Full Moon in Libra

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Soap Bubble mezzotint by M. Rapine from Le Monde Physique (1882)

Full Moon in Libra

Amidst so much uncertainty around the world, the Libra Full Moon will illuminate the changes that have been taking shape during the pandemic and how we have been adjusting. The Full Moon has a relational focus due to being in the outwardly directed home of Venus, with its pull to examine relationship patterns being further amplified by the Moon forming a conjunction with Juno retrograde in Libra as it waxes into fullness. There are more planets in air signs now than we have had recently, making it a lively time to catch up with friends far away or instead make space for reflection and attentive listening to what’s going on within. Tending to your inner life in some way will be wise, for the Libra Full Moon is applying toward a square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn, stirring up deep material we will see surfacing within our interactions.

The timing of some countries such as the United States beginning to come to terms with the full impact of potential deaths from the pandemic is the type of astrological correlation we do not want to experience, yet it nonetheless correlates with the fact the Libra Full Moon is intensifying some extraordinarily difficult astrological transits. “Unprecedented” has seemed to become the word of the year, with people around the world forced to confront an unknown future with no clear timelines yet for when the time of renewal will occur. We will need to draw upon the intellectual strength and heart-centered drive of Libra, its vast capacity for understanding the triggers of tensions within systems and how the constant changes of life require ceaseless rebalancing. It’s a time for reimagining the next chapter of life and ways to alter personal as well as systematic structures to address the strange reality of quarantines and shutdown businesses.

Though the Full Moon is in the diurnal, airy home of Venus, the lunation has a strong connection with Saturn as it is in the exaltation, face, and triplicity of Saturn. The Libra Full Moon is highlighting the archetypal polarity between the Sun and Saturn in a way, due to the lunation being aligned with the exaltation degrees for Saturn and the Sun. While the Sun will be at the degree of its exaltation in Aries during the lunation’s peak light, the Full Moon itself is applying within a few degrees to the degree where Saturn is exalted in Libra. Though Saturn in Aquarius is in a whole sign trine with the Libra Full Moon, the Moon is actually applying toward a degree based square aspect with Saturn it will complete after it enters Scorpio on April 8.

Thus we must temper the radiant expanse of our solar purpose with the defensive and protective boundaries of Saturn to ensure containment; likewise we can bring the vivifying warmth of our personalities to enliven those dealing with the dejection, rejection, and melancholia of Saturn. It’s a difficult tension to hold, but a necessary one of tending to difficult feelings within us and our relationships. The way in which we respond to internal distress as well as the needs of others will mean everything. Due to Mars in Aquarius simultaneously forming a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, it will be helpful to find creative outlets for pent up frustrations and tensions so that we do not cause unnecessary discord within relationships.

There has been a dramatic series of major planetary alignments recently, but the most directly relevant one to the Full Moon is the conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. The new cycle taking shape this year between Jupiter and Pluto is one of the most significant astrological influences of the year, and they formed their first of three conjunctions on April 4 only three days before the lunation. The Libra Full Moon will be insisting that we face whatever associated issues are arising from the depths of Jupiter and Pluto, since the Full Moon’s next aspect will be a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto.

roberto matta untiltled

Roberto Matta (1942-43) Untitled

It’s important to realize we are only at the very beginning of understanding what the Jupiter Pluto alignment will mean for us: their second conjunction will not be until June 30 (24º) with both retrograde, while the third and final conjunction in the series will occur with both moving direct on November 12 (23º), 2020. When Jupiter combines with Pluto, new knowledge and growth opportunities come from eruptions and catharsis that can make us confront figurative or literal death, pulling us to descend into underworld experiences that can ultimately expand vision beyond previous restrictions by the end of the process.

Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years. The most recent unions between Jupiter and Pluto took place in 2007 in Sagittarius, in 1994 in Scorpio, in 1981 in Libra, in 1968 in Virgo, in 1956 in Leo, in 1943 in Leo, in 1931 in Cancer, in 1918 in Cancer, and in 1906 in Gemini.  You may note some past periods of economic recession and depression from the list above: what makes the current Jupiter Pluto alignment similar to the 1931 conjunction that took place during the Great Depression is that they were each part of larger, disruptive outer planetary alignments. The 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

The worst side of Jupiter Pluto conjunctions can be seen in the rise of totalitarian groups following the economic instability surrounding the 1931 conjunction. In Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology, André Barbault demonstrated how the roots of the totalitarian surge in 1931 can be found in nationalist groups that began rising in power following the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction in 1918 and the economic crises of that period. This is the compulsive side of Jupiter and Pluto that involves obsessive desire for power sourced from shadowy fear that we need to be on guard against as we enter a time period of economic uncertainty now.

There is also positive potential for great good that can arise out of the unfathomable depths of Jupiter and Pluto coming together, and it is this side of their meaning that needs our full participation. Facing loss, grief, fear, and death demands that we get in touch with authentic feelings that leads to an intensification of what matters most to us. Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn must meet the constraints of circumstances, but through its alignment with Pluto it can regenerate new possibilities from whatever has been torn down or released. Jupiter and Pluto can put us in touch with our primal passions that can resiliently stand up against the conditioning of culture to question and break free from conformity with systematic structures. The shutting down of productivity around the world is scary for many, but is also creating the potential for radical reforms to be made when productivity is renewed.

The connective capacities of the Libra Full Moon may be brought into receptive dialogue with our external relationships as well as the realms of our ancestors and unconscious so that we may reorient toward what will be most essential for us to focus our time and energy on. While the discordant square aspect formed between Mars in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus can unleash anger and aggressiveness, within protected spaces of contemplation it can incite breakthrough insights that will lead us to make fundamental changes in our life going forward.

After the Moon enters Scorpio on April 8 it will immediately form an intensifying square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, followed by an opposition with Uranus in Taurus and then another square aspect with Mars in Aquarius. As a result, the Full Moon is bringing together insights from the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction with the difficult volatility stemming from Mars moving in between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus. The fact that this incredibly activating lunation is occurring within secluded spaces of quarantine for so many means it is more likely to lead to profound self realizations as a result. Allow yourself to take in a new perspective about what you can create with your life without worrying yet how exactly you will make it happen.

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Carnival Evening (1886) by Henri Rousseau

The Libra Full Moon is in the airy home of Venus, who is shining brightly at night in Gemini. Venus will be continuing to shine bright until reaching her brightest phase at the end of April and then beginning to slow down to station retrograde on May 12. Venus is also out of bounds, meaning that her excessive height in northern declination leads her to be more freedom seeking than normal and capable of soaring above barriers. In Gemini, Venus has a taste for diverse flavors and has ever changing interests and curiosities she adores exploring. Venus in Gemini delights in connecting through conversation, writing, intellectual activities, music, crafts, art, games, design, decorations, and any other aesthetically pleasing activities that will keep its ruling planet Mercury engaged and inspired. Venus in Gemini can be an asset in finding fun ways to connect with others while in quarantine.

At the same time that Venus will be getting brighter at night as the Moon wanes in light in the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus will also be getting closer and closer to a conjunction with Neptune. As a result, the waning half of the present lunar cycle can be a wildly creative time for writing, music, and any other art you enjoy. It will be an ideal time to take creative risks and experiment with your craft, as you will be more likely than normal to discover some unexpected and fascinating new directions to follow. Venus in Gemini moving direct while out of bounds and increasing in brightness is also perfect for sharing your creativity in order to inspire and uplift others who are experiencing difficulties.

During the Libra Full Moon, Venus in Gemini is separating from a trine with Saturn in Aquarius and is seemingly in range of a trine aspect with Mars in Aquarius that will never complete due to the upcoming retrograde of Venus. Venus will be moving across the same terrain of Gemini in the waning half of the present lunar cycle that it will later move back and forth across two more times. By paying attention to what happens this month you may begin to get a sense for what will become major issues during the upcoming Venus retrograde in Gemini period in May and June. Venus will be in Gemini from now all the way until August 7, so we are entering an extended period of time in which Venus will be activating issues related to whatever house in your natal chart belongs to Gemini.

