our own minds.

— Thomas Moore, Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino

With Mercury retrograde in the fixed fire sign of Leo, opposite the sign of Aquarius where Mars is retrograde, we are journeying into the subconscious shadow of however we have been creatively self actualizing. Have we been holding back on going after what we want, or have we been taking on too much? What lies at the heart of our ambition, is it a need for attention or power? Or are we passionately in service to an ideal or message we wish to share with others, without need of extrinsic reward or recognition? What sacrifices on behalf of our ideals and community are we willing to make, and how will this impact our personal relationships? How much attention needs to be directed into our intimate relationships, personal space, and private creativity, rather than expressed through mediums into the collective?

In the end all of the challenges faced during Mercury retrograde in Leo will help us not only refine the vision we have of a healthy and fulfilling life, but begin enacting the modifications needed to rebalance whatever has been imbalanced. Whatever inauthentic patterns we have been engaging in will become obvious, opening the opportunity to separate from what we no longer want to engage, realigning in a direction resonant with our core values.

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Transfiguration of Thoth [Squaring the Circle] by Marlene Seven Bremner (2018)

Into the Heart

Here, among the vanishing, be, in the realm of decline  ⁄  be a ringing glass that shatters even as it rings.  ⁄  Be—and know as well the terms of nonbeing,  ⁄  the infinite ground of your inmost vibration,  ⁄  so that, this once, you may wholly fulfill them.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury will be reborn through its union with the Sun on August 8 at 16º27′ Leo. At this moment of regeneration within Mercury’s synodic cycle, efforts made in contemplation can be rewarded with clarifying insight. Mercury within a degree of the Sun was described by the ancient astrologer Rhetorius the Egyptian as being in the heart of the Sun, and this became known as moment in which Mercury is seated upon the solar throne, strengthened in all things mercurial. Typically we get can get a boost with our Mercury work at this time, or powerful realizations through inner reflection, but overall this is a time to emerge with a purified perspective from all the putrefaction of mind we’ve been experiencing since Mercury stationed retrograde on July 26. This particular inferior conjunction of Mercury is especially powerful and volatile, due to it occurring in between eclipses with Uranus in Taurus stationing retrograde a day before on August 7, and Mercury applying to a square with Jupiter in Scorpio that will perfect a couple days later on August 10.

As Mercury is a mutable planet that takes on the qualities of its aspects in astrology, Mercury near the Sun in Leo likewise takes on the potent heating, drying, clarifying, and inspiring qualities of the Leo Sun. Yet the current Mercury retrograde finds it in the strange climate of eclipses occurring during the Sun’s time in Leo. More significantly, Mercury will unite with the Sun for its fiery rebirth only three days before the Sun is partially eclipsed by the Moon. The shadow that will partially fall across our great solar light is therefore transmitted directly by the quicksilver messenger, just as Mercury is at a “newborn” phase of its cycle more susceptible than normal to other influences.

Marsilio Ficino in Three Books on Life wrote that as the Moon “receives a life-giving power” from the Sun each time it forms a union, “she receives from Mercury in the same place [Mercury is always near the Sun] a force which blends her moistures,” since Mercury has “the virtue of his own transformation into all other planets and by virtue of his many revolutions.” At the time of the inferior conjunction of Mercury, the Moon will be at home in Cancer within the closing, balsamic phase of its synodic cycle.  On August 10/11 the Moon will conjoin Mercury only six hours before the Moon then partially eclipses the Sun on August 11. This brings the regenerated Mercury into deep, stirring contact with whatever hidden material is emerging from the opening and closing of the eclipse gates, including the Total Lunar Eclipse of July 27.

As Mercury moves from 17º Leo where it unites with the Sun back to 12º Leo where it stations direct on August 18, Hermes will be playing its role of alchemical mystic with pleasure, diverting and then refocusing perception on a multiplicity of images and messages to help us sort through the insights revealed by the eclipses. An extra shift coming in the wake of the Leo Eclipse on August 11 will occur when Mars retrograde transitions from Aquarius into Capricorn on August 12. Mars retrograde leaving a whole sign opposition with Mercury retrograde will not make things easy all of a sudden, but it will lower the levels of volatility to a degree. With Mars retrograde in Capricorn while Mercury finishes the final week of its retrograde, we can begin taking action in accordance with whatever insights arose with the rebirth of Mercury.

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El Trovador by Remedios Varo

Mercury Stations Direct

And their feet move  /  Rhythmically, as tender  /  feet of Cretan girls  /  danced once around an  /  altar of love, crushing  /  a circle in the soft  /  smooth flowering grass

— Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard

Mercury stations direct on August 18 or 19, depending upon your time zone, at 11º32′ Leo. Not long after Mercury stations direct, we will also experience the heliacal rising of Mercury on August 19 when it becomes visible again at dawn as a Morning Star. Since ancient times in astrology this has been seen as an oracular moment of Mercury transmitting a message for us to receive. Fittingly for such an ancient spiritual context, Mercury will be stationing direct in Leo closely conjoining the North Node of Neptune.

The planetary nodes of Neptune began shifting back and forth from Cancer (North) and Capricorn (South) into Leo (North) and Aquarius (South) by the 10th century, but by the time of the 1100s they began stabilizing in Leo and Aquarius where they remain today. I was recently watching Joseph Campbell interviewed in The Power of Myth television series, and realized when he waxed poetic about the significance of the shift to the age of the troubadour that he was also speaking about the shift of the North Node of Neptune moving into Leo. Campbell said that the shift that came about in the age of the troubadour was monumental in terms of creating a human ideal for pursuing an authentic life rather than one dictated by the dogmatic authority of church, family, and culture. With the troubadours came the ideal of person to person love that continues into the modern era. Instead of conforming to the dictates of arranged marriage, the sway of the troubadours inspired the ideal of being seized by the soul’s counterpart in a romantic other. People became willing to risk literally burning in the fires of hell, as they were told they would do by authorities, in order to be with their beloved.

