New Moon in Pisces
The New Moon in Pisces on February 23 arrives not only during a change in season but also demarcates a threshold to cross into an intensification of the catalytic astrology of 2020. In the northern hemisphere, the days are growing longer as green shoots emerge from frozen ground; in the southern hemisphere, the peak glare of fiery Summer has passed as the encroaching darkness of Fall begins to increase. The year began with a potent seeding of vision in Capricorn involving Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter, Ceres, and Mercury that has required incubation and gestation to become more clear about its longterm ramifications. With the entrance of Mars into Capricorn, the Sea Goat stellium has become ignited just as the Pisces New Moon forms a collaborative and harmonizing sextile aspect with all of it.
The New Moon in Pisces is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurusand applying toward a sextile with Mars in Capricorn. The New Moon is also waxing toward a sextile with its South Node in Capricorn and a flowing trine with its North Node in Cancer. Thus the Pisces New Moon opens the long range view of a falcon encircling the sea from above, with potential for rapid acceleration of vision sourced from inspiration. Yet as a larger picture of what can take form this year coalesces, so will a stronger sense of all of the necessary work that will be required to bring it fully into being. Mercury retrograde in Pisces mutually applying to a conjunction with the New Moon can be helpful in surveying resources and goals to determine where adjustment or additional support is needed. Some aspects of current plans may need to be shed, while the unorthodox motion of Mercury may also retrieve old ideas or capture unexpected thoughts to integrate into developing projects.
The applying sextile between the Pisces New Moon with Mars in Capricorn is particularly invigorating due to Mars being co-present with the trio of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn. Before Mars fully activates the Sea Goat trio, however, it must first cross the initiatory threshold of passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. One one hand, the union of Mars with the South Node also means that it is triggering the eclipse degree of the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 26, 2019 and therefore enflaming collective events that have been simmering and ready to erupt. On the other hand, the conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon will also draw attention toward the deeper motivations underlying our striving. Rather than insisting on continual expansion and progress, take the time to reflect upon the nature of your aspirations with willingness to lay some desires to rest while committing a deeper investment to what emerges as your most essential desire.
The potency of the collaborative sextile between the Pisces New Moon and Mars exalted in Capricorn demands movement, whether toward external goals or toward inner insight. Some additional symbolism describing the richness of the New Moon’s dark soil comes from its conjunction by zodiacal degree with two significant fixed stars: (1) Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish swimming beneath the Water Bearer of Aquarius, as well as (2) Deneb Adige, the brilliant white alpha star in the tail of Cygnus the Swan.
Fomalhaut is the mouth of the Southern Fish that Bernadette Brady has linked with the mystical salmon invested with wisdom in Celtic mythology, a point of intake for magically making change through relationship with Nature rather than through control or domination over Nature. Similar to how Ptolemy connected Fomalhaut with Venus and Mercury, Fomalhaut has been described as a poetic, visionary, and mystical star associated with the kind of magical charisma that can seductively influence the course of events. Bernadette Brady further associated Fomalhaut with idealistic visions that necessitate conflict with the dominant culture in order to bring about manifestation. Fomalhaut’s presence near the zodiacal degree of the Pisces New Moon is a warning to be careful for what you wish for, utilizing the purging nature of Mercury retrograde in Pisces to come into deeper relationship with what you truly wish to create with your life.
Deneb Adige is the starry white tail of the Swan gliding gracefully across the great watery section of the heavens, the alpha star of Cygnus that Ptolemy also connected with Venus and Mercury, just like Fomalhaut. Water birds are sacred in Celtic traditions due to integrating the elements of earth, air, and water, and Bernadette Brady further connected Deneb Algede with not only the deep spirituality of the Swan but also the aggression and combativeness of swans when defending their territory. There is common ground with Fomalhaut here, in that Brady also connected Deneb Adige with the “journey of actively seeking spiritual awareness” that demands “a deeper step, to feel that one has to walk the less trodden tail.” Indeed, Brady declared Deneb Adige to be the “shaman’s star,” viewed by the ancient Egyptians as “the exit of the birth canal of Nut,” the starry goddess who continually gives birth, rebirth, to the Sun and its illuminating light. Deneb Adige brings the steely inner strength to the lunation also found by the New Moon forming a sextile with Mars in its exaltation of Capricorn.
Jupiter in Capricorn is the domicile rule of the Pisces New Moon, while the New Moon is also occurring in the exaltation, bounds, and triplicity of Venus in Aries. Venus and Jupiter ruling the New Moon is notable due to the fact that Venus in Aries is applying toward an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn as Luna and Sol unite in Pisces. This brings a wave of extreme desires to reach a peak, requiring a measure of tempering to avoid the type of overinflation that can bring about a painful fall. While you may feel the stirring of large appetites it must necessarily be set against the constraint and contraction of circumstances signified by Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto being hosted by Saturn in the Capricorn terrain being catalyzed by Venus in the fiery sign of Mars.