Meanwhile, Mercury is in Pisces and in a harmonizing sextile aspect with the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.  Mercury is in position to receive a vital message from the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction as well as transfigure subconscious material being stirred up by Jupiter and Pluto into creative work that can accentuate the creative expression of Venus in Gemini. Mercury in Pisces is not in the best place for linear logic and communicating clearly and quickly, but after Mercury enters Aries on April 10 the speed and fiery spiritedness of its communication style in Aries will be an asset in responding quickly to emergencies stemming from the pandemic.

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3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The Libra Full Moon is in the second face of Libra associated with the Three of Swords illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak like the global pandemic we can access a newfound strength that ultimately increases our capacity for expressing love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Two Links in a Chain” to the second decan of Libra. Coppock linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements. Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to one’s oaths and commitments in relationships is vital to bear in mind at the Full Moon, especially for those partnerships who are spending more time alone together than normal due to being in quarantine. It’s a time for investing care and attention into the relationships that matter most to us.

The Full Moon in the sign of the Scales also conjures the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of souls after death.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  Whether you have been dealing with death, a major loss, or not, we are all coming to terms with so much that has come out of balance in the world that will require a united effort from all of us in rebalancing.  Allow the light of the Full Moon to illuminate at least one step you can take in rebalancing, whether it be through getting more rest or doing a certain task. As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote concerning death and loss:

“All of our true relations, all of our penetrating experiences reach through the Whole, through life and death; we have to live in Both, be intimately at home in both . . .

Through loss, through great, immoderate loss, we are actually quite introduced into the Whole. Death is only an unsparing way of placing us on intimate and trusting terms with that side of our existence that is turned away from us. (What should I emphasize moreour or existence? Both are here of the greatest significance, as if balanced by the weight of all the stars!)”

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References

Barbault, André. (2014). Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology. The Astrological Association.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2005). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

 

Scorpio New Moon

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Scorpio

Just feeling human
the way a cloud’s a cloud
tinged with blue or
walking slow across the sky or
hastening,
but not a Thursday cloud
formed for the anxious glance of Thursday people,
simply a cloud, whose particles
may fall Tuesday, just as well,
on anyone’s spring hair, on any
taciturn winter buds it chooses
and no one say no. Human,
free for the day from roles assigned,
each with its emblem
cluttering the right hand,
scroll of words in the left.
Human, a kind of element, a fire,
an air, today.
Floating up to you I enter, or you
enter me. Or imagine
a house without doors,
open to sun or snowdrifts.

— Denise Levertov, “Today” from To Stay Alive 

Water flows inexorably and like our desires will dissolve blockages in the currents of its path.  Scorpio like all water signs in astrology is inwardly directed, magnetic, receptive, and capable of allowing life and events to take shape according to natural cycles instead of focusing upon speeding up the timing.  The watery nature of Scorpio symbolizes its capacity to tap deeply into the psychic and emotional content of its environment, as well as its ability to merge and transmute with external relationships and sources of power.  Scorpio is distinct among the water signs, however, in its fixated nature and its association with the heated, aggressive, divisive, and willful force of Mars.  The apparent paradox of a cold and wet sign such as Scorpio being home to Mars, a planet whose temperament in astrology is considered to be excessively hot and dry, becomes clear when contemplating concepts such as yin and yang.  There is a line in Zhāng Jièbīn’s Lèi Jīng which can be translated as the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire.  This relates to what we can also find in the symbolism of the yin and yang image, in which yang is found within yin, just as yin is found within yang.  Scorpio as the nocturnal home of the nocturnal planet Mars in astrology signifies the deep essence of our fiery nature we can discover within.

Astrologers have written excessively about the symbolic resonance of Scorpio with the season of Fall, and while this association with the depth and fertile darkness of Scorpio fits, the issue remains that in the Southern hemisphere the season of Scorpio is at the fullness of Spring.  The important concept here is that Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning that it supports stabilization, even if the stability of the Scorpion differs from mainstream conceptions of being stable.  The seasons of Spring and Fall are extremes of life and bloom, death and decay, that we experience in between the season of equinox and the season of solstice.  Although these seasons are associated with the “Fixed” signs, they are temporary and transitory like all of the changing nature of our material world and we must witness their loss and passing like everything else.  The persistent, persevering nature of Scorpio and its ability to penetrate into the emotional and psychic undercurrents of its circumstances is one of the sign’s greatest strengths.  However, its fixed nature is the source of the Scorpion’s shadow we are familiar with, in that fear of losing the source of one’s desire leads to controlling behavior that can ultimately drain the vitality out of their connection.  The lesson we experience in Scorpio is in letting go and having a healthy level of non-attachment with our desires. This does not mean being detached, but rather embodying the intimacy of Scorpio without the fixated obsession of manipulating the object of one’s desires.

The Scorpio New Moon on 30 October 2016 is conjoining Mercury while in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  It’s ruling planet Mars is exalted in Capricorn and separating from a square with Uranus.  Significantly, in the past lunation cycle Mars moved away from a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then formed a last quarter square to Uranus in Aries.  During this period Mars has been out of bounds by declination, and in fact has been out of bounds since August 2016.  Mars out of bounds is wilder and more rebellious, which dramatically exacerbated the catalytic square between Mars and Uranus that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding the New Moon.  At the time of the New Moon in Scorpio, however, Mars is finally at the threshold of leaving its out of bounds status.  The Scorpio New Moon supports accessing ambition from within that has been limited by past restrictive patterns of thought and emotion.  Any recent jarring, explosive experiences can be used to untether us from how we have held ourselves back.  The desires emerging with the Scorpio New Moon call for nurturing and cultivation, and allowing ourselves to be guided by unleashed instincts and impulses.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The trine between the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune in Pisces gives emphasis to the imaginal realm of Neptune that has been in harsh aspect to the hard reality of Saturn in Sagittarius over the past year.  The darkness of the Scorpio New Moon invites allowing dissolution to occur while opening to the feelings emerging from within.  Neptune in Pisces is conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, and will become increasingly close to the South Node of the Moon over the course of the next month.  In the collective unconscious there has been old conditioning beliefs and dreams exposed that the luminaries uniting in Scorpio can cleanse, and as we purify ourselves from the corruption of external conditioning misaligned with our authenticity, the resilient fecundity of Scorpio can aid in realigning with distilled essentiality.

The Scorpio New Moon supports nurturing belief that our cherished dreams and visions are possible to manifest, no matter how many wounds and barriers we have struggled through over the past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune.  With Mars in Capricorn finally emerging from its recent contacts with Pluto and Uranus, there is activated drive and will force available to inject into building the ideal life we wish to live step by step, action by action.  Unfortunately in our global collective, the wildness of Mars empowered in Capricorn and triggered by Pluto and Uranus has coincided with horrific destruction, violence and warfare in world events, leading many to experience a dark night of the soul.   Nonetheless, we can draw from the potency of Mars in the final decan of Capricorn to persist with determination on our own path, utilizing the mutable placement of Saturn in Sagittarius to shift and mutate structures as needed to accommodate the unavoidable change happening.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo forms a sextile with the Scorpio New Moon, signifying an ability to discern purified choices resonant with our arising vision of meaning.  The North Node of the Moon is further bound to the Scorpio New Moon through its ruler Mercury forming a sextile to the North Node and a conjunction with the New Moon.  Mercury in Scorpio is at beginning of its synodic cycle with the Sun at the New Moon, and further in trine to Neptune and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces. There is a deep presence to be found within the volatility of Mercury, and though it may feel difficult to articulate the full extent of our perceptions it will be worthwhile to make space to descend into internal streams of sensations that may only be able to be transmitted through nonverbal and extrasensory mediums.  As the Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Taurus that will arrive on 14 November, Mercury will remain invisible from the sky as it swiftly moves through the entirety of Scorpio, capable of soaking up and translating the emotional undercurrents surrounding us.

beau-v-fall-tree

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

And virtue? Virtue lies in the heroic response to the creative wonder, the utmost response.