With Mercury stationing direct on the North Node of Neptune, the message we receive will involve an essence to embody in our creative actualization. We may feel inspired to sing a new song of heart centered inspiration. We will need to begin finding ways to work with the fecund creative potency emerging from within, integrating it into our identity and relationships. Sweetly, Venus will be at home in Libra and passing through a sextile with Mercury as our valiant messenger finally completes its underworld voyage. Moreover, not only Venus by sextile, but the Moon in Sagittarius by trine will be there to bolster reception of a new creative spirit as Mercury stations direct.

As Mercury resumes forward motion through zodiacal degrees again, Mars will begin stationing direct in Capricorn. Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star on August 26 at 16 degrees of Leo, a point in its synodic cycle that Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha demarcated as an ending to the alchemical retrograde process of Mercury that began on July 11 when Mercury was at maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 17 degrees of Leo. Mars then stations direct two days later on August 28, and as Mars begins to generate some forward momentum, Mercury will leave the “shadow zone” of the degrees it formed its retrograde within on September 2 when it crosses over 24 degrees of Leo.

This means at the end of August we will be wrapping up both the Mercury and Mars retrograde periods, with awareness needed that we will still be dealing with the aftermath of Mars retrograde into October as it makes its way back toward the degree it originally stationed at. When we look back at these months in future years and decades, we are likely to remember it as a time of significant turning. Bear this in mind if things become overheated and rough, for you will have found new strength and realization on the other side of these transits. As a fragment of Sappho, who wrote in the 6th century B.C., still sings:

You may forget but

Let me tell you / that someone in / some future time / will think of us

-Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard

References

Barnard, Mary. (1958). Sappho: A New Translation. U of California Press.

Ficino, Marsilio. (1998). Three Books on Life: A Critical Edition and Translation with Introduction and Notes by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark. Tempe: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies.

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Moore, Thomas. (1990). The Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino. Lindisfarne Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. A Quest Book.

Leo Lunar Eclipse: Scythe of Ceres

Sunflower clock

Sunflower Clock by Athanasius Kircher

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

The Moon will glow in rosy shadow as the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo culminates on January 31.  Eclipses reveal the wonder of our living world through the stunning optics of our Moon not only appearing to be the same size as our Sun, but also mutating in color during the exact alignment.  During a total lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our planet upon the face of the Moon, creating a reddish light as opposed to the total blackness that manifests in a solar eclipse.  Venus joins the Sun in Aquarius as it casts shadows on the Leo Lunar Eclipse, bringing an influence of searching for inner harmony amidst the numerous corresponding changes that will occur in between the lunar eclipse and the Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15.  We all know the Leo stereotype in astrology of the solar hero journeying for personal glory.  Yet the type of heroine illuminated by the Leo Lunar Eclipse willingly descends into shadowy inner depths in order to discover the essential value they may serve the needs of the collective with, helping to heal and strengthen bonds of community.

Lunar eclipses occur when a Full Moon aligns with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, meaning that the polarity of Sun and Moon aligns with the intersection of the orbital arcs of Sun and Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon or serpent consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma, patterns, and attachments whose time has come.  These themes are amplified by the ruler of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, the Aquarius Sun, being conjoined the South Node of the Moon.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is “total” and particularly potent due to it being closely aligned with the lunar nodes, with both the Sun and Moon only three degrees away.  While the influence of the Moon residing in Leo brings an element of creative actualization, the weight of Aquarian leverage on the syzygy necessitates taking into account a wider perspective of humanitarian concerns.  Those who have been alienated or choose to inhabit the fringe will demand attention as our planet’s shadow slips across the face of our Moon.  Creative solutions are needed for the vast array of issues people are struggling with around the world; while those solutions will not be appearing magically in the eclipsed light of the Moon, personal and collective narratives will shift dramatically in its wake and force issues to surface awareness. Within the turning wheel of fortune we can gain clarity for what needs our full attention within intimate circles as well as within broader collective concerns.  The eclipse season we are entering swings toward an emphasis on Aquarius and the South Node, just as the eclipses in 2017 had more emphasis on the North Node side of Leo.

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Ceres by Augustin Pajou (1768-70)

The dwarf planet Ceres is closely conjoined the eclipse, only two minutes away from the eclipsed Leo Moon.  As an archetype, Ceres both produces the resources needed for vitality as well as bears the seeds of renewal. Yet the swing of her scythe that brings the harvest necessitates loss as much as it brings forth gain.  Just as the Leo Moon will be eclipsed by shadow, so was Ceres eclipsed by pain and rage over her own personal tragedy.  In an element of her myth that parallels the story of Isis and Osiris, Ceres was willing to incarnate into human form as part of fully embodying her grief.  Though she needed to take time away from producing growth in the world in order to process and release her trauma, Ceres ultimately mediated a compromise in which she returned to her service of providing fertile abundance for the greater collective.  Ceres reveals the importance of taking time and space away from production in order to grieve, while also illuminating the resolve necessary to return to the world of suffering in order to bolster strength in others.

As Ceres aligns with the Moon on the North Node side of Leo, Venus accompanies the Sun on the other side of the axis in Aquarius.  While Ceres and the Moon are in the Egyptian bounds of Saturn, the Aquarius Sun is in the Egyptian bounds of Venus.  We can find here the message Ceres received in her journey into the mysteries of darkness, that though life and love will return so will death and strife coexist.   The gravitas of Saturn that demands us to mature and be accountable for how we navigate cycles of change is amplified by Saturn in Capricorn ruling the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus in Aquarius.    The influence of Venus in Aquarius upon the lunar eclipse is not about hedonistic desire for everything we find pleasurable, but rather brings a purification to our pursuits of pleasure and what we value.  Saturn in Capricorn hones the raw into the fine-tuned and essential, and so its influence on the Sun and Venus at the eclipse takes us into a process of clarifying the values to prioritize in our choices and discovering who we want to become based more upon internal authenticity rather than external acclaim.

