Leo Lunar Eclipse

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Lunar Reflection by Remedios Varo

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Life constantly brings change, yet eclipses always demarcate a period of accelerated change with synchronous endings and beginnings.  New relationships, attractions, experiences, and work opportunities appear seemingly out of nowhere with full force of manifestation, surprising us with their dramatic entrance into our surface reality.  Eclipses are also mysterious portals that hold profound shifts in the enfoldment of our destiny, as many of the changes signified by an eclipse are happening under the surface and not immediately observable in the surrounding period of the lunation.  We stand at the crossroads during eclipses bidding farewell to aspects of identity that can require grieving, while simultaneously welcoming exciting new experiences and relationships that need to be integrated into one’s life.

Lunar Eclipses occur when a Full Moon lines up with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the 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 consuming its own tail that has been used in Hermetic arts for ages.  The dragon devouring itself mirrors the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflect the ability to purify material attachments.  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 Leo Lunar Eclipse on 10 February 2017 is the first of a series to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius that will extend until January 2019.   During a lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our Earth upon the face of the Moon, turning it blood red during a total lunar eclipse.  This first Leo Lunar Eclipse is not total, but is instead classified as penumbral.  This stems from the fact that although the eclipse is fairly close to the North Node of the Moon, the eclipse is happening at 23º Leo while the North Node of the Moon is at the beginning of Virgo. The visual effect is that the shadow cast by the Earth onto the Moon by our Sun is not going to cover Luna in a total red glow, instead only projecting a diffuse outer shadow on the Moon that will be faintly noticeable.

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. The influence of Leo furthermore brings an electrifying jolt of fiery creativity, actualization, and instinctual self assertion into whatever areas of our life the eclipse impacts through its aspects to our astrology charts.

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Toward the Tower (1961) by Remedios Varo

The diffuse penumbral shadow projected on the Moon signifies that while the eclipse heralds the eventual shift of the lunar nodes into Aquarius and Leo months from now, our work with the nodes in Pisces and Virgo is not yet complete.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Solar Eclipse coming on February 26 are the final two eclipses to occur with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  As a result there will be an immense bursting of collective illusions forcing humanity to become wide awake to the discrepancy between fantasy and bare boned reality.  Eclipses have been occurring in Pisces and Virgo since the first Pisces Solar Eclipse in the series that occurred on 20 March 2015.  Idealized illusions and ghastly fears of the past have haunted collective events like ghosts weighed down by ball and chain, but in the storm of these final eclipses the chains of bondage will be blown open, releasing the delusive apparitions for all to see clearly.  The North Node of the Moon in Virgo continues to call us to embrace the moment with full awareness of everything occurring, whether we feel attraction or repulsion, and to discern choices that will bring greater fulfillment through service to the greater good.

The activation of Aquarius and Leo by the eclipse while the lunar nodes remain in Pisces and Virgo bring up innumerable issues concerning the current state of being for humanity within the complex networks of global civilization it has created.  While the archetypes of Pisces and Virgo can involve a sense of guilt over how our actions impact others, the shift of the nodes into Aquarius and Leo bring awareness to how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms.  The North Node of the Moon activated by Leo brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself.  Leo is also a loyal, heartfelt sign of solar power that will protect loved ones and fight for what it believes is good and noble.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is ideal for creative collaborations in art and activism and for embodying greater passion for life in all mundane responsibilities.  Six months from now we will experience a second set of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo with the lunar nodes also in Aquarius and Leo, and so the storylines being set in motion now will experience further dramatic developments at that time.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is especially potent because the opposition between the Leo Moon and Aquarius Sun crosses over the opposition between Uranus in Aries and Jupiter retrograde in Libra so that both ends of the oppositions form a harmonious sextile and trine to one another.  Uranus in Aries is sextile the Sun and trine the Moon, while Jupiter is trine the Sun and sextile the Moon.    As a result the tension between the Sun and Moon as well as Uranus and Jupiter have mediating aspects of stability that can help open awareness to opportunities that go beyond previously defined boundaries, and further support taking direct action with whatever surrounding resources are available to make inspiring visions and ideas take form.  The eclipse bears gifts for those willing to work with dedication and persistence, as sudden insights and revelations will emerge in the process once a commitment to sustaining effort has been achieved.

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Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle (1961) by Remedios Varo

Saturn in Sagittarius also holds harmonious aspects within the eclipse, as it is trine to Uranus and the Moon, sextile to Jupiter and the Sun.  Although Saturn has separated from its square aspect with Neptune that dominated 2016, its effect in the collective is still felt through the alternative interpretations of reality the masses are fighting over, with people struggling to recognize the difference between the factual and the imaginal.  Neptune in Pisces remains an influence on the eclipse through being widely conjunct the South Node of the Moon, as well as through connecting with Uranus in Aries through the shadowy aspect of contra-antiscia that was also in effect throughout 2016.  As a result one can draw a triangle with fire connecting Saturn with Uranus and the Leo Lunar Eclipse, with Neptune claiming a strong presence in the shadows cast by the flowing, harmonious exchange of fire.

