New Moon in Leo: Tending the Forge’s Fire

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

New Moon in Leo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kay Nielsen illustration from The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain

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

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

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

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

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

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

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

Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos, translated by Thomas Taylor

References

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

Full Moon in Sagittarius: Tides of Jupiter & Neptune

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Rufino Tamayo Landscape with Moon

Sagittarius Full Moon

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 17, 2019 illuminates the intersection between our beliefs and ideals with the reality of our current experience. It’s a perfect time to take a contemplative look at oneself and one’s behavior in the world to note however we can make changes to be more aligned with the values that are most important to us. If we are undergoing any disillusioning experiences, the lunation can also bring light to how our personal vision and perception needs to be readjusted in order to flow in greater harmony with the life around us. The Sagittarius Full Moon can also help open a wider view of anything we have been struggling with in our day to day efforts at survival and managing the difficulties of life. Rather than denying the suffering happening around us, the lunation can facilitate acknowledgment of present struggles within a larger perspective of the greater cycles of time we are traversing. Let your mind wander beyond the short term goals of the moment in order to envision ideas of what you want to create and where you wish life to lead you in the next few years.

The Sagittarius Full Moon is at a pivotal point within the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, as Jupiter retrograde will form its second exact last quarter square aspect with Neptune on June 16. Previously, Jupiter and Neptune formed the first of three square aspects in the sequence on January 13,  2019 at 15° with both direct; Jupiter and Neptune will do so again a third and final time on September 21 at 17° with Neptune retrograde. Jupiter and Neptune form a conjunction once every thirteen years within their cycle, typically in a successive sign of the zodiac, with their last conjunction occurring in 2009 between 24º – 27º Aquarius. Viewing the 2009 alignment as a seed of the new vision being birthed by Neptune and Jupiter, we are now at the point of harvesting the meaning of their cycle and utilizing the knowledge gained from our experience to reorient and reorder our vision for the future. Dane Rudhyar believed that the Jupiter and Neptune cycle is one of the most important cycles to pay attention to, as it reveals the ripple effect that comes from changes in individual perception and meaning-making impacting the wider collective.

While the Jupiter and Neptune cycle is being amplified by the Sagittarius Full Moon, it is taking place within a wider context of Saturn and Pluto coming together at the end of their cycle while forming an opposition with Mercury and Mars in Cancer alongside the transiting lunar nodes.  Following the Full Moon, the moon will begin waning toward the Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer that will occur on July 2, bringing us into the strange quality of time found in eclipse season and a further intensification of the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn. The divisiveness and acrimony in global politics, the decay of old societal structures, the obsessive attempts to consolidate greater power by those in power, the heartfelt anger and outrage over the myriad forms of oppression and injustice occurring, are all outer signs of deep internal changes beginning to take shape.  Allow the light of the Sagittarius Full Moon to show you what elements of life need your full engagement, what needs to be protected and nurtured, and where you need to share and be more giving.

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Nike of Samothrace (2nd Century BC)

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the Full Moon while forming its catalytic square aspect with a stationing Neptune in Pisces. Neptune will station retrograde about four days after the full moon on June 21, which means that the archetypal influence of Neptune will be saturating the astrological landscape in the days surrounding the Sagittarius Full Moon. Moreover, while the Full Moon is separating from a conjunction with Jupiter, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is within five degrees of Neptune in Pisces. Altogether this points to the necessity of contemplating the bedrock of our thoughts, the oftentimes hidden beliefs that source the way we imagine and perceive the possibilities available. It’s clear in current events that many people around the world are clinging to old, outdated beliefs about the past they have distorted in their minds such as those consumed with nationalistic and racial pride and hubris. At the same time, there are traditional elements of our past and ancestry that can help us mediate strife and create a healthier and more fruitful lifestyle.

Allow the light of the Sagittarius Full Moon to shine upon your inner convictions, those ideas and ideals you are usually unwilling to question and tend to self-righteously act from. Do you wish to harness the power of creation for your own benefit or instead attempt to flow with natural forces in a way that can help others as well as yourself negotiate challenges? In the season ahead, with the intensity of the coming eclipses aligning with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, there is no doubt that there will be tumult to contend with. In many situations it will be necessary to fight with resistance in order to protect what is held most dear. Let the Sagittarius Full Moon illuminate what will be worth fighting for and whatever can be let go and released.

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Dorothea Tanning (1947) Maternity

Following the peak of the Full Moon on June 17, the waning Moon will occult Saturn in Capricorn on June 18 and then occult Pluto in Capricorn on June 19. This is due to the Moon aligning with its own south node while Saturn and Pluto are also aligning with their own south nodes. Simultaneously, Mercury will form an exact conjunction with Mars in Cancer on June 18, with both Mercury and Mars forming an exact opposition with Pluto on June 19. The volatility of this configuration will be amplified due to the fullness of the Moon, as the silvery Moon is the ruler of Mercury, Mars, and the North Node of the Moon. Thoughts can be irrational, dreams more intense, emotions more unhinged and exacerbated when the Moon is at its peak light, even more so when the Moon is ruling Mars and Mercury as they conjoin the North Node and oppose Saturn and Pluto. The loosening of passions can become difficult due to the widespread destruction signified by the rancorous configuration assembled around the lunar nodes.