Venus in Aquarius is also in the bounds of Jupiter at the lunar eclipse, while Jupiter in Scorpio is engaged in an impactful relationship with both the Leo Lunar Eclipse on January 31 and the Aquarius Solar Eclipse on February 15.   Moreover, Jupiter is in its own bounds, ruled by Mars in the home and bounds of Jupiter (4º of Sagittarius).  As I’ve previously written, Jupiter in Scorpio facilitates delving deeper into our own subconscious as well as gaining insight into the sea of collective unconscious swirling around us.   Combined with Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.  Yet its challenging square aspect to the eclipses in Leo and Aquarius necessitates courageously facing difficult, disillusioning questions and allowing the answers we discover to help us shed beliefs that have been keeping us contained within illusion rather than being alertly aware in the present moment.

trident with naga

Trident with Naga, Bronze (11th – 12th Century)

Nodes of Neptune

The eclipse falls across the nodes of Neptune, with the Leo Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.  This also means that the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus are also conjoining the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius.  The nodes of Neptune being in Leo and Aquarius is something I have spent time contemplating yet still have difficulty putting into words. Like all archetypes, the best we can do in the end is observe how events and images emerge into form in correspondence. One element I feel involves the archetypal arc of Neptune being related to spirituality as an access point into the interconnected field of our reality, and how this connection with Spirit can both connect us to the needs of living diversity across our world, as well as often necessitates time in exile, as a hermit or recluse in order to connect with divinity from within.  It also makes sense that the North Node of Neptune in Leo goes along with the phenomenon of spiritual glamor, and how there has been many examples of people taking on spiritual guru roles revealed to be narcissistic abusers of power.  Ultimately, it seems the North Node of Neptune in Leo is about centering consciousness in our heart so that we can engage the interconnected field of our reality from a heart-centered place of love and compassion.

For another perspective, the evolutionary astrologer Mark Jones has theorized that the North Node of Neptune in Leo correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  Part of this interpretation relates to the Uranus rulership of Aquarius developed by Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology, wherein Uranus is linked to both traumatic memories from past lives held by the soul, as well as our capacity to liberate ourselves from being incapacitated by them.  Two areas this interpretation could play out are found in art and activism, both art integrating activism and activism incorporating art.  There are powerful aspects found within the Leo Lunar Eclipse to facilitate dynamic creative breakthroughs, and its alignment with the nodes of Neptune brings the potential to release elements of tragedy and trauma fettering within our collective through artistic expression.  There is a lot of innovation within the aspects of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to wield in the process of making the change you wish to see in the world.

 

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Six of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

 

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo eclipses falls in the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   We find here an image of triumphant victory, a strident champion riding a white horse and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  The pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, a complex that deserves attention since the Leo Moon will become engulfed in blood red shadow.

Jupiter rules the second decan of Leo, and so with Jupiter in Scorpio as well as Saturn in Capricorn in the background of the eclipse, its more likely than normal that those who seek glory and fame without inner integrity will fall or be cut down from heights.  Its worth contemplating the question of what does victory truly mean for you, and what degree of external validation is actually needed.  Allow the redness of the Moon to take you within the purity of heart, and let the authentic presence you discover there take the helm of navigating through the sweeping tides of the coming eclipse season.

References

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

 

 

Total Leo Solar Eclipse

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Total Solar Eclipse of 11 August 1999, member 21 of Saros series 145, by Luc Viatour

NOTE: This post has the unique distinction of being co-written in collaboration with astrologer June Rose Trimbach.  We will be co-teaching classes together in the coming season, and as we were already communicating a lot about our shared ideas regarding this Total Solar Eclipse, it seemed like a fitting opportunity to introduce our coming work together.  On October 29 we will be co-teaching a class at the Portland School of Astrology entitled The Daimon: The Guiding Spirit of Astrology.  We are also currently developing a series of introductory astrology webinar classes we will be teaching in the coming months.  There is not yet a planned start date for the webinar series as we are still putting material together, but I will let you know as soon as we have clear dates set up.  Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in learning astrology from us through the webinar medium, and I can answer any questions you may have about them.

Solar Eclipse in Leo

Black as the night from which the light of stars emerge, black as the earth full of death that produces life. Black as the feathers of crows that soar through space, black as the darkness that nurtures recovery. The blackness of a total solar eclipse in which the light of our Sun is blocked takes us into the mysterious void from which all of our known universes are created. In the blackness we may rediscover our own source of primordial creativity from within, as well as realize the illusory nature of a reality we previously believed in.

In the time leading up to this eclipse, the Sun is shining through its home sign of the Lion, the sign of strength of heart and leadership. The light of the Sun brings exposure and purification; the true hearts of humans are exposed. As the Moon moves in front of the Sun, a shadow is cast, and a shadow is revealed. While the shadow of leadership and courage is exposed, it is also a portal for deeper understanding of our own hearts, our own courage to lead and to shine. We learn the deeper motivations for these goals, and the potential wounding therein.

Astrologer Joe Landwehr teaches that in a Solar Eclipse the creative dynamic potential is eclipsed by the emotional needs of the Soul. The needs of the Soul can be largely irrational, in that we can be pulled to act in ways that one wouldn’t always choose.  Joe has taught that the Soul sometimes drags our unwilling selves into tough places, but places that we need to be. These irrational Soul-needs are like a deep well of insight into the meaning of our lives that when we ignore, come back to haunt us. This means that if our Soul is drawn to leadership, acts of courage or greater emanation of the heart, we may have to face these parts of ourselves now.  How can we show up to these potentially hidden parts? The eclipse can reveal these parts, but they may not look rational or even safe: how can we honor the parts of ourselves that have remained in the dark?

ClavisArtis.3headeddragonsun

from the Clavis Artis

An eclipse is also known as a great dragon showing itself, devouring the Sun:  terrible and mystical and wise. This eclipse takes place on the north node or the head of the dragon. This head is desirous, consuming and wishes to devour, but devour what?  There is potential available amid the surrounding astrological transits to cast off old inner restrictions in order to access greater currents of vitality to not only express in the world, but also take the responsibility to manage with greater integrity.  Yet when we speak of stepping into greater empowerment and claiming greater levels of Leonine power, we must also question and reflect upon the shadow cast by ambition.  As the Leo Sun turns black, the disappearance and reappearance of light can be a portal through which we may gain greater awareness for how to live a more empowered life; one that works in collaboration with the power of others, rather than claims power over others.  The lion is strongest when it realizes it is connected to the natural energetic heart of its community, rather than being the heart itself; love is found in the space in between people.

