Full Moon in Cancer: Solstice Light

Full Moon in Cancer

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year by Max Ernst

Cancer Full Moon

The solstice gets its name from the Sun standing still by declination, reaching its lowest depth in the northern hemisphere at the turn toward the winter, while reaching its peak height in the southern hemisphere at the shift into summer. A time of rebirth within the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, we imagine the Sun pausing in contemplation as we welcome and honor its increasing rise and presence in our life. Each day after the solstice on December 21 in the northern hemisphere we will experience more solar light, while in contrast the southern hemisphere will experience the initial decline from maximum solar light. Thus in the northern hemisphere, the Full Moon in Cancer on December 22 brings the striking symbolism of peak lunar light illuminating the longest stretch of night, while in the southern hemisphere it aligns with the longest days of the year.

The Moon rules the lunation from its home of Cancer and as it separates from its opposition with the Sun it will begin applying to an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. After the Moon completes its opposition with Saturn on December 23, it will begin applying toward the formation of a watery triangle with Neptune in Pisces and Venus in Scorpio. As a result the Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate a hard, unflinching examination of the current state of affairs that opens a window to imaginal visions of whatever we wish to manifest that is currently lacking. The overwhelming emphasis, however, is on Saturn as the Capricorn Sun is simultaneously initiating its annual regeneration with the ringed planet (the new cycle between Saturn and the Sun will begin on the first day of 2019).

Thus the Full Moon in Cancer is ideal for taking a pause within the trajectory of current motion, reflecting upon events across the past year while pondering what you want to set in motion in the year ahead. The strong influence of Saturn brings the necessity of taking responsibility for wherever you find yourself and remembering that even at the darkest moment of despair we can summon the resiliency needed to make the most of current circumstances. The overemphasis on water signs connected through flowing aspects between Venus, Neptune, and the Moon could dredge up difficult emotions concerning any areas of our life we feel like we haven’t been doing our best. Fortunately, the Cancer Full Moon does have supportive aspects for self-nurturing as well as comforting and soothing others who are overwhelmed with difficult feelings.

Solargraph

Solargraph taken from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment

The Moon in Cancer rules the Full Moon and is headed toward a union with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer, emphasizing the Moon’s new position as the ruler of its transiting North Node. Since Rahu now has the speedy Moon as its ruler, we will experience the North Node in Cancer uniting with its lunar ruler once a month during the next year and a half of the lunar nodes transiting Cancer and Capricorn (the North Node will be in Cancer until May 2020). The union between the Cancer Moon and its North Node on December 24 will be the second time so far that the Moon has conjoined its North Node in Cancer, the first time being on November 26 during the period that both Jupiter and Mercury retrograde were being regenerated in union with the Sun. Since Mercury and Jupiter are uniting in Sagittarius at the time of solstice, the Cancer Full Moon will bring stark clarity regarding whatever has been coming into our life in the past month.

Whenever the Moon conjoins its own North Node in Cancer we will have the opportunity to discern new choices regarding the desires drawing us forward as always, but the nodal rulership being activated will bring an intensification of hunger and pull.  Since the Moon in Cancer will also be moving through oppositions with both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on its way toward uniting with its North Node each month, the astrological symbolism suggests we will be experiencing an intense lunar passage through Cancer each month highlighting whatever we want to protect and nurture more so than normal. Thus the Cancer Full Moon initiates us into one of the most important astrological themes of 2019. Since the Moon signifies a constantly changing emotional landscape, the more we can sift through inner feelings to find the desires laying at the heart of passing dynamics, the more we can feel centered and grounded in whatever processes of growth we are engaged with.

Full Moon in Cancer

Stonehenge by John Constable

After the Full Moon culminates and the Moon enters the waning half of its lunar cycle, we enter the mysterious matrix of eclipse season that brings a heightened experience of forms entering and passing away. There will be a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on January 5 followed by a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo on January 20. As Saturn in Capricorn is a foundational influence more so than normal in the next month, keep in mind the temporal nature of difficult emotions that could come up with our life not currently being in a desired condition. We are likely to feel the weight of responsibilities we have taken on and the ramifications of whatever we wish to initiate more fiercely than normal. By being mindful of the bigger picture and where we hope to be in the years ahead, ideally we can recenter in the present and figure out steps available to move toward the larger vision.