The gift of having Mercury as an Evening Star aligning with Mars in Cancer is the wry wink and smile of the trickster Hermes. Moreover, the union of Mercury and Mars with the North Node of the Moon is also forming a flowing trine with Neptune stationing in Pisces. The more we can have a sense of humor about what’s happening, the more we can be willing to put our ego and pride aside when it is drawing us into petty conflict, the more smoothly we will be able to navigate the swirling tides that will be following in the wake of the full moon. In fact, the volatility of these aspects also makes this an incredibly creative time in which breakthrough ideas can be dislodged from stuck and stagnant places. If possible, find a creative outlet through which to transfigure fraught or explosive emotions into transmission of artistic expression, or take on a challenging physical expedition. There has been so much emphasis on the Capricorn side of the lunar nodes for so long with Saturn and Pluto camped out there, the dynamic onrush of Mercury and Mars across the North Node of the Moon can bring a productive jolt forward.

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Kehinde Wiley, An Economy of Grace, Princess Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Around the time of the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere on June 21, Venus in Gemini will descend under the beams of the sun into its invisible phase. As a result Venus is on the precipice of descending into the Mysteries of its upcoming underworld phase at the time of the Full Moon. Venus will eventually be re-seeded in the sacred heart of the Leo Sun on August 13 at 21º07′ Leo, and then will re-emerge in visibility as an Evening Star around the end of September. At the same time as the solstice, Neptune will station retrograde in Pisces while Venus in Gemini simultaneously forms an opposition with Jupiter in Sagittarius and a first quarter square with Neptune in Pisces. Adding to the mystery being nurtured by Venus, Venus in Gemini is forming a shadowy antiscia aspect with the Mercury and Mars conjunction as well as a contra-antiscia aspect with Saturn in Capricorn in the days surrounding the Sagittarius Full Moon.

Drink in the final light that Venus has to offer as a Morning Star in the days following the Sagittarius Full Moon. In Gemini, Venus promotes holding a multiplicity of perspectives and a willingness to question and contest dogmatic diatribes and stubborn viewpoints. Venus in Gemini finds depth in the connections found between what appear to be differences on the surface. Listen as closely as possible to your inner voice, the nudges of your intuition, the signs and omens of nature that cross your path, for the current phase of Venus signals a shedding of the values that have been prioritized and an expansive revisioning. Ask yourself what you can do differently, what potential path is available that up until now you have believed to be impossible due to your old conception of circumstances. Venus entering its invisible phase brings us into a long period of regeneration in which we can reconceptualize how we have been engaging in our relationships and work. Rather than seeking rapid success in the season ahead, focus instead on sustaining effort that will rebuild and reconfigure the foundation you launch yourself from.

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10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The third face of Sagittarius where the Full Moon in Sagittarius culminates is associated with the Ten of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Human toil, endurance and perseverance are some of the immediate associations evoked by the image of determination, and so there is strong alignment between the 10 of Wands with the astrological atmosphere of Mars and Mercury opposing Saturn and Pluto during the Sagittarius Full Moon. In tarot this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations, and in fact is called Oppression in the Thoth deck.  Fittingly, the third decan of Sagittarius is ruled by Saturn, a planet that involves the type of difficult circumstances that force us to cultivate endurance and new structures of support.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius in his book 36 Faces, describing how it reveals the unification of mind, body, and spirit through committed work and effort yoked to a goal.  Coppock also wrote that the final face of Sagittarius brings a reckoning regarding whatever needs to be sacrificed in pursuit of desires, noting that “those who walk this face must choose which burdens they will bear to the bitter end, and which are not worthy of such feats of will and endurance.” Both the Picatrix and Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy warn of the “evil inclinations” that can be harbored within this decan for those overly desperate to achieve objectives. Coppock described the intoxicating pursuit of victory that is found in this face, noting a need to realize when the “desperate fervor” of this decan’s power is appropriate and when it is inappropriate and will exact “a heavy toll.”

The Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac placed Ananke, the primordial goddess of Necessity, within the third face of Sagittarius. Ananke is the mother of the Fates and the overseer of souls incarnating in Plato’s Myth of Er and is the primordial mother of creation in some strands of Orphic cosmology who governs the cyclic nature of the cosmos. Ananke’s presence in the third face of Sagittarius which holds the full light of the Moon further amplifies the fateful feelings incited by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn aligning with the lunar nodes and the season of eclipses on the horizon. It will not be possible to hide from the watchful eye of Ananke, meaning that whatever life dictates needs our attention we must do and follow through with full consciousness. Though there are things to do we simply must do, issues to face we simply must face, there can also be revelation and insight discovered through the effort of will applied diligently to the task at hand. As the traditional Irish blessing goes, “May the road rise up to meet you.”

References

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