For anyone with angles (ascendant, midheaven . . .), planets, or other key aspects of their chart in the final decan of the fire signs (20 – 30º of Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), the Leo Lunar Eclipse marks the point in time in which many karmic knots within life will begin to become unravelled with the gravity of necessary fate.  As the strands formerly held tight release, potential arises to weave the threads back together into a more colorful, vivacious form that can be embodied with self confidence and courage.  As a lot can change rapidly in the wake of eclipses, its important to keep in mind what one can control and what one has to surrender to not being able to control.  The raging fire contained within the Leo Lunar Eclipse can be channeled with purpose and discipline into strategic directions that can create opportunities to express inspiration, spirit, and passion.   Within the innumerable global conflicts occurring, anger can become so overwhelming that it debilitates one’s ability to make healthy choices.  Yet an inner inferno can also be injected into productive actions intent on building worthy creative works and solidifying support for both inner desires and social causes aiding others.

Mars in Aries is hosting both Venus and Uranus in his domain, applying toward a square with Pluto at the eclipse.  As the lunar eclipse releases and we head toward the darkness of the coming Solar Eclipse in Pisces, Mars in Aries will assertively blow up the tensions between Pluto, Jupiter, and Uranus, in particular re-triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus that dominated astrology between 2011 and 2015.   The many heated global conflicts already occurring will reach new levels of discord as Mars burns his way across the space of the Ram, some unavoidable whereas others will require discernment regarding which ones to engage in with personal energy.  Collectively we can all observe how many traditional structures we had gotten used to counting on have been crumbling apart through the years of the square between Pluto and Uranus-  the current transit of Mars in Aries will amplify the dismantling.  In the personal realm, the highly catalyzed and empowered Mars is available to support both well structured work opportunities as well as taking risks in life toward goals one previously did not believe possible to achieve.  Mars in Aries is also willing to fight to defend loved ones, and so adds to the fiery atmosphere of the eclipse in which combatants may be drawn into conflict over desire to protect whatever is held dear by the heart.

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The Escape (1961) by Remedios Varo

In the nights surrounding the eclipse, Venus can be seen in all of her majesty burning brightly next to Mars in Aries.  Venus is known as being in her detriment in Aries, a misunderstood classification that does not mean Venus is weak, but does mean she is away from her own home in the place of Mars.  Since Mars is close by in his own home, the Venus Evening Star is full of fiery martial force and passion yearning to be expressed with direct ardor.  Potent creative collaborations are possible with resonant partners able to harmoniously receive and reciprocate.   In relationships that have felt stuck or weighed down by unresolved issues, the martial combination of Venus and Mars in Aries can create conflicts that dislodge blockages and open up opportunities to mediate solutions through direct communication.  As Venus is now within the shadow of her forthcoming Venus retrograde that will begin on March 4, paying attention to arising concerns within relationships and addressing divisions between the needs of the self and others will help prepare us for the coming relational changes when Venus stations and turns away from Mars in retrograde motion.

While Venus and Mars are shining bright in the transfiguration of twilight, Mercury is illuminating the shift of hues at dawn as a Morning Star.  Mercury in Aquarius is forming a harmonious sextile with Venus at the eclipse, and as the forthcoming lunar cycle wanes Mercury will progress into an additional supportive sextile with Mars in Aries.  Mercury in Aquarius can bridge divides between the formerly known and the unknown on the horizon, helping to facilitate initiation of inventive visions for the future.  Mercury in Aquarius is a blessing with regard to the fiery emphasis of the eclipse as it can help with listening to the clamor of dissenting opinions and devising ways to navigate conflicts while staying true to personal integrity and principles.  In collaboration with partners or within group dynamics, Mercury in Aquarius further supports attuning to the underlying issues in need of attention in order to bring about a productive outcome.  The accord between Mercury, Venus, and Mars adds to the innovative and creative potency available to access within the Leo Lunar Eclipse.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse illuminates the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image a warrior is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onrush 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.  The image evokes the necessity of standing one’s ground against an onslaught from the masses or an angry mob, bringing the idea of what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, for a banner “bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty” unfurled symbolizes the sort of inspirational principle which transcends egoic concerns and animates a “spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign.”  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the third face of Leo’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit.  Coppock described the power of the third decan of Leo as a steadfast courage that rises to combat outside forces and protect beloved realms against external and internal threats, especially when resources are low and the odds are stacked against success.  Though Coppock praised “the solar-martial fire that moves broken limbs” found in the third face of Leo, he also warned:

Like any form of fire, divine or otherwise, there is danger. Though belief in a principle may give one the strength to hold on while all hope is lost, it is no guarantee that one’s cause is right. While this face may abound with images of noble heroes defending the right, just as many tyrants grace its halls, unwilling to yield their thrones, no matter the human cost.