Not only is Saturn and Pluto co-present with the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, there is also an added factor that in the next year Pluto and Saturn will be coming together in close proximity with their own south nodes, meaning the south nodes of Saturn, Pluto, and the Moon will all be uniting with the coming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. There is an ancient arc of dominant societal influences being brought to collective attention, creating a tidal force from the collective unconscious to navigate. We can observe myriad signs in current events indicating the decay of global civilizations and underlying structures. Yet even beyond this we can sense the severe weight of collective history, of the havoc wreaked by world powers and their impact on our present state of being.

The silvery, luminescent light of the Cancer Full Moon will create space for compassion, compassion for both ourselves and others in the ways we have been conditioned overtly and covertly by societal forces. Through dialogue and listening, through feeling all the grief and emotions, we can begin to loosen the hold of history in order to not only decondition as needed, but also find strength in the traditions that bring healing. While difficult ancestral karma may come up, the emphasis on Saturn facilitates support and resources to be found in the old as well as the ancestral realm.

splendor solis sunset

from the Splendor Solis

In the pre-dawn darkness of solstice season we have a host of planetary allies heralding the coming rise of the Sun. Brightest and highest is Venus in her Morning Star role as light bringer, but we can also witness Mercury and Jupiter visible as Morning Stars before sunrise. In fact, Mercury is barely beginning to separate from Jupiter in Sagittarius at the time of the Cancer Full Moon, providing a spark to light inner fires of inspiration.  The union of Mercury and Jupiter helps bring to a close the retrograde transits concluding 2018: Venus has now moved beyond the degrees where she previously stationed retrograde, and while Mercury is still a few degrees away during the Cancer Full Moon its final union with Jupiter brings resolution.

Venus in Scorpio is currently in a supportive relationship with Mars in Pisces making it a great time to formulate plans and begin taking action toward whatever essential values you unearthed during the Venus retrograde transit of recent months. The trine between Venus with Neptune in Pisces is dreamy and restorative, perfect for luxuriating in pleasurable sensual experiences as well as for providing healing support in service to others in need. If you’ve been overwhelmed by stress from current events, it’s also a supportive transit for creatively active imaginal escape. Combined with the influence of Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius, it’s a potent time for finding words and forms to manifest and make real images and ideas that have been brewing within.

Whether or not you celebrate any of the religious holidays associated with this solstice season, the astrological transits and timing make it an ideal time to gather with those you love and who support you. We have finally reached a stage that will facilitate looking back toward the dramatic changes brought by the year 2018 that involved an intense sequence of Mars retrograde, eclipses, Venus retrograde, and a trio of fiery Mercury retrograde transits deeply connected to all of the former.  In the fire kindled by Mercury and Jupiter, within the watery flow between Venus, Neptune, and the Moon, listen within to whatever you want to voice and enact in the light of the Full Moon. It may be hard to understand the reasons for all of the changes that have come, but we can now feel more clearly where the changes are taking us. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “Past upon past has been planted in you, / in order out of you, like a garden, to rise.”

 

Full Moon in Cancer

Hekate and the Three Graces (1st – 2nd Century CE)

Around the hollow of her right flank a great stream of the primordially-generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.

In the left flank of Hekate exists the source of virtue, which remains entirely within and does not give up its virginity.

The Chaldean Oracles translated by Ruth Majercik, fragments 51 & 52

Full Moon in Cancer

The Full Moon on December 29 is in the watery sign of Cancer, the home of the Moon where its potency for nurturing restoration and drawing sustenance from memories and dreams can be expressed directly and fully. Ever since 2018 the Full Moon in Cancer each year has had to share its watery domicile with its North Node as well as forming an opposition with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, creating greater volatility and a harder edge to our lunar experience. In fact, we entered 2020 with a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 that set off the conjunction that formed between Saturn and Pluto a few days later on January 12. While the Cancer full moons and eclipses of the past three years have been helpful for drawing our attention to issues in need of tending, the Cancer lunation at the end of 2020 will deliver a purer dose of lunar medicine to imbibe. The silvery soulfulness pouring down from the Cancer Full Moon will be able to find its way to the parts of yourself in need of its nurturance, the more so that space is made to receive it and discover where it leads you.

The Full Moon in Cancer will peak as we prepare to cross the divide of calendar years into 2021. While the end of the year typically feels like a threshold experience, there will be an amplified sense of being at a collective crossroads due to the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on the solstice. The Cancer Full Moon will serve as a beacon of light not unlike the torch traditionally carried by Hekate, illuminating our feelings about what we are ready to release from the past year and what we are hopeful will emerge in the year ahead. We will need to draw from the perspective of the two-faced, threshold guardian Janus that can simultaneously reflect backwards while looking forward, as we need to honor the freshness of being at the beginning. The Cancer Full Moon will illuminate our arrival at the beginning of a new chapter in world history that has opened in correspondence with the new cycle set into motion by Jupiter and Saturn.

