New Moon in Aries

Winged Goddess figurine, possibly Artemis Orthia (late 7th to 6th Century BC)

New Moon in Aries

Like the primordial Eros who emerges from dark-winged Night in Orphic cosmology, the potent light of celestial fire that erupts out of the abyss of darkness, the New Moon in Aries on April 11 is bursting with propulsive force. The New Moon in Aries is loaded: it is applying closely to creatively activating sextile aspects with Mars in Gemini and Jupiter in Aquarius as well as intensifying aspects with Venus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  Whether you are experiencing the excitement of new beginnings or the grief of having to let go through loss, the sweep of the New Moon can penetrate into the passion that has been laying dormant within, awaiting revival and vivification. Just like the absolute boldness of Artemis and the directness of her aim, there is an enlivening spirit within the New Moon that can guide the way forward like the purity of a flame piercing through mists of obsfucation. 

The New Moon in Aries is the second lunation in a row to amplify the new cycle of Venus that began on March 25, as the recent Full Moon in Libra formed an opposition with Venus. Since the New Moon is applying to a conjunction with Venus at the same time that Venus is applying to an exact square aspect with Pluto, it will be necessary to express and relate with whatever emotional material has been stirred up in the past month. Venus combined with the New Moon is catalyzing growth out of the fecund soil and dark depths of Pluto, the place of so much decomposition in the past couple of years when Pluto was joined by Saturn, Jupiter, and the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Part of the strife and shattering of what has been stable in the past couple of years has also been associated with the square aspect between the dwarf planet Eris in Aries with Pluto; whatever influence Eris has been wielding will also be energized as the New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with Eris, further amplifying the activating thrust of the lunation to make change and break out of old patterns. 

Venus is galloping like a wild horse across the final decan of Aries where she has greater agency to influence and make an impact (due to being the decanic ruler of the final ten degrees of Aries), yet she is still not at full strength due to being invisible under the beams of the exalted Sun in Aries. Venus is full of the enlivening spirt and life force she has received from her recent embrace with the Sun, excitedly rushing toward her stable, fertile home of Taurus which she will reach on April 14. Once Venus is home again in Taurus she will be able to better ground and harmonize with the inner promptings of passion, new desires and creative inspiration she has received during her recent time of racing across the fiery sign of Aries. Yet there is a strangely eccentric, inventive guest full of revolutionary ideas awaiting Venus in her domicile: Uranus.

Once Venus reaches Taurus it also means she will begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, bringing her into the heart of the square between Uranus and Saturn that has been impelling breakthroughs, breakdowns, and a release of the way things have been. Unlike in February when Venus was on the side of Saturn, her upcoming union with Uranus will be more animating and electrifying with regards to the new directions and desires Venus is presently incubating. Venus will form a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus on April 22, followed by forming a tense square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on April 24 only two days before the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26. The Scorpio Full Moon promises to be an especially emotional and cathartic lunation, and so we will be well served by coming to terms with how our emotions and underlying values become reshaped by Venus entering into the volatility of the square between Uranus and Saturn. 

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, it will be important to remember the sequence of aspects Venus will make: Venus will first be incited by the emancipatory influence of Uranus to create change sourced from the burgeoning new desires of Venus, followed by immediately meeting the boundaries, restrictions, and harsh reality of Saturn which will limit the full extent of what may be felt within. Compromises will be necessary so that the inspiration emanating from Venus and Uranus can be grounded and integrated into the reality of one’s present circumstances. Through relating with Saturn and taking responsibility for wherever we need to claim our authority and be accountable, we will be more effective in creating the change we wish to have happen as well as facilitate shedding, molting,  and growth within the systems and structures governed by Saturn. 

Artemis holding a cornucopia and phiale (3rd Century BC)

Mars in Gemini is receiving the New Moon into its fiery home through a harmonizing sextile aspect while also applying to a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius.  Mars has spent recent weeks engaging in aspects bringing about confusion at the same time they have opened new avenues for desires and drive: first Mars passed through a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon at the end of March around the Full Moon in Libra, followed by Mars applying toward a disorienting square aspect with Neptune that it finally completed on April 9. Considering that Mars has also been out of bounds during this period, there may have been new sources of inspiration to pursue entering your awareness making you ready to leap before having a place to land. With Jupiter overcoming Mars through a trine aspect, we will have opportunities for greater coherence and meaning-making with whatever new passions and creative stimulation has been felt within.