Mars rules the third face of Leo, and Mars is extremely strong at the eclipse in its own sign of Aries and co-present with both Venus and Uranus. The third decan of Leo is impacted in an extraordinary manner in 2017 by eclipses, for there will be an incredibly intense Solar Eclipse in the third face of Leo coming in August 2017.  As a result the lessons we learn regarding the themes of the third decan of Leo now will return to us tenfold later in August to further wrestle with.  The overused adage of fighting fire with fire brings the question of how much conflict and destruction are worth inflicting over the issues we feel enlivened to defend and battle over.  While the power of our animated heart can lead us to resiliently contend and combat threatening forces beyond the point of exhaustion, it will also be worthwhile to discern our bodily limits and when rest and caregiving of our incarnated form is necessary.  The many fiery collective conflicts that will arise in 2017 are heralded by this first Lunar Eclipse in Leo, so gaining clarity over what is worth fighting for as well as how to best nourish and sustain our inner fire and fleshy form will be essential.

References

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

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Full Moon in Virgo

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Woodcut by Leonhardt Thurneysser zum Thurn (1574)

The Full Moon in Virgo on February 22 illuminates the polarity of Pisces and Virgo,  a meaning synthesized in the image of a woman fully present in the moment, in touch with her soul and body, filled with the spirit of surrounding nature.  Virgo is the inwardly directed home of Mercury, the exaltation of Mercury and the place of self examination, analysis, and reflection.  In Virgo we grasp for language to express the ineffable, systemize and organize chaos into concepts, and through bridging soul and personality, mind and body, discern right choice and action that aligns with natural justice and law.  At this Full Moon, Mercury in Aquarius is weaving together the meaning of myriad issues that have arisen from internal and external sources over the past couple of months.  Ahead is the unknown outcomes of deep shifting signified by a strong activation of the mutable signs of astrology. Any sense of clarity that can be gained at this time will be valuable treasure to take into the eclipse season that follows this Full Moon, as the following two lunations will be a Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8, and a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Libra on March 23.

The Full Moon is anchored by the Sun in Pisces in range of conjoining Ceres and Neptune, while Pisces is further amplified through Chiron closely conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, further connected by modern astrologers with Neptune and the oceanic field sourcing our personal and collective consciousness.  Pisces is a sign of soul and spirit, imagination and vision, and yet in the face of unseen realms and the chaos of creation that Pisces can attune with, many turn towards obsession with identities, pursuits, and desires that bring a sense of security and control.  Rather than open to a realm with no boundaries, many instead hold tight to fixations which bring a sense of controlling and organizing chaos.  The month following this Virgo Full Moon will feature a plenitude of Pisces placements, and with the Sun applying to a conjunction with Neptune and Ceres now, we can expect many of our old attachments to dissolve and wash away. Standing on the shores of any receding disillusionment, this Virgo Full Moon will illuminate the new choices and desires that resonate with the current development of authentic growth being experienced.

The Sun, Neptune, Ceres, South Node of the Moon, and Chiron being in the home of Jupiter, with Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, means this Virgo Full Moon will trigger all underlying issues surrounding our desires for growth in the unknown future.  One of the biggest dangers of the Virgo side of the polarity is that we can easily resist the potential available for change, regeneration, and liberation from past patterns by resisting opportunities because of judging the circumstances to not be what we feel they should be for us.  Virgo can cling to an ideal or want things to look a certain way as a coping strategy in the face of the formless unknown signified by Pisces.  However, if we resist taking a dive and risk into situations that are not perfectly ordered the way we feel comfortable with, we can guarantee that we will be perpetuating the same old underlying patterns in the future.  Jupiter traveling in conjunction with the North Node of the Moon can open windows to a sense of destiny that if fulfilled would bring vibrant meaning into our lives.  Yet the choices available that align with our soul’s evolution are not necessarily in the circumstances that look and feel like our comfort zone, or that enable our old attachments and complexes.

Look to the house position and aspects made by the first five degrees of Pisces and Virgo to note how this Full Moon is directly impacting you. If you have any placements in the first ten degrees of water, earth, or mutable signs you will acutely feel its effects.

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World Press Winner of best Nature photograph in 2015 by Rohan Kelly of looming clouds above Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

This Virgo Full Moon opens us to a long period of time in which the mutable signs of astrology will dominate, an atmosphere of tempestuous storms brewing that will completely alter reality.  Everything is shifting into unknown outcomes, and while it is natural to grasp for old attachments and the desires that have given us a sense of security in the past, clinging to our old ideas of what stability means will no longer guarantee stability.  It is vital to realize that so much is changing on such a deep level, that making choices based on our old security needs will lead to missing out on the opportunities that will bring the deepest fulfillment. In this transitional, mutable time period, the entire foundation is shifting and so what used to bring security is changing fundamentally.  Following desires rooted in the heart and soul hold the greatest potential for ultimate security, even if the circumstances surrounding them seem uncertain now.