Adding immense depth to these aspects, Jupiter also formed an exact sextile with Neptune in Pisces a few days before the lunation on February 20, and is now slowly applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will be building throughout the next month. Simultaneously, Venus in Aries will also be applying toward a cathartic square aspect with Pluto as the Moon begins to wax in light, forming an exact square with Pluto on February 28. With Venus engaging in a sequence of square aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, the realm of relationship will be a source of change where we may receive intimations of new possibilities and potential while also contending with whatever present Saturnine tests we are facing. Any disillusionment felt can be utilized in reconsidering the inner values you feel are truly worthwhile to embody and center choices around. With Mars in Capricorn ruling Venus, we must enter the fray rather than hold back from fear, being willing to shake things up rather than remaining stagnant.
It’s further significant that both benefics, Venus and Jupiter, are occupying challenging signs since Venus is in the sign opposite its home of Libra and Jupiter is in its fall in Capricorn. In contrast, both malefics, Saturn and Mars, are in places of great strength since Saturn is in its nocturnal, earthy home of Capricorn and Mars is in its exaltation of Capricorn. In part this signifies the lunar month ahead is not a time for lazily luxuriating in pleasure but rather gathering strength and resources to strike out resiliently with hard work and effort. While it may be necessary to experience change within relational dynamics and desires, any experiences of separation we must endure can facilitate penetrating more deeply into reconsidering inner ideals, value, and meaning. Even taking small steps in making space for contemplation free from the usual distractions and responsibilities of daily life will help in gaining clarity for where to let go versus where to focus for an influx of growth opportunities.
Crucially, the New Moon in Pisces is mutually applying toward a conjunction with Mercury retrograde and combust under the beams of the Pisces Sun. While the New Moon in Pisces occurs during the most intense phase of purging and putrefaction within Mercury’s retrograde movement in Pisces, two days after the lunation on February 25 Mercury will experience the purification and rebirth of its inferior conjunction with the Sun. Mercury being in the heart of the Sun will be most intense when Mercury is within sixteen arc minutes from the Sun, from roughly 2:30 pm PST until 8:45 pm PST, with the exact solar union occurring around 5:41 pm PST on February 25. This is an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration, as Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.
During the same time that Mercury retrograde is conjoining the Sun, Mars in Capricorn will also be passing through a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Furthermore, this will all occur just as the waxing crescent light of the Moon forms a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and a square aspect with Mars in Capricorn. There is deep potency here for descent into inner realms of shadow and exploring our relationship with the ideals we use to generate our force of will in the external world. It’s an opportune time to contemplate our relationship with having agency in our life. The etymology of agency involves effectiveness, power, performing, setting things in motion, and driving things forward. We can also become agents of larger forces and institutions as part of going after what we want to possess in life. Who are you serving with your agency, your performance, and your power?
Pisces 1 Decan
The Pisces New Moon falls in the first decan of Pisces associated with the Eight of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image contains a figure retreating into a watery, island realm of caves and seclusion ideal for contemplation. Their staff planted in earth, their red cape and boots signify the flowing vitality they may contact within a cultivated space of sacred meditation and ritual. The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.
Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces in his book 36 Faces, noting it signifies “a quest to map invisible walls of reality,” “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality. Coppock wrote that in the first decan of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions.” Coppock concluded the “liberation is achieved through insight alone,” meaning that through acceptance of our capacity for re-creating our maze-like circumstances, we may reframe the sense of imprisonment within our labyrinth as having dominion within our own palace. This meaning of the first face of Pisces fits well with the Pisces New Moon separating from a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus.
The link between the primal, fertile potency of the unconscious with the first face of Pisces is interesting considering that the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs linked the first face of Pisces with the titanic sea divinity Okeanos. More of a primal sea divinity than Poseidon, Okeanos was also known as the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset. Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul stated that Okeanos was considered the “God of Separative Intellect” in Orphic theology. In its Orphic Hymn, Okeanos is described as the source of every river, sea, and spring that brings divine purification to our human realm. The nourishing mists from this fertile, oceanic void touch us when adrift upon waves of aquatic life or when staring into the sea. Allow the purifying waters of the New Moon in Pisces to cleanse your vision, fortifying your resolve to embody your most sacred values in relationship with others.
There, see, the new moon, / The King of life blessing her; / Fragrant be every night / Whereon she shall shine!
Be her lustre full / To each one in need; / Be her course complete / To each one beset.
Be her light above / With every one in straits; / Be her guidance below / With every one in need.
May the moon of moons / Be coming through thick clouds / On me and on every one / Coming through dark tears.
May God’s hand on me dwell / In every strait that me befalls, / Now and till the hour of my death, / And till the day of my resurrection.
— Traditional Scottish prayer
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Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.
Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.
Carmichael, Alexander. (2006). Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. Floris Books.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.