The Cancer Full Moon is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward an opposition with Mercury in Capricorn and a trine with Neptune in Pisces. The Moon’s opposition with Mercury will be mentally activating, while its movement from the sextile with Uranus into the trine with Neptune will activate the nonlinear realm of memories, emotions, and somatic material that often impacts us without our conscious awareness. Doubling down on the lunation making a potent subconscious impact is that in addition to immediately separating from a sextile with Uranus, the Cancer Full Moon is also separating from a catalytic square aspect with Chiron in Aries that will help to dislodge material that has been frozen in the psyche or held in the body so that it may become processed and released. The opposition between the Full Moon and Mercury may feel overwhelming if life events are creating excessive busyness and mental stimulation, and so if this is the case find ways to calm and soothe nerves. Otherwise the tension between the Moon and Mercury can be utilized in divination, journaling, artistic expression, or any other medium that can draw on the lunar activation by Uranus and Neptune to provide insight into important aspects of your inner parts and purposes that are ready to emerge in the new year and new era we are entering.

The Cancer Moon will form an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn on December 31 and then will form oppositions with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius and a square with Uranus in Taurus after entering Leo later in the day. In the wider context of the astrology of 2021, it’s fascinating that the Moon will move from an opposition with Pluto into hard aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus as the new year begins. As a result, the Moon’s movement will connect us with the fact that on a larger scale we are leaving a period of time dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto into a year that will be dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. The deep contractions and heavy gravity of years influenced by Pluto will now be erupting with the propulsive and shattering force of Uranus that can be erratic, unpredictable, emancipatory, and inventive all at the same time.  Uranus can be a positive influence when connecting us with whatever makes us feel authentically passionate and inspired, and so the Cancer Full Moon can aid in shedding the dead weight of the past so as to feel lighter and more freely capable of aligning with the exciting opportunities that can emerge in the new year.

fountain from hypnerotomachia poliphili

from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Venus in Sagittarius is making important aspects to consider during the Cancer Full Moon, including forming a conjunction with the South Node of Sagittarius that it will complete on December 30 with the mean node and on December 31 with the true node. Venus moving across the Sagittarius South Node will focus attention on material that was seeded at the Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14, with issues that were previously hidden becoming unveiled. With Venus tending to the release valve of the Moon’s nodes, the full light of the lunation pouring down upon us will bring realizations mediated by Venus in Sagittarius such as anyway we have been relating from dogmatic values, righteously believing we know the truth or crusading to convert others to our own viewpoint. Positively, Venus in Sagittarius can help in rooting our relating through awareness of not only the ways we are interacting with other humans but also in the ways we are interacting within the vaster field of animals, land, ancestors and other living spirits. As we leave the era of earth to enter the era of air, Venus in Sagittarius can help in revealing how it’s not only our relationships with other human beings that will need greater care and attention, but that our innumerable relationships within the vast realm of Nature above and below will also need greater focus and cultivation.

The lessons Venus can teach from its proximity with Ketu, the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, involve many themes covered by Jason Holley recently in a webinar entitled Sagittarius in Myth and Psyche. Holley focused on the tendency in today’s astrological world to project upon the nomadic consciousness of Sagittarius from the settler consciousness of the colonial cultures we live within. Some of the aspects of Sagittarius discussed by Holley led me to consider how they connect with our collective movement into the era of air, and in these ways it makes sense that Venus combined with Ketu in Sagittarius can help us cut through what is in the way of us becoming more spatially mobile, fluid in our roles, flexible in our social organizations, and capable of grounding in movement while retaining a differentiated perceptual field capable of restructuring interpretation and analysis as needed. Holley described the orientation of Sagittarius as carrying “an ancient memory that one is partly here to shepherd the souls of others and oneself- to free them from limitations.” This is a worthy lesson to remember from Venus as the star of Aphrodite journeys across the South Node of the Moon as we journey into 2021.

However, Venus is not only applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, but also to an imaginatively activating square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that it will complete on December 30. The square between Venus and Neptune will constellate fantastical images and enticing visions, but we will need to be wary of being led astray into dangerous tidal forces. As Venus is now forming a waning square aspect with Neptune, it may bring back important insights, memories, or relationships connected with the long series of waxing square aspects Venus formed with Neptune due to Venus shifting retrograde in Gemini in May 2020 (May 12, May 20, and July 27 were the three exact aspects). Although Venus has not garnered as much attention as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in the astrological world during the past year, it has been a major factor in reshaping our relationships and relational needs during 2020. The pivotal sequence of hard aspects formed between Venus and Neptune have been opening our awareness to previously unseen needs, desires, and values during a year in which severe social distancing restrictions around the world have limited physical contact.