New forms enter our lives during eclipses as old forms exit, and the quality of what comes in and out can feel both exciting and scary.  Though eclipses have a long association in the astrological tradition with difficult, even disastrous events, they have also proven to mark significant thresholds of more fulfilling fortune.  Professor Qiguang Zhao wrote a beautiful book on dragons entitled A Study of Dragons, East and West in which he explored how the dragons of ancient cultures in the East (East Asia) that were more apocalyptic and associated with heaven came to be associated in the West (Middle East and Europe) as a demonic death symbol linked to “the world of nightmare and the scapegoat, of bondage, pain, and confusion” (p. 61).  Zhao shared the following text from Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West that shows the transcendent symbolism of dragons, the creatures most associated with eclipses:

Soaring and transforming,
Encircling clouds and mists,
Like suspending white hooks their claws let fall,
Like bright mirrors the silver scales shine.
Whiskers flap like white silk, each stand’s visible,
Horns rise imposingly, each prong is clear
Those rugged foreheads;
Those bright round eyes.
The Dragons, hidden or seen, can’t be fathomed;
The Dragons, flying or flitting, can’t be described.
If you pray for rain, rain comes instantly;
If you ask for clear sky, you have it at once.
These, only these, are the true dragon forms.
Most dignified and holy,
As a good omen, their aura surrounds the palace profusely.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

In the days leading up to the eclipse, many of us find ourselves consuming images of banners, bravado and martial violence. These are themes that are presented by the third decan of Leo where the eclipse takes place, a decan associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image of the third decan is seen by Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces as an image of “The Banner.” It is ruled by Mars, the planet of courage, heroic acts and martial combat. These are clues to what the dragon head of the eclipse might be seeking: glory, a cause to fight for. This is perhaps what we are all seeking right now. And now is a time to get in touch with our personal banners. What do we stand for and why?

Mars not only rules the third face of Leo where the eclipse occurs, Mars is also present within the third decan of Leo giving it amplified power.  In addition, the eclipse occurs within the Egyptian bounds of Mars, and Mars is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the head of the dragon.  Mars is on the threshold of leaving combustion with the Sun at the time of the eclipse, but is still invisible under the beams of the Sun emerging from its long journey through the underworld (though perhaps the total darkness of the eclipse may allow for Mars to become temporarily visible).  Although we have a Mars recently reborn from its union with the Sun, it still carries within it the impact of past wounds from previous cycles.  We can feel the determination of Mars in the image of the Seven of Wands card, in which a warrior is fighting against an onslaught from an angry mob.  Mars asks us what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

The Total Leo Solar Eclipse has been named “The Great American Eclipse” as the path of the dragon enters the continental United States in Oregon and exits in South Carolina.  In the time leading up to the eclipse, heated conflict has erupted in the United States over the banner fought under by the Confederate army in the Civil War.  Notably Charleston, South Carolina is on the path of the eclipse dragon as it exits the continent, as Charleston is the location of the first shots fired in the Civil War as well as the location of the horrific murder of African American church goers in June 2015 by white supremacist Dylan Rooff, a tragedy that reignited debate over the presence of Confederate flags and monuments across the United States.

Even as we see images of the shadow of the banner, the question we may ask is if we can devour the banner itself. Can we devour the face of evil so that it is banned from the earth, or will that only perpetuate more violence? The head of a dragon in a realm of such proud martial power is also evocative as the ultimate protector, the courageous warrior willing to give their own life in order to protect life.  Martial strength may be utilized to resist forces of hate and as stated in the Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arriens, “by staying in our power, by showing up and choosing to be present, by extending honor and respect, and by being responsible and accountable.”

To know the absolute is to be tolerant.
What is tolerant becomes impartial;
What is impartial becomes powerful;
What is powerful becomes natural;
What is natural becomes Tao.

— Lao Tzu, quoted from R.L. Wing’s translation, The Tao of Power

total solar eclipse astronomy

by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1882)

As the path of the Total Solar Eclipses travels from coast to coast across the United States, its relevant to delve deeper into the country’s astrological context.  The astrology chart most often used by astrologers relates to the date of the Declaration of Independence, and though different versions exist they all involve the Moon in Aquarius, the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  Thus the United States is experiencing the karma of a nodal return and eclipses in the same signs as occurred during the time of its Declaration of Independence.  Part of the country’s karma involves the fact the same people who crafted its language of liberation also owned slaves, and the development of its culture coincided with attempts to forcibly remove the culture of the land’s indigenous population.

The shadow of hatred and fear showed itself in Charlottesville, Virginia on a weekend in between two eclipses under a fiery celestial triangle. It was met with courage. There is an opportunity now to join this fight that was started as far back as our mind will take us. This fight has had many iterations throughout time, while simultaneously it is a fight felt deeply and personally all around our planet. But to join it lightly without knowledge of the shadowy realm this fight takes place in, would be unwise.  The opening of a true heart of courage is possible here, a courage based on love and camaraderie. Is it possible even in evil actions, this is what is sought? The ghosts of the past are imminent in the story of America and its present begs for action and healing.

The shadows of Leo and Mars have been problematic in these wounds; the elite white class wrote the constitution for themselves and pitted the poor whites and slaves against each other; a reality we are still seeing. The infrastructure and laws of our country (Saturn) have kept people in chains through Jim Crow laws, the prison industrial complex, and other forms of institutional oppression. Curses economic, societal and emotional hold us back from sharing love with each other, yet we find anecdotes of that very love being shared liberally. The story of fear is not the only story, and we must connect with each other in good ways to get through this. How have the structures of the past and present limited your expression of love, and is there an opportunity of liberation now?