The Full Moon is in the home and exaltation of Mercury, illuminating connections with our mind, mental expression and comprehension.  Mercury is in the middle of Aquarius at the time of the Full Moon, being received by Saturn in Sagittarius through a sextile.  In addition, Mercury is in a wider range of a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  However, the closest aspects for Mercury are with the asteroids Pallas Athene and Juno, being conjoined with Pallas Athene and in square to Juno in Scorpio.  Demetra George described Juno and Pallas Athene as galactic activators who help mediate the personal realm of astrology with the transpersonal, and so the myriad aspects Mercury is making at this Full Moon suggest a bridge between the personal and transpersonal is available to traverse.  There is a brand new, future-oriented path to take we can now envision, yet it causes friction with old relationship patterns to such an extent we could resist it.

With Venus also in Aquarius in range of a conjunction with Mercury and Pallas Athene at this Full Moon, there is liberation available from the old complexes that have caused us to repeat endless loops of certain relationship projections, going back all the way to early childhood.  Yet to experience this liberation we have to take risks sourced from our heart with a willingness to go into an unknown that does not appear to fit our perfect vision of how things should be set up.  Unfortunately, it is also easy to rationalize resistance to the liberated choices based upon the old attachments that have brought us comfort and security in the past. To receive the full potential of this Full Moon in Virgo, be open to opportunities that do not fit your ideal parameters, yet do resonate with your soul in the evolving moment.

With both Mercury and Venus in Aquarius, the home of Saturn, it is also important to realize that we are approaching a last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo.  At the Full Moon, Jupiter and Saturn will be within five degrees of an exact square, and they will ultimately form their exact square at the time of the Lunar Eclipse in Libra that is coming on March 23, 2016.  On the one hand, this signifies the deep “crisis of consciousness” developed by Dane Rudhyar that culminates myriad past issues into a crescendo that will require the release of what no longer serves our deepest meaning and purpose.  Mercury as the ruler of this Full Moon is in a mediating role now, however, as Mercury is in sextile to both Saturn and Uranus, while Saturn and Uranus are simultaneously in trine.  Furthermore, Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius where it now resides, adding additional support to our capacity to connect the known with the unknown.  Altogether, these aspects support the ability to create and find the resources we need to stabilize ourselves in unfamiliar directions, despite the current circumstances not appearing to already have the resources established.

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Winner of first prize in 2015 World Press photography awards by Warren Richardson of people seeking to cross into Hungary. Taken on 8/28/2015

The most exact, intense aspect of this Full Moon is Jupiter in Virgo conjoining the North Node of the Moon, opposite Chiron in Pisces conjoining the South Node of the Moon.  Jupiter will become exactly opposite Chiron a day after the Full Moon, forming the second of three oppositions they will make in the current cycle.  On November 3, 2015 Chiron and Jupiter were opposite at seventeen degrees, currently are opposite at twenty degrees, and on August 12, 2016 will form their final opposition at twenty-four degrees of Virgo and Pisces.  As a result we are in the middle passage of their oppositions, and this one in particular may be the most intense of all as it falls along the nodal axis of the Moon.  As a result, Jupiter in Virgo is aligned with the new choices and strong desires signified by the North Node of the Moon, and Chiron in Pisces is aligned with the letting go and release of old patterns and desires signified by the South Node of the Moon.

Chiron as well as Virgo becoming activated often can coincide with a crisis that necessitates readjustment and resiliency.  With Chiron conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces now, one issue that could come up is the level to which past rejection is influencing current reactions and responses to adversity.  There is nothing quite like the wound of rejection when you have opened your heart with complete devotion to another.  Feelings that you are not good enough, or overwhelming sorrow that the value you feel sure you inherently possess is not seen, desired, or respected, can seep into one’s perceptions and choices and cause restriction and restraint.  Yet the experience of distress, hardship, and tribulation can provoke us to push past limiting thoughts and awaken the unrealized potential from within.  Whatever wounds are being triggered, the opposition of Jupiter to Chiron signifies that vital vision and meaning in life can be regenerated through going into the feelings rather than denying them or distracting ourselves from them.