The waning square from Venus to Neptune is additionally bringing focus to the fact that Neptune is presently residing at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with both the North and South Nodes of the Moon that it will eventually complete on January 26. With so many people locked into polarized conflicts and perceiving things from completely different perspectives regarding reality, the disorientation stirred up by Venus with Neptune can potentially lead to even more widespread delusion that will make it even more difficult to resolve differences and mediate resolution. It’s been noted by many that the deluge of conspiracy theories circulating coincides with the fact so many people have felt anxious and alienated due to the global pandemic, and mistrustful of those in authority. It also seems fitting that the disorder being brought to consensus reality is coinciding with the great reordering of structural realities that will ripple out from the great astrological cycles beginning now. The collective volatility will not be ending anytime soon, and so it will be up to each of us to figure out how to hold the tension of our differences in viewpoints when relating with others. The square from Venus and the South Node of the Moon to Neptune in Pisces can help us deepen into understanding the troubled history of our world and the ways in which the ripples from systemic oppression across time are playing into our present relational difficulties.

Musashi Plain moon, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon (1891) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

After peaking in light at the full moon, the Moon in Cancer will move through an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn into a cathartic square aspect with Mars in Aries on December 31. The tensions unleashed between the Moon with Pluto and Mars on the final day of 2020 further shows how it’s a time of releasing the trials and tribulations of the past year, while also needing to recognize that the impact of the troubles that were exposed all around global societies in the past year will not be going away and will need our continued attention in the future years to come. Rather than develop illusory hopes that the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that has arrived at the end of the year is ushering us into a new era free from the suffering of the past, we instead need to utilize it like a lighthouse helping us navigate through the turbulent storms that will be coming in 2021 so that we may find our way to a stabilizing shore or harbor.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Mars will enter Taurus on January 6 and immediately incite the explosive tensions building between Uranus in Taurus with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Mars will not form its exact square aspects with Saturn and Jupiter and its conjunction with Uranus until after the upcoming Capricorn New Moon on January 12, but we will begin sensing a notable increase in disruptive influences and social unrest as the present lunar cycle comes to a close. On personal levels, the friction stirred up between Mars and Uranus with Saturn and Jupiter will dislodge whatever has been stuck, creating rapid change in some cases. It will be much better to find your way into the flow of the changing currents rather than attempting to hang on at all costs to the way things have been in the past.

cups02

Cancer 1 Decan

The Full Moon will rise in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find two lovers coming together with equal passion, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire. Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus and the Moon. Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, nor the Moon only about the enclosure of their fertile love in the palace of Eros. The Cancer Full Moon can thus connect us with the Eros of care, love, and fellowship that weaves community together when focused upon a common purpose that brings practical help and resources to those in need. It can also reveal those in our relational field who we can form mutually supportive dynamics with. As we are entering an extended period of collective volatility, we will need to be actively co-creating community that can flexibly mutate in accordance with the changing societal dynamics.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners.” Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, and that the “face’s magical virtue is to establish mutually nurturing relationships.” With Venus applying to a square aspect with Neptune during the Full Moon, we may also gain realization for patterns that have led us into unhealthy enmeshment with others, as well as a more lucid sense of the needs we seek within all types of relationships we form with others.

In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, to the first face of Cancer. A daughter of the underworld river goddess Styx, Nike allied herself with Zeus in the war against the Titans, a mythic war resonant with the astrology of 2020 that has ended with a new order being constellated between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Nike served as the divine charioteer of Zeus in battle, while also rewarding victors of competition with the glory of wreathed laurel. In 36 Faces Austin Coppock connected the presence of Nike in the first face of Cancer with the ancient symbolic link between chariots and the body as the vehicle of the soul, symbolism also resonant with the connection in tarot between the VII Chariot arcanum and the zodiacal sign of Cancer. If we want to make a difference in 2021 and help to shape the world we wish to live in, we will need to take care of our body and mind so that we will have the strength and clarity necessary to be effective agents of change. Make time and space during the Cancer Full Moon and the following days to get all the rest and restoration you need. May the strength you cultivate now serve you in deepening into fulfilling your purpose and destiny in 2021.

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References

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

Majercik, Ruth. (2013). The Chaldean Oracles. The Prometheus Trust.