The eclipse activates a grand fire trine with Saturn and Uranus. The disruption of past structures and creative ways of making new ones are prominent themes right now. Uranus is in an exact trine with the Solar Eclipse, making creativity and the unleashing of potential a huge catalyst for change. Uranus is also the story of Prometheus, the one who stole the Fire of the Gods and gave it to humanity.  Western astrologers tend to glorify the myth of Prometheus, yet other interpretations reveal it to be a cautionary tale of hubris and desire to wield the power of gods.  Fascinatingly, the current transit of Uranus in Aries forms a square to the natal placement of Pluto in Capricorn in the chart of the Declaration of Independence. The Pluto of the U.S. is a storehouse of subterranean power and wealth, ruled by Saturn who now finds itself in Pluto’s twelfth house of secrets and hidden potential. The light and shadow of this eclipse is revealing deep secrets, yet there is an even deeper sense of upheaval. In the next five years the U.S. will have its first Pluto return, a transit that can transform, empower or dismantle altogether.

Ouroboros-300x300

Ouroborus by Liv Rainey-Smith

Love is also a force of light and nurture that liberates you to inhabit to the full your own difference.  There should be no imitation of each other.  No need to be defensive or protective in each other’s presence.  Love should encourage and free you fully into your full potential.

— John O’Donahue from Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom

So what is there to do in this time of upheaval? Make a choice to know the shadows of your own heart; true courage comes from love. The shadows of the past are cropping up, in our nations, in ourselves. One power of Leo is to lead by example; to bring an open heart to everything you do. Remain open to changing the structure of your life based on the needs of the Soul. Consider your personal banner: what would you be sure enough to proclaim to the world upon an inspection of the shadow and a heart centered reflection?

What will burn in the light of day as it is revealed, what will take form in our world and what will leave? The shadow is only something to be feared when it is not addressed. We can learn and heal from the scared parts of ourselves, and generally this is what eclipses are about. There is also a question of how we can move in the world. Can we put something into the world that is authentic? Can our radiant heart find liberation and the structure to express itself more truly and freely? Even as actions from wounding inflict more wounding during this eclipse period, can we stand from a place of empowerment and love for the world?

Written by Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach

References

Arriens, Angeles. (1993). The Four-Fold Way:  Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary. Harper Collins.

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

O’Donahue, John. (1997). Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom.  Harper Perennial.

Zhao, Qiguang. (1992). A Study of Dragons, East and West.  Peter Lang Publishing.

 

 

Leo New Moon & Mars

Paul Klee Pride of Lions

Paul Klee (1924) A Pride of Lions (Take Note!)

New Moon in Leo

The Leo New Moon on July 23 is united with Mars, bringing primal intensity and vigor to the lunation.  New Moons are a time to set intentions, yet the symbolism of the Moon being invisible correlates with the necessity of embracing the unknown for no matter how much passion we invest into our intentions, we must ultimately surrender when forces out of our control emerge to contend with.  This is especially important to keep in mind at this martial New Moon in Leo, for the coming astrology suggests that unexpected elements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.  The influence of Mars on the New Moon points to the vital importance of standing up for yourself and reasserting your energy toward the role you wish to play within our global collective.  There will be challenges to face in the lunar cycle ahead that are capable of reshaping the course your life trajectory is taking, and so it will be imperative to boldly flow with the changes with courage and a presence ready to respond responsibly in accordance with the vision you wish to manifest.

The Leo New Moon escorts us into the most impactful period of astrological aspects in 2017.  The darkness of the New Moon will ripen into a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, to be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  The Leo Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Pisces Full Moon united with Neptune, and in between the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Full Moon we will experience Mercury moving retrograde from Virgo back into the same area of Leo as the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. Interestingly, Mercury is in Leo at the time of the Leo New Moon very close to the same degree it will later station direct on September 5.   Mercury is furthermore separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon while forming a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result the Leo New Moon is opportune for going over the plans you wish to initiate in the coming months and strengthening their structural foundations.

ClavisArtis.Lion

from the Clavis Artis

Rebirth of Mars in Leo

The New Moon in Leo arrives at the very, very end of the synodic cycle of Mars that goes back two years.  The last time that Mars was regenerated in the heart of the Sun was on  14 June 2015 at 23º15′ of Gemini, and so it will be fruitful to reflect upon this two year period and the desires that you manifested as well as those that remained dormant.   Since we have been at the close of the Mars and Sun cycle in the past weeks, its important to realize that if you have felt a lack of energy or a need to rest as part of a feeling of something being reborn, that you have likely been tapped into the current Mars cycle.  Mars will unite with our Sun on July 26 at 4º12′ of Leo, and so this is a beautiful time period to ritualize a rebirth of Mars in your life and reinvest your passions toward whatever you most desire to create or whoever you want to be in our world.  Since the Sun will be receiving Mars in its home, there is enormous creative potency available in their union.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the god Hephaistos to the first face of Leo where Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun.  Hephaistos is another aspect of Mars associated with smiths and artists who at heart is an embodiment of the primal potency of fire.  The Orphic hymn to Hephaistos calls the fiery artist to “suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”  Hephaistos carried wounds of abandonment and rejection he transmuted into a creative process of fire that burned up the old to manifest his new inventions.  Similarly, as we have been facing old wounds and emotional issues through the course of Mars closing its past cycle with the Sun in Cancer, we are now given the opportunity to transmute the pain of the past into beautiful works of artistry and tools we can wield in the journey ahead.

Hephaistos created both the chariot of Helios as well as the winged sandals and helmet of Hermes.  What heroic role do you wish to play in the forthcoming two year cycle of Mars, and what symbolic or literal tool can you now forge in the solar fires to support the talents and skills you wish to share?  How do you want to direct the ambition, aggression, and courage of Mars being consumed and reborn in the Sun?  The mythic figure of Hephaistos is also fitting for the fiery triangle being formed by Mercury and the North Node in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Hephaistos can forge and create whatever image we desire, yet to succeed in our endeavors we will also need a level of courage that knows when it is necessary to fight as well as let go.  The Leo New Moon is perfect for discerning the inner principles that align with our authenticity and whatever we wish to creatively actualize, and then assertively pushing forward with our work in accordance.

pamela colman smith scythe woman

by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus opposing Saturn

The other major aspect of the Leo New Moon finds Venus in Gemini applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This takes us back to the Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in which Venus stationed direct in Pisces in a square with Saturn.  Now Venus has moved forward into her first opposition with Saturn since their long engagement during her retrograde cycle.  Whatever shifting began happening in our life during February, March, April, and May as we entered and left the Venus retrograde period has now in hindsight become clear, and we can now witness and evaluate how the elements of our life have been rearranged.  Similar to the fiery triangle of Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn, the opposition between Venus and Saturn is also opportune for strengthening the foundations of the plans we wish to enact as we enter into eclipse season.   In fact, Venus is strongly activating the aforementioned fiery triangle, as she is in sextile to both Mercury and Uranus at the same time she is in opposition to Saturn.  The opposition between Venus and Saturn can not only help us figure out what aspects of our life and relationships need to be modified, but how exactly they need to be altered.