Mars will complete its exact trine aspect with Jupiter on April 16 and will remain under the beneficial influence of the star of Zeus until Mars enters Cancer on April 23. Mars in Gemini can shoot off in many directions at once, getting numerous projects and relationships in motion simultaneously. While Mars in Gemini is mentally active, intellectually curious, and capable of discovering and pioneering inventive pathways that have been overlooked by others, it’s driving force can become dissipated and dispersed by having its attention spread too thin across too many interests. The stabilizing trine aspect from Jupiter in Aquarius can be a great aid in bringing a centered focus to projects while remaining open to being flexible and experimental. It can be an opportune period for conducting thought provoking and groundbreaking research that can be deftly integrated into any medium of communication or creative expression.

Venus Wounded in the Hand Conducted by Iris to Mars (1805) engraved by Tommaso Piroli after John Flaxman

Providing a searing boost to the interplay between Mars and Jupiter will be the blazing motion of Mercury in Aries. Mercury is moving at its fastest speed heading toward a conjunction with the Sun it will complete on April 18 at 29º14′ Aries; while it has swift motion capable of making myriad connections and gathering many ideas, Mercury is also in a solar phase in which it is burning off dross and excess to get to the heart of the matter. As Mercury ends and begins a new cycle with the Sun on April 18, there will be opportunities to gain clarity and glean insight from anything we have been researching, developing, or experimenting with. 

In the week following the New Moon there will be a potent mutual reception taking place between Mercury in Aries with Mars in Gemini that will become exact on April 17 through a harmonizing sextile aspect. In addition, Mercury will be forming a collaborative sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius that will become exact on the same day. Altogether these aspects are ideal for writing projects but can also be effective in any realm of work involving design, craftwork, and vision. Due to Mercury moving fast under the beams of the Sun, however, it may be necessary to find ways to ground so that your mind does not become excessively heated and stimulated. 

While Venus is presently moving fast, Mercury is moving even faster. Mercury will catch up to Venus as the Moon is waxing toward fullness, entering Taurus on April 19 and forming a conjunction with Venus on April 25 a day before the Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26. This also means that Mercury will be moving through its aspects with Mars, Jupiter, and the Sun into the catalytic cacophony of the square aspect between Uranus and Saturn. Mercury will form a conjunction with Uranus on April 23 followed by a square aspect with Saturn on April 25, the same day that Mercury will later form a conjunction with Venus.

Mercury uniting with Venus and Uranus may increase the volatility occurring from the tension with Saturn, yet at the same time can create the impetus needed to set the next stage of storylines in motion. It can also be a creatively fertile time within personal projects, collaborations with others, and stimulating conversations that lead to important new ideas. If you have been feeling disoriented by recent shifts in circumstances and old forms of security slipping away, this can also be a good time to get a better sense for how Uranus is disrupting previously stable aspects of your life so that you can access more authentic passion and creative expression.  

4 of Wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The New Moon in Aries is in the third decan of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. It’s not clear who the figures in the center of the image are, if they are performers being celebrated or celebrants participating in communal festivities. What is clear is the lovingly decorated garland filled with vivacious blossoms and the combined symbolism of a bridge and large castle in the background: the figures are in a centering and protective place from which to express their creativity and charisma. T Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the Four of Wands as a “temporary refuge” and “safe haven” similar to Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a moment to take comfort and refuge from whatever ordeals you have been enduring. Although Aries is the domicile of malefic Mars, the third decan of Aries is ruled by the two benefics, Venus and Jupiter. With Venus transiting through the third face of Aries and the New Moon applying to Venus, the meaning of the third decan of Aries will be amplified.

While Venus is not naturally comfortable in Aries, she is capable of manifesting success and achievement in the third face of Aries despite it being an environment suited for the fiery assertiveness of Mars and the radiant grandeur of the Sun. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries, attributing to it “the power of art to overcome hostility,” and “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions.” Coppock further noted this decan requires “the martial heat of the battlefield,” as it is the battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.” Yet Coppock also pointed out that the bonds formed within this face require its burning intensity to endure, whereas less intense passions are needed within longterm relationships. Thus it’s a face of “peak experiences” and “inspiring unions amidst life’s greatest struggles,” a place where “bonds are forged and spirits raised,” a decan which “grants the charisma to motivate and attract.”

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

Third decan of Aries image from Allegory of March: Triumph of Minerva (1476) by Francesco del Cossa

The image above by Francesco del Cossa of a figure who resides within the third face of Aries encapsulates aspects of numerous images found in ancient text. The trinity of Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Picatrix, and Liber Hermetis all reveal figures dressed in red and holding a staff or sword. This passionate figure is wearing either a golden or wooden bracelet depending on whether you consult Three Books of Occult Philosophy or the Picatrix, but both texts indicate the figure embodies the unrest of not being able to do desired good. The reason for not being able to manifest these good wishes is not stated, but Three Books proclaims there is “talent, tameness, joy, and beauty” to be found. The figure in the Picatrix is an iron worker and so has a medium through which to transfigure frustrated anger into works of vivifying creation.