Pluto in Capricorn is currently mediating the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron, forming a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, and a sextile with Chiron and the South Node of the Moon.  The shadow side of these Pluto aspects is about attempting to cope with emotional insecurity by controlling people and as many aspects of our surroundings as possible, or resisting the paths and choices that do not fit our controlled, idealized picture of the way we want things to be.  However, if we are able to nourish our own emotional security from within, the trine from Pluto to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon can coincide with opening to a soulful path forward that will ultimately bring us intrinsic validation.  If we stop resisting and instead open ourselves to receiving what will come by deciding to commit to the new direction, we will find Plutonic wealth and resources emerging along our trail that will be enough to get us through any difficulties arising.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo I Decan 

This Full Moon falls in the first face of Virgo, associated with the 8 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see an artist and craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment.  This image resonates with the astrology surrounding this Full Moon in Virgo by evoking the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts:

The first decan of an earth sign, this face provides initiation into the mysteries of incarnation.  It teaches the difference between the touched and the untouched, and the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe.  It makes for careful craftsman, thoughtful merchants and wise farmers, though many other transformers of the prima materia are here as well.  Though the formulae of this face is one of humility, it results in works of surprising glory.  Creation ripens for those who can hear and heed its voice.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 139-140

The Sun rules the first face of Virgo, giving the Pisces Sun added emphasis at this Full Moon. The Pisces Sun conjoining Neptune and Ceres lends additional imagination and nurturance to this decans emphasis on humbly devoting oneself to creative manifestation.  This Full Moon can help us attune to a grandiose vision and dream for our future, while simultaneously drawing our focus to the next critical step needing to be addressed in its creation.  The more you can get away from others in your surroundings, including influences coming from media sources, the more you can center within and listen for naturally arising messages pointing toward the calling aligned with the highest good.  Focusing on the task at hand and pouring personal energy into artistry of one sort or another will also help to purify the old wounds and delusions toxic to perception.  There is solar insight into our current place in the intersection between the collective unconscious and our personal consciousness, lunar insight available into our mind and body in its current situation and what to prioritize with our time and attention.

References

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

Tending the Fire of the Virgo Full Moon

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Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

The Full Moon on March 5 glows radiant in the sign of the winged Virgin, and her presence can help us tend the fiery trine between Jupiter retrograde in Leo and the new conjunction between Venus and Uranus in Aries.  What’s more, the flames of the exact trine between Jupiter, Venus and Uranus are further ignited by Saturn in Sagittarius and an exact conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Virgo is an internally contemplative sign, and so this Full Moon appearing with Jupiter in the depths of its retrograde journey will reveal the self-absorbed delusions of grandeur we have been harboring that need mitigating.  As a result the inspiration of the grand fire trine of transits can spark realization of how to shed ego obsession and re-align to serve the larger whole of our reality, a helpful course of action considering the multitude of people angrily operating without self-awareness currently.  Yet we do not want to hold ourselves back with self-criticism to the extent that we rationalize away the possibility of pursuing our dearest desires, or avoid examining pressing issues out of fear of wounding ourselves.  Instead, like the woman in the alchemical image above minding the fire cooking her cauldrons, it will be best to take action aligned with our vision and withstand the heat to remain actively mindful of the ever-changing point we are enacting in our process.

Mercury in Aquarius rules the Full Moon and is our guide to how to infuse spirit into our work and inspired vision into daily grounding.  Crucially, Mercury at the time of the Full Moon is closely conjunct Vesta in Aquarius and so integrates the focused, sacred fire sustaining priestess into a greater clarification of Aquarian perception.  In the classic Hermes: Guide of Souls, Karl Kerenyi described the connection between Hermes (Mercury) and Hestia (Vesta):

Hermes’ connection to the center of the house, to the goddess of the hearth, is attested by a Homeric hymn to Hestia . . . He guides souls out of his realm- the world of paths and roads- back into the warm life of the household, which in Greek signifies the “family.” In his official capacity as mediator between the worlds of night and day, spirits and men, and (standing before the temple) between the worlds of gods and mankind, he is . . . closely related to door hinges and therefore to the entrance but also to a middle point, to the socket, about which revolves the most decisive issue, namely the alternation life-death-life . . . Through Hermes, every house became an opening and a point of departure to the paths that come from far off and lead away into the distance.  Standing at the doorway, he indicates that here is a source of life and death, a place where souls can break in, as through he were pointing out a spring of fresh water.  — Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls, pages 102-103

Being centered at “home” will accentuate our ability to receive the light of this Virgo Full Moon, and the revelation could guide us into how best to house the vivifying spirit or soulful desires we feel deeply and wish to experience manifested.  We do not need to be living in our ideal home or even necessarily have a home, but rather we need to claim a personal space to feel secure within and create an outlet through which to express ourselves.  Since Mercury was recently exactly opposite Jupiter in Leo, our Hermetic guide brings an objective analysis of our developing truth to its conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius.  Vesta unveils the importance of focused, determined action and concentration we can wield with discipline to cut through any fogginess or cacophonous clutter in our environment.  With the illumination of this Virgo Full Moon, Mercury has finally exited its retrograde shadow zone and so the mental processing we have been engaged in since the recent Mercury retrograde cycle began on January 21, 2015 can now more fully elucidate the relevant issues.  Since Mercury and Vesta in Aquarius are also now sextile to the Uranus and Venus conjunction in Aries, the full reflected light of this coming full moon can bring breakthrough insight to help solve our recent dilemmas.

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Sardonyx cameo of a nymph riding a centaur (Hellenistic, 1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.)

Our two great lights of this Full Moon are each conjunct symbols of wounding, rejection, and heroic salvation, with the Sun in Pisces conjunct Chiron, and the Moon in Virgo conjunct Black Moon Lilith.  Since Mars is also conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, we could experience amplified feelings of anger and frustration if we become overwhelmed by shadow side connections to Virgo such as guilt, lack, emptiness, and perfectionism that leads to self-criticism for falling short on our ideals.  However, Mars affixed to the South Node in Aries can also coincide with an impulsive or instinctual release of an essential element of our nature that will be vital for us to reflect upon.  In this atmosphere the full light of the Virgo Moon will spiral deep within our core, and the reflected awareness will sharpen our discernment on which practical strategies will be best to focus on to modify our behavior and goals to flow more harmoniously with the chaotic changes erupting in our surroundings.  The key is to tune into the spirituality we can find in the ever changing moment of our mundane livelihood, and to listen to the messages found in the soul material of our environment.  A Virgo Full Moon is perfect for shining light on a prudent path to follow that will help us utilize our essential gifts if we keep our consciousness focused on self-acceptance rather than harsh self-judgment.

In this way it is important to realize this Virgo Full Moon is in a harmonious aspect to Pluto in Capricorn and is connected to the seventh and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that will occur in a couple weeks in the waning phase of the current Moon cycle.   The Virgo Moon will be in trine to Pluto and the Pisces Sun will be in sextile to Pluto, meaning that instead of resisting or being in denial of the deep pull of our Plutonic soul desires, the Full Moon can help us realize the changes of necessity we will need to surrender to that we can no longer avoid experiencing.  With the Sun conjunct Chiron and the Moon conjunct Black Moon Lilith, we can then not only uncover and embody more of our deepest nature, we can also foster the courage to assert our beliefs and passions in the face of surrounding criticism, knowing that by pursuing our deeply felt passion we will in turn manifest a creation that will be meaningful for others of like-mind.

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The Passing of Venus (1898) Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Indeed, the burning fires of passion that can coincide with Venus being conjunct Uranus in Aries and in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Leo is the great gift of this Full Moon to open.  In the sequence of zodiac signs that begin with Aries and end in Leo, there is a journey of our personal development from a sense of essential individuality in Aries to it’s ultimate creative actualization in Leo.  The brilliant light of Jupiter illuminating our night these days is like the traditional wishing star that pulls forward our unique gifts and talents (Venus conjunct Uranus in Aries) into such a strong desire to make them real that we discover a way for us to make our sense of destiny actually happen.

Virgo is the sign that follows Leo and tempers the Lion’s delusions of grandeur so that we can interact harmoniously in our intimate partnerships and effectively in our collaborative relationships.  Virgo also makes the tense and awkward 150° inconjunct aspect to Aries, and this Virgo Full Moon will be closely inconjunct the conjunction of Venus and Uranus in Aries.  In evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, this waxing inconjunct aspect is associated with the Virgo archetype and correlates to a feeling of special destiny or vision that we feel deeply called to pursue, and yet simultaneously brings a sense that we are not ready to achieve our ambition.  A potential negative consequence is that instead of taking action toward our desire we instead make excuses through rationalization why we should not bother asserting ourselves toward our dream, all the while observing with tremendous envy other individuals successfully actualizing the same desired path, ambition, or vocation.  The conjunction between Venus and Uranus that is also in trine to Jupiter in Leo is so full of great promise that it would be a huge missed opportunity to follow this line of thought and talk ourselves out of making liberating choices forward.  A solution is to focus on understanding why we do not feel ready to successfully manifest our dream, and then actively engage in strategies and actions to improve and work on the areas of our Self we realize we need to enhance in order to be effective.

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The Mirror of Venus (1875) by Edward Burne-Jones

We are filled with a sense of magic and lightness when we stare into a luminous Full Moon, and this lustrous dazzlement is a moment to seize in remembrance of what we hold dear to our hearts, in contrast to the heartache caused by the disappointments felt in our day-to-day existence.  For those tuned into the news cycle of current events, there is no end to the horror show of savage murders, betrayals, and mass killings berating our perception.  In our personal lives, the huge influx of Mars, Venus, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon combined in Aries has likely made us need to confront anger from others or feelings of anger wanting to erupt from within ourselves.  The South Node of the Moon is often connected to either our past lives or habitual complexes in astrology, but remembering that all of the planets have nodes and not just the Moon, we can also think of it as signifying the entire past arc of the Moon archetype in our lives.  Mars and Venus having initiated a new cycle of relationship and desire for us around the time of the past New Moon, at this Full Moon we can feel a burning sense of all our past desires we have not yet experienced, or confront issues from our past that did not turn out the way we had originally hoped.

Instead of feeling guilty or mired in lack, wanting to distract ourselves with meaningless busyness, gaze into the mirror reflection of this Full Moon with the awareness of how beautiful it is also to be simply alive and incarnate in your body.  In the space between our current self and societal position and the sense of where our higher nature wants us to be, open your mind with discrimination toward practical, simple steps you can begin to take today to bridge the distance.  There is a Mercurial discernment of Venusian refinement into our essential nature available now that will lead to discovery of key ingredients in our process of creating our desired work of beauty.

pixie imagination

by Pamela Colman Smith

Opening our mind to new visions found along our daily path can bring true inspiration now.  Instead of searching far and wide for an imagined ideal Muse, sometimes we need to remember that we already have Muses surrounding us and we simply need to invite them to lay down with us in our field of awareness.  When the Moon is full in Virgo in opposition to the Sun in Pisces, we receive signs of how we can align our personal will with a higher will, how we can align our thoughts and behavior with the soul of our surroundings.  This current Virgo Full Moon is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and so brings in productive, fertile earth energy into an otherwise stormy mix of planets in fire, air, and water signs.  A personal sojourn into the green world, removed from as much of the modern excess of electronics as possible, will be a fantastic activity for this Full Moon time if you can manage it.  Connecting with trees and birdsong on wild paths of untended decomposition and burgeoning growth is a perfect setting to contemplate the concerns coinciding with a full lunation in the mutable Earth sign of Virgo.

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9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

This Virgo Full Moon by zodiac degree falls within the Virgo II decan which is ruled by Venus.  The associated tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith displays a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure lifting her trained falcon within a grapevine estate.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces astutely analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it is a bird of prey that feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  In this way, Coppock stated that when we delight in the end product of a glass of wine, “The beauty of the finished product of the process conceals the pain and toil utterly necessary for its creation . . . It is only through heat, force and sweat that the most delicate and elegant works are created” (p. 145).  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:

Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus.  On an emotional level, the visions that stain this face teach one not to be repulsed by process, nor to be glamoured by the apparent perfection of a finished thing.  On a practical level, this face brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof.  The residents of this decan oversee the ever-transforming world, guiding and shaping the Great Work on a microcosmic level.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 146

There is nothing easy about this time we inhabit, but the hard work we exhibit today, the monstrous emotions we feel temporarily overwhelmed by, the radiant glow of bliss we contact in a perfect moment, it all feeds the form we are breathing within in this moment.  Discard feelings of anxiety over not being in the exact job or relationship you want right now, or having not enacted your envisioned plan yet.  This is an important Full Moon to listen to, as it prepares us for the upcoming eclipse season that stretches from the March Equinox into the month of April, pointing us in the direction of necessary modifications needed in our current process.  In the end we will all benefit from the final product you create out of your present dilemmas and circumstances.

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References

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

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

Cancer Full Moon

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Luna und ihre Kinder (Detail: Lunar mit Schimmel), Mittelalterliches Hausbuch von Schloss Wolfegg, circa 1480

To feel.  To feel deeply. To feel into the moment wholly, opening fully, being present through unclenching and unclasping without distraction, without our habits of dissociation and ingrained emotional reactions. To unlock our essence in defiance of the surrounding consensus values, beyond the inner conditioning we have clung to from childhood and pivotal peaks like the first breaking of our heart.  We enter 2015 with a full on lunation befitting the goddess Luna we associate with the lunar sign of Cancer,  whole in Her many faces of darkness and light.  Just like a Cancer adrift in remembrances of time past, this Full Moon beckons us to take a glance back at the ruptures from 2014 dissolving in our wake as we turn to face the mystery of our unknown future arriving in our present moment.

Indeed, the Cancer Moon of January 4/5, 2015  is a full polarity of light that triggers the dominant astrology themes of 2014, including the Cardinal Grand Cross and the Pluto and Uranus square.  Squarely impacting fifteen degrees of the Cardinal signs, this Cancer Full Moon falls in the same area of the zodiac lit up by the Cardinal Grand Square of April 2014.  Furthermore, Pluto and Uranus remain in square with Uranus close to the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in square to the South Node as well as the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  This means that this Full Moon not only sets off the Pluto and Uranus square, it also triggers the relational lunar node theme of 2014 in Libra and Aries.  Along these lines, this Full Moon is also an important stepping stone from the Lunar Eclipse in Aries that occurred on October 8, 2014 at sixteen degrees, as this Cancer Full Moon squares that past Lunar Eclipse.  Thus Luna is weaving a thread that connects fading hues from 2012 when the Pluto and Uranus series of squares commenced with what we felt bursting from within during the initiating transits of April and October 2014 that dislodged our primal material in need of liberation.

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If our feelings are messy, emotions overflowing in crisis, passions held at bay due to our desire out of reach, we can remember this is what it means to be human.  Since consensus culture is increasingly technological and linked via computerized networks, it can seem sometimes that humans have become instruments of a machine and often times more attached to their mobile screen than the people surrounding them. Of course, our emotional beings are not logical and no upgrade exists to make our feelings more efficiently operational, and this is precisely our great human gift.  The year 2014 had numerous astrological transits capable of liberating us from stuck patterns, and the degree to which we either took action or allowed ourselves to surrender to the changes calling us from within reveals how we will be impacted by this Full Moon in Cancer.  If we have been resisting change or realizing in the light of this lunation that we have been attempting to force something to happen that is not meant to be, this Full Moon can be a point to set a new intention going forward and change course.  If we enter this Full Moon already adjusting to how we have been dramatically altering our life structure, we are in a place to receive important insight into how we can deepen further into a more authentic life.

Similarly, our current state of consciousness will color how we experience the dramatic opposition between Mars in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo that ushered in 2015.  To me, the great potential of this aspect is an intuitive grasp of not only our personal truth but a clearer sense of what action we need to take in line with our truth, a visionary light blazing a trail in front of us with the desire we need to complete the journey.  There is great global trauma, oppression, violence, and plutocratic control surrounding us, but while earlier watching a Harry Potter movie with my daughters I was reminded of how like the Expecto Patronum spell, we each have a unique brilliance to send out into the world, a pure light from the center of our heart that can dissolve the toxins of our environment attempting to dissipate our energy.  As Jupiter retrograde is also conjunct a Juno that is retrograde in Leo, our love will be a procreative force in this process and our relationships a vital vessel for growth.

Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius can already be witnessed in accordance to numerous current events, and this Full Moon holds a significant aspect between Saturn, Neptune in Pisces, and Black Moon Lilith in Virgo that is yet another sharp aspect demanding adaption.  The square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces is only at it’s beginning stages now, and we will be working with the issues emerging in correspondence during the entire year.  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo forming a t-square with Saturn and Neptune here means we will strongly feel how much our essential self and desires line up with our current reality.  If we feel imbalance, we may feel this so strongly it may feel more than we can bear, and yet this feeling is the fuel we need to draw on to make our life structures line up with our inner truth.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being conjunct Saturn at this time is a powerful ally to aid us in perceiving how we can creatively actualize in order to manifest the aspects of our vision that line up with natural law in the face of unjust human created law.  If we can sidestep the shadow side of falling victim to dogmatic ideology or ideals we talk about being utopian but in actuality are about our own self-interest, then with discipline, concentration, and focus we can take concrete steps to shift structures.

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3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

This Full Moon falls in the second face of Cancer, a decan ruled by Mercury and associated with the Three of Cups in tarot.  The Three of Cups is collaborative and about creating goals that have a common purpose, nurture our inner passion and creativity, and connect us to community for support when facing difficulty.  For those who want to work on activating constructive change in their community, this Full Moon is also a reminder that to be an effective activist requires that you are engaged in a process of working on your own personal issues before putting your energy into others.  The personal issues we need to address are now revealed by the Sun conjunct Pluto and in square to the lunar nodes:  look to the houses and aspects in your birth chart impacted by the Sun and Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Libra, and the Full Moon in Cancer.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the second decan of Cancer as an alembic incubation, requiring an assertion of protective action to nurture soul development in the tumult of tribulation.  Coppock linked the images of abundant joy associated with the Three of Cups as in the picture above by Pamela Colman Smith with the importance of difficult challenges as they force us to protect what is dear to our hearts and cultivate strength in what brings us joy.  As Mercury is the ruler of this decan, it is fitting in this way that Mercury is conjunct Venus in Aquarius and in sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius at this Full Moon, as these aspects to Mercury in transit increase our capacity to de-condition from repressive influences and to re-structure inspired by liberating influences.

Mercury and Venus are both Evening Stars now visible together during twilight.  Mercury in its Evening Star phase lends us a more deliberate thought process able to reflect and integrate information coming our way, assimilating a message within the context of a long-range perspective.  With this Full Moon, Mercury also prepares to enter it’s retrograde shadow zone, foreshadowing the issues we will face during the Mercury retrograde that will occur from January 21 until February 11, 2015.  Following a New Moon in Aquarius on January 20, Mercury will station retrograde at 18° Aquarius on January 21 and move back to station direct on February 11 at 2° Aquarius. It also means that since Mercury begins to slow down as it approaches its stationing, that Mercury and Venus will remain conjunct over the entire course of the upcoming waning cycle of the Moon- when Mercury stations retrograde at eighteen degrees of Aquarius, Venus will be at twenty-two degrees of Aquarius.  In Aquarius, Mercury and Venus give us an enhanced ability to reach self-knowledge through a more objective and detached perspective that can uproot the causes underlying our current issues.  If there are sources of agitation arising in our life around this Full Moon period, we can celebrate the appearance of Mercury and Venus together in Aquarius as an opportunity for a distillation that can free a sense of individuality within our cultural context.  Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Aquarius now bring the opportunity to share the unique purpose we realize we possess with our wider community.

References

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