During the waxing lunar cycle Venus will move from her opposition with Saturn toward a trine with Neptune in Pisces following her ingress into Cancer.  At the same time Mercury will leave the creative fires of Leo for its home and exaltation of Virgo during the waxing of the Moon, toward an opposition with Neptune that does not perfect due to Mercury stationing retrograde.  Neptune in Pisces is veiled in the background of the Leo New Moon but does form the shadowy aspect of antiscia with Jupiter in Libra for the remainder of July.  The more we can effectively work with Neptune in Pisces at this time, such as shedding the illusions of the past and opening our imaginations in our creative process, the better we will be able to enter the flow of the coming eclipse season.  It will be helpful in working with Neptune to create some sort of daily spiritual practice for yourself, however you connect with Spirit.

wands05

5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Five of Wands is associated with conflict and competition, and though its meaning could be linked to an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control, oftentimes the strife among competing external interests is literal.  In one way or another it suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired, prominent position.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the Five of Wands through the five youth battling for the attention of the starring role of the spotlight.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.

Importantly, Coppock also noted that Saturn’s influence can be found in that the performer can become bound to their public image to such an extent that it can drain their energy and betray their inner authenticity.  Keeping all this in mind, remember at the Leo New Moon to make sure that the image you desire to project into our world aligns strongly with your essential authenticity.  Saturn in Sagittarius in trine with Mercury, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon is available to assist with the discipline and integrity necessary to separate and sever whatever does not align with our inner values, and bind oneself with commitment to whatever does align.  Within the catalytic atmosphere of the coming eclipse season, there  will be found a fertile matrix through which to embark in creative directions attuned to the passions arising from within.

References

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

 

New Moon in Leo

New Moon in Leo

by Arrington de Dionyso (original painting for sale at http://www.arringtondedionyso.bigcartel.com)

New Moon in Leo

The New Moon in Leo on August 14, 2015 heralds a shift that wakes us up in our bones like the sound of a lion’s roar as dawn approaches.  The past two weeks of the waning Moon cycle has brought about pivotal change associated with Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury all initiating last quarter squares with Saturn and sparking thoughts of future-oriented vision.  In the Dark Moon shedding leading up to this New Moon, the transit of Venus retrograde will take us into an Underworld of fiery flames that can burn off a previous pattern of limitation.  We will be in a Venusian purification process that may feel disorienting in the sensation of new passions stirring from within our unconscious.  There is astrological reasoning behind these feelings, however, as this New Moon ushers in a visceral rebirth of Venus in our life.

This week’s New Moon in Leo happens a day before the inferior conjunction of Venus retrograde with the Sun, and so Venus retrograde is conjunct this New Moon.   Venus this close to embracing the Sun in the Sun’s domicile of Leo makes this an even stronger solar rebirth for Venus than normal, as the Sun is receiving Venus and engulfing her with enlivening rays of sunlight that cast her golden shadow over everything.  As Venus steps through the flames of the Sun on August 15, the next aspect on her horizon will be a trine to Uranus in Aries that her coppery essence can conduct to create an electrical vibration of liberation, further amplifying Venusian passions.  Stepping into greater emancipation can be challenging, however, when we begin to sense so strongly the repressive forces at work in our surrounding relationships and realize the necessity of altering the dynamic so we can more freely express ourselves.  This New Moon is therefore a powerful moment to set intentions for how to effectively change the way we interact in our relationships so that we can embrace our genuine nature and release attachment to a persona we were embodying in order to accommodate previous relationship dynamics.

Jupiter in Virgo

from the Aurora Consurgens (15th Century)

Jupiter in Virgo

Jupiter’s ingress into Virgo with Mercury also in it’s home sign of Virgo means that the sign of the Winged Maiden is accentuated at this New Moon.  In many ways, this New Moon is the dawn of a time period in which Virgo will be one of the most significant signs, as Jupiter will remain in Virgo for the next year and in the months ahead the North Node of the Moon will shift into Virgo, leading us to experience Virgo eclipses as well.  No doubt you have heard that Jupiter is in its detriment in the sign of Virgo, since Virgo’s opposite sign Pisces is one of Jupiter’s domiciles.  This does not mean that Jupiter is weak in Virgo, only that according to our astrological foundation Virgo’s focus on details is at odds with the grandiose essential nature of Jupiter that favors expansive vision and an all-encompassing perspective over analysis of details.  In contrast to Jupiter’s time in Leo in which the atmosphere promoted creative actualization and boldly pursuing our passions without restraint, Jupiter’s time in Virgo emphasizes a detailed focus on producing quality work that serves a purpose for others.  In line with the theory of essential dignities at the heart of traditional astrology, Jupiter being in detriment in Virgo also means that Jupiter will be less predictable and more open to change and fluctuation.

Classical astrology places the two Mercury domiciles of Gemini and Virgo in polarity to the two Jupiter domiciles of Sagittarius and Pisces.  In Virgo we experience the expansion of Jupiter through Mercurial discernment of how to efficiently organize elements of our life so we can more optimally act in connection with the ever evolving moment.  Jupiter in Virgo will take us through an alchemical process led by the changing speeds of Mercury into how to effectively work with the spirit embedded in the surrounding material world in order to create a healing context for ourselves and others.  Jupiter in Virgo is not about attracting accolades and praise from others, but rather focuses on humbly using our visionary nature to serve the highest good of others in our community.  However, since Virgo is the ultimate sign of analysis, we need to keep in mind how Mercurial labeling and categorization inherently can lead us to set limits and conditions on the vision and sense of meaning we are deriving through our Jupiter functions.

Jupiter in Virgo as a result means we need to pay closer attention to the transit of Mercury in connection with our evolving sense of Jupiterian vision.  At this time of the New Moon, Mercury is also in Virgo which in classical astrology is considered both the domicile and exaltation of Mercury, meaning that the sign of Virgo is aligned harmoniously with the essential nature of Mercury.  This means that while both Jupiter and Mercury are in Virgo, it is an excellent time to diligently research and study subjects aligned with your life purpose.  At this New Moon, the sage Mercury in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune, applying to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and applying to a square with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Juno in Virgo.  This is a loaded Mercury that as an Evening Star can take on a role of guiding us into the deep rooted soul experience of the current Venus retrograde phase.

At the time of this New Moon aligned with the inferior conjunction of Venus, Jupiter brings its visionary nature into conjunction with the fixed star Regulus and the degree of the zodiac at which Venus previously stationed retrograde less than a month ago.  In the ancient light of Regulus we find stored ageless stories of nobility and leadership, the rise to power and the fall from power.  The connection of Regulus with a fall from power could connect to the shadow side of Virgo that can become overly critical out of desires for perfection.  If we are not currently where we want to be and doing what we want to do with our life, we need to be careful not to project our own self-criticism into the relationships surrounding us.  The Virgo remedy to this ill is complete acceptance in the moment of where you are in life, and acknowledgment that when we fully enter the presence of the moment we allow ourselves to feel our idealized sense of perfection.  Instead of taking out our frustration on others, we can instead utilize the potent mental attributes of Virgo to creatively problem-solve our current dilemmas.

Venus in Leo

Three Tahitians by Paul Gauguin

Venus Inferior Conjunction

It is stellar synchronicity that this Venus cycle’s Inferior Conjunction commences a day after a New Moon, creating fertile ground to plant the seed of a new Venus cycle.  Whether you are experiencing the rapture of a new romance, the deepening of an existing relationship, the release of a previously wounding partnership, or feeling a burgeoning inner blossoming of new purpose in life, one way or another your relationship with Venus is transforming on a core level at the time of this Leo New Moon.  Yet this new sense of Venus is in a budding phase that will not be realized in full bloom until a later time, and so there will also be a vulnerable and sensitive quality to our reorientation in need of nurturing and support.  Whether events are incredibly dramatic or surprisingly quiet for you now, in one way or another Venus is altering the trajectory of your life into a completely new direction.  Take time in the dark of this New Moon and in the birthing of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun on August 15 to ritualize and meditatively reflect upon how your relationship with Venus is changing and where she is leading you.

There is also another retrograde goddess worthwhile to pay attention to:  Ceres, celestial Queen of the asteroid belt, who is retrograde in Capricorn and in trine to Black Moon Lilith in Virgo at the time of the New Moon.  Furthermore, both Ceres retrograde and Black Moon Lilith are in sextile to Saturn in Scorpio.  These aspects are strong support to utilize the Venus retrograde to claim full responsibility for our responses to life, including being accountable for taking steps to express our authenticity into the world around us without fear of shame or being cast off in exile for speaking our mind.  In addition, in the next couple weeks of the waxing Moon cycle, Mars in Leo will be getting closer and closer to becoming conjunct with Venus retrograde each day, ultimately becoming exactly conjunct a couple of days after the upcoming Pisces Full Moon.  This adds even more fiery assertion into our new sense of Venus we will begin to feel more strongly around August 19 when she arises from the underworld, heralding dawn as a Morning Star.  As a result in the week following this New Moon we will be called to begin asserting our reborn embodiment of Venus, and we will want to likewise be aware of the conflict this new expression from us could provoke in those wanting us to remain in our old presence.

Leo III Decan

7 of Wands illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

This New Moon falls in the third decan of Leo, associated with the 7 of Wands card in which a man is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands.  He is standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet his stance and face suggests someone putting his whole being into his struggle with extraordinary determination.  One of my favorite writers on the tarot, Kelsey Lynore, through her interpretation of this card in the Dali deck linked it’s meaning to issues around “the cause of the one” versus “the cause of the many,” and since the “presumed opinion of the masses . . . is probably wrong” the querent is encouraged to “not relent and do not back down,” and to “stand your ground courageously, no matter the apparent odds.”  This link between the struggle for life shown in the image of the 7 of Wands to a struggle against asserting one’s personal truth in the face of consensus opinion and judgement is strongly resonant for the timing of this New Moon at the heart of the Venus retrograde and in the aftermath of the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter.

Fittingly Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, and since transiting Mars is also in the sign of Leo it appears this time will call for boldness on behalf of whatever you hold most dear.  Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces wrote that the third face of Leo 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” (p. 133).  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the Leo III decan’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit:

Yet this divine fire does not issue forth to defend the personal and the petty. Its nature transcends the confines of the identity, and to be roused, something bigger than the ego must be invoked.  A principle must be raised a loft, a banner bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty. The power which winds through this last face of Leo demands a spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign, for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes  (p. 134).

Venus retrograde will be in the underworld, invisible and combust the brilliant Leo Sun at the time of this New Moon in the third face of Leo.  What we hold with love in our heart, the vision of our beloved that can enflame even the bleakest environments with the full force of life and meaning, is what we must now support and remember will be reborn in the full light of sunrise for us to embrace.  If circumstances require you to have to persevere in some way to protect your Venusian values and desire, allow the passion of your heart to direct your speech and action to victory.

New Moon in Leo

References

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

Full Moon in Aquarius

Dream by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich 2001

Dream (2001) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Aquarius Full Moon

The Full Moon in Aquarius on July 31, 2015 triggers an intensification of mental activity and questioning of thought patterns conditioned by consensus culture, as Venus is retrograde and in its final hours in the sign of Virgo.  Venus retrograde can pulls us inward to experience a reorientation of values and generation of new visions, while simultaneously creating discord in our relationships when our inner realm of feelings suddenly flows unrestrained through our communication with startling bluntness.  During Venus retrograde we experience greater impetus to expand our vision for what is possible beyond previous conditioned limitations, and we also feel intrinsically motivated to act with rebellion from a place that throws off the binding of cultural expectations.  While the transit of Venus retrograde is stirring things up dramatically, this week’s Full Moon shines light on new angles of perception and insight into our recent experiences from a more detached, Aquarian objectification that contrasts sharply with the more subjective, passionate qualities of Leo and Scorpio that have been so strongly highlighted recently.

The Aquarius Full Moon is ruled by Saturn traditionally, and Saturn is further dominating this Full Moon as it is stationing direct in Scorpio on August 1 or August 2, depending upon your time zone.  Furthermore, Saturn is stationing direct as Jupiter in Leo creates a last quarter square with it on August 3, Venus combines with Jupiter in a square on August 4, and then Mercury also combines with Jupiter in a square to Saturn on August 6.   This means that the illumination we receive with this Full Moon at the end of July will face a stern test the following week as the Moon wanes toward a last quarter square of it’s own with the Sun on August 6.  While it is always important to listen to those around you in relationship, there is a strong sense that this Full Moon is more about realizing your own unique sense of your Self outside of the influences and opinions of those around you.  Augmenting the capacity to sense this Self-awareness in the emotional body is a grand water trine formed by Saturn in Scoprio, Mars in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces at the time of the Full Moon.

Astrologer Robert Hand has taught that a “high Saturn,” meaning a Saturn that is aligned with one’s soul and spiritual path, helps one become who one is meant to become through Self-acceptance of being set apart and different from consensus, status quo culture.  Saturn was seen by the ancients as having it’s joy in the 12th House because Saturn can embrace alienation and lead one like a hermit to see things completely differently than the dominant culture attempting to shape public opinion to match it’s own.  We can receive insight at this Full Moon of what past thought patterns we need to now release in order to help us foster our developing new vision for our future.  We will then need to hold fast to our sense of Self-realization, as we will likely be confronted with tests and challenges that will require us to solidly embody our new perspective instead of repressing it due to a need to fit in and find agreement with others.  It is important to feel Self-acceptance at this time that it is perfectly fine that you may appear “weird” or “different” from others, like an alien from another planetary system.

Ganymede: Aquarius and Leo

Ganymede (1874) by Gabriel Ferrier

Myth of Ganymede

Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own.  In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens.  Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius.  Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body.  In modern times, we can further link this meaning into feelings of disassociation that Aquarius can struggle with and which could also come for us at the time of this Full Moon.

Jason Holley is a good friend of mine and brilliant astrologer who presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), integrating the modern rulership of Aquarius by Uranus used in systems such as evolutionary astrology.  His talk was entitled “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness,” and in it he explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result.  Relevant to this Full Moon in Aquarius with the Sun in Leo, Jason described the sign of the Lion in association with concepts such as heart, magnetism, coherence, center, creation, appearance, unity, and now;  in contrast, he described the sign of the Water Bearer in association with concepts such as brain, electricity, interruption, decentering, deconstruction, disappearance, multiplicity, and the past and future.  He then showed how a growth cycle of rupture and repair can come out of the meaning of the polarity between Aquarius and Leo.

To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Uranus that activates the more nonlinear, invisible field of multiplicity and leads to two potential paths:  (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into Self, expanding our Self-concept while we continue to embody our Self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our Self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our Self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience disembodiment, disassociation, depersonalization, abstraction, over intellectualization, and difficulty experiencing full connection with others.  Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance, regression, and escape.  However, if we are instead able to repair this rupture, Holley explained that we are able to achieve an experience of greater wholeness, an activation of transcendent functions, and an eagerness to re-enter into the world around us with an openness to possibilities that leads us to have new experiences.

In connection with these ideas, it is further important to realize the significance of Uranus in Aries recently stationing retrograde at the same time that Venus stationed retrograde, and that Uranus is in range of a conjunction with Eris in Aries, a trine with Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and a squares with Mars in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn.  Jason Holley further explained in his talk that being consumed by Ganymedes, not unlike the concept of the puer aeturnus, can lead one to prefer idealized worlds in favor of the actual world one is inhabiting, becoming lost in endless potentials and rejecting anything that takes form, also only sustaining contact with others dependent upon them having the same shared reality system.  The current transit of Venus retrograde can hopefully be seized to help with integration if we notice we are becoming too split off from reality like Ganymedes.  Instead of splitting off fragmented parts of yourself from the world around you, you can use the transformational energy of the Venus retrograde to work on integrating and embodying the parts of you that seem vastly different from the consensus around you, with full Self-acceptance of parts of your consciousness that seem to be expanding beyond the norms of the consensus.  The Venus retrograde transit can then become an appropriate healing space to work on re-entering society and the world with your full Self in order have new experiences of greater wholeness.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius I Decan

The Aquarius I decan holding this week’s Full Moon is ruled by Venus, further linking it strongly into the Venus retrograde transit and the corresponding shifting of tastes and values on individual and collective levels away from previous societal norms.  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).  In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.  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 destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self.  Coppock concluded:

In this face we gather what we can from outside the norm. The frontier of any reality system is hard- there is a reason it extends no further.  Though exile from the core always comes with hardship, there are material, intellectual and spiritual riches on the frontier, but to seek them requires a break with the known. As a spiritual tool, this decan points towards what one gains from stepping outside of the self. Herein is the sweetness and peace which exists above the muddy tumult of life- the satellite’s view of the world is always beautiful, no matter how hellish the situation below. (p.228)

As we take in the insights we receive from this Aquarius Full Moon into a tumultuous week ahead that features Saturn stationing direct in Scorpio and then being in a last quarter square to Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury in Leo, keep in mind that the Venus retrograde transit holds the potential to take you into a space of greater authenticity that is more in tune with your inner truth than the version of truth propagated in surrounding culture.  Saturn stationed direct in a last quarter square with Jupiter, Venus retrograde, and Mercury is going to facilitate a process of clearing out all of the old thought forms that are no longer serving you with great finality through the swing of Saturn’s scythe.

Aquarius Full Moon

References

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