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