— D.H. Lawrence

Although not in actual aspect to the lunation itself, one of the most powerful elements of the Scorpio New Moon is the new phase conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius (the last conjunction of Venus with Saturn was on 8 January 2016 at 12 degrees of Sagittarius).  Venus combined with Saturn pulls us into the bare bones of reality and demands we become serious and committed to developing the foundational supports for the vision of what will bring us pleasure and a sense of harmony.  Saturn and Venus together is also about allowing to decay and putrefy whatever needs to now become decomposed to allow for change and new birth.  In his essay on Saturn entitled On Senex Consciousness, James Hillman in his typically verbose style illuminated numerous connections between Kronos-Saturn and Aphrodite-Venus, such as Saturn’s link to fertility and agriculture, prosperity and materialism being a feminine mirror to the earthiness of goddesses.  Hillman also connected the Saturnine trials that result from Venusian affairs, and the difficult feelings that can come from a meeting between Saturn and Venus:

The hidden connection between falling-in-love with the dazzling seduction of foam-borne Aphrodite and the seed and scythe of old senex is not easy to discern.  But how else account for the terrible cruelties, the vicious eat-or-be-eaten fights that break out of the most translucently lovely love affairs?  And, when Venus departs, Saturn returns with brooding melancholy, devastating loneliness feelings of ugliness- even psychic crippling or suicide.

— James Hillman, On Senex Consciousness

The new phase between Saturn and Venus beginning at the time of the Scorpio New Moon is not about debilitating cycles of feelings and thoughts, but rather is about taking complete accountability for one’s presence within one’s myriad relationships in the world.    Saturn together with Venus points to the karmic effects of feeling drawn toward and deciding to commit to a desired person or outside source.  By choosing one to focus upon, there is a resulting detachment or rejection of others necessitated by our decision to commit exclusively.  The Scorpio New Moon asks us to choose wisely, to align and merge with those most capable of receiving and understanding us, deciding to collaborate with those most able to support us with interdependent and balanced equality.  Saturn and Venus want us to seize life and create opportunities for peak experiences whose impact will continue to reverberate within.  Saturn is containing a volatile Venus, as Venus will have recently crossed the threshold into being out of bounds by declination at the New Moon.  The wild side of Venus will be further amplified by it forming a trine to Uranus as the Moon waxes in light, remaining as a rebellious out of bounds planet all the way through the upcoming lunation cycle.

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The first face of Scorpio holding the New Moon is associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first glance, with a figure full of despair staring with fixation upon three spilled, empty chalices on the ground. However, upon closer look we notice that there are still two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope.  In fact, the two remaining cups could be deeply fulfilling despite the grief over losing the other three cups. We can also notice a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing in the ancient flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. As a result, this card is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with death and the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces synthesized the images found in ancient text associated with this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, the satiation of desire, the loss of what one desires, and the competition and violence that surrounds pursuing the desired. Coppock concluded:

In this decan we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being. The object of desire always skirts the edges of this face while its inhabitants give chase. Some gain the object of their desire, some fail. All come to know hunger again. Though this may seem a particularly tortured decan, it is merely one which exposes a hard truth. Confronting the cycle, we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio, and since Mars is in the third decan of Capricorn ruled by the Sun, while the Sun is in the first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars, there is mutual reception through decan between the Sun and Mars at the Scorpio New Moon.  This brings more of a connection between the Scorpio New Moon with the square formed by Mars in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries.  While a square between Mars and Uranus can bring unexpected, shocking loss, it can also spark incredible individuating growth through the toil of adversity.   Mars in hard aspect to Uranus can also bring revelation into the cycle of desires we have been circulating.  Through facing our desires fully without denial, we develop awareness for which desires to continue pursuing and which desires are not in our best interest to regenerate.  The Scorpio New Moon beckons the release of attachment to whatever desires are not manifesting in our life in the moment, while embracing all elements of our actual reality with full presence and passion.

References

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Hillman, James. (1970). On Senex Consciousness. Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.

Wilms, Sabine. (2016). Randomn Thoughts on “Water is Yin, Fire is Yang.”  Happy Goat Productions.