In contrast, the figure in Liber Hermetis wears a gold crown with glistening emeralds decorating her belly. She is full of magic and her staff has the heads of four serpents facing a polarity of directions. Her garments of dark rose are lined with golden strings and she seems to possess the grace of the figure painted by Francesco del Cossa rather than the fury over constraints described by other texts. The focused countenance in del Cossa’s figure suggests they have an inner knowing of being able to make a targeted impact, as they seem to be summoning an inner force to project through the golden bracelet held delicately with their fingers. Francesco del Cossa placed an arrow in the other hand, evoking the mythic Eros or Cupid.

Eros is in fact resonant, as the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Eros to the third face of Aries. Indeed, the capacity of Eros to arouse passions into creations that inspire collective forces lies at the heart of the decan’s meaning. While some spiritual lineages place Eros as a primordial, hermaphroditic deity at the dawn of Creation, later traditions made Eros into the cunning son of Aphrodite who constantly stirred up the troubles brought forth by lust in both mortals and gods with his bow and arrows. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces stated it is more likely that the 36 Airs had the son of Venus in mind with the third face of Aries as “Eros’ escapades make clear that the desire for unification is inflamed by separation, love by war, lust by forbiddance.”

Another version of Eros is found in Plato’s Symposium, where Eros is portrayed as a great daimon and described by Socrates as the child born from the union of the divine forms of Poverty and Resource. To Socrates, Eros is always poor, always in a state of need, but is also always resourceful in being able to gain what it needs. Within the polarity between Poverty and Resource, the daimonic force of Eros weaves together awareness of the wisdom to be found through our earthly desires that lead us to experience Beauty and Love. If you have been experiencing loss or lack recently, allow the necessity of your circumstances to guide you into relationship with the eros and passionate purpose harbored by Venus and the New Moon uniting within darkness. 

“And yet life is transformation: all that is good is transformation and all that is bad as well. For this reason he is in the right who encounters everything as something that will not return. It does not matter whether he then forgets or remembers, as long as he had been fully present only for its duration and been the site, the atmosphere, the world for what happened, as long as it happened within him, in his center, whatever is good and what is bad – then he really has nothing else to fear because something else of renewed significance is always about to happen next. The possibility of intensifying things so that they reveal their essence depends so much on our participation. When things sense our avid interest, they pull themselves together without delay and are all that they can be, and in everything new the old is then whole, only different and vastly heightened.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters on Life (p. 21-22)

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!become_a_patron_button

References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2006). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics. 

 

Libra New Moon: Deepening of Venus Retrograde

autumn thoughts arnold bocklin

Autumn Thoughts by Arnold Bocklin

Libra New Moon

The Libra New Moon on October 8 brings us into the deepening of Fall in the northern hemisphere as the days darken and multicolored leaves descend from branches, and seeds buried under the earth pulsate with the promise of new life. The New Moon is in the home of Venus, and also takes us into an intensification of the forty day Venus retrograde period which began on October 5. There is a Plutonic quality to the lunation, as the New Moon is applying to a catalytic square with Pluto in Capricorn. Initiatory, death bringing, regenerative themes of Pluto have been strong in the week before the New Moon as Pluto stationed direct on September 30 and now begins to slowly crawl forward on course to eventually enter new zodiacal terrain. As Venus stationed retrograde on October 5 less than a week after Pluto, it is as if Pluto cleared a path underground for Venus to dig into during her retrograde through Scorpio.

Since Venus retrograde in Scorpio rules the Libra New Moon, and Venus retrograde is also being received by Mars in Aquarius in a change inducing square aspect, the New Moon in Libra is a calling to re-center within whatever changes and strong feelings have been triggered in the past week with the stationing of Venus. Venus retrograde has a different way of working towards Venusian themes of harmony, value, and attraction than when Venus is direct. One way to think about the difference is that Venus becomes more intolerant of whatever is oppressive or working against harmony rather than being accepting or attempting to mediate compromise. Especially with Venus retrograde in the fixed, deep waters of Scorpio, previously hidden or denied emotions and issues within relationships will rise to the surface and demand awareness and renegotiation. The Libra quality of the New Moon can hopefully help with listening within as well as to others so we may begin to rebalance and shift in whatever way needed.

There is also a shedding of Venus that occurs, a process that will become more intense in a couple of weeks as Venus begins to approach its conjunction with the Sun on October 26 and experiences a purifying burning away of accumulated material. Since Venus is retrograde in the home of Mars, and Venus is applying to a square aspect with Mars in Aquarius, the shedding process at the New Moon becomes accelerated and in the week following the New Moon it will become obvious whatever issues are being brought to the surface in correspondence with Venus retrograde. We can set intentions at the New Moon, but due to the square between Mars and Venus we will also be forced to deal with and respond to circumstances and themes that will be deepening in meaning as the Venus retrograde process develops through the next month.

Notably, Mars in Aquarius has finally returned to the degree it previously stationed retrograde at the end of June, and so just as it has now completed its own retrograde journey it is simultaneously an integral part of the initiation of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. The airy quality of Mars in Aquarius that is capable of detaching at times from feelings in order to catalyze needed growth can be helpful in grasping a larger vision of the bigger picture within which we are feeling difficult emotions in the moment. The deep emotions of Venus retrograde in Scorpio can be overwhelming, yet ultimately regenerative through bringing forth a cleansing purge. In the wake of what we release, the visionary capacity of Mars in Aquarius can help us push forward into new areas of growth and development.

Persephone_Opens_Liknon_Mystikon

Persephone opening the Liknon Mystikon, found in the shrine of Persephone at Locri

Persephone

Venus retrograde has a tradition of being associated with an underworld journey for the Star of Aphrodite, and with Pluto having stationed in the same week as Venus, it brings to mind the story of Persephone who was pulled into the underworld by Hades in order to become a Queen mediating between realms of the living and dead. Moreover, the Sun in Libra was conjoining Ceres at the time Venus stationed retrograde, and Ceres in Libra is also conjoining the Libra New Moon. All of these aspects connect with the Persephone myth, including the fact that Mercury is at the final degree of Libra at the New Moon on the threshold of entering Scorpio and uniting with Venus retrograde in the following week (Hermes was sent by Zeus to bring Persephone back to her mother Demeter aka Ceres). Moreover, the Persephone asteroid #399 is exactly conjoining Venus retrograde in Scorpio at the time of the New Moon and was applying to a close conjunction with Venus at the time Venus stationed a few days before the lunation.

Tim Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul analyzed that while Persephone’s name can be translated as “death bringer,” and she does indeed step into the role of ruling over the realm of the dead, she equally signifies our incarnation of being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death. Addey focused upon the 6th century Platonic philosopher Damascius who linked Persephone with the soul’s descent into generation, interpreting how Persephone is drawn toward the narcissus flower, a bloom whose name has mythic associations with the soul falling in love with its reflection in matter. Her innocent, purely spiritual state is shattered by her violent pull into the underworld of death, yet ultimately on the other side Persephone discovers a powerful underworld role of mediation and rulership to embody. We all must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, and with Venus retrograde in Scorpio will be feeling things intensely, yet on the other side of Venus retrograde we may discover newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

“Persephone has reached out with both hands…committed to the embrace of the wondrous flower. This…is the key to the true artist, who seeks to manifest the infinite beauty of spirit in finite matter . . . Most human beings have arrived at some kind of stasis in their relationship with the world which could, and often does for awhile, pacify the deep-seated urge to rediscover their spiritual nature. To start out on the mystical path of initiation is to put at risk our mundane contentment for the sake of something unknown, and possibly frightening.”

— Tim Addey, Seven Myths of the Soul

The New Moon in Libra conjoining Ceres also draws attention to the immense grief and trauma experienced by the Earth Mother in losing her daughter to the invisible underworld, and Ceres in Libra will be continuing to play a pivotal role in the enfoldment of Venus retrograde. Ceres in part symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization.

Ultimately after securing the return of her daughter for part of the year, Ceres brought the gifts of corn and the mystery rites to humanity. Though she endured traumatic wounds she would have to continue to bear and nurture, Ceres managed to bring a source of physical nourishment and profound spiritual understanding to the greater collective. The Libra New Moon conjoining Ceres similarly signals a month of needing to nurture past wounds, hurts, and vulnerabilities, while at the same time reaching out to others in need with warmth, support, and heartfelt action. There are numerous astrological transits coming at the end of October through November signifying immense change that could dramatically change current narratives, beginning with the coming Full Moon in Taurus on October 24.

Eros_Hermes_And_Aphrodite

Pinax of Eros, Aphrodite, and Hermes found in shrine of Persephone at Locri

Mercury is co-present with the lunation at the final degree of Libra and then enters Scorpio the next day on October 9, with the newly waxing Moon joining Mercury later the same night.  The Moon and Mercury upon entering Scorpio immediately begin applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, while also becoming co-present in the sign of the Scorpion along with Jupiter and Venus retrograde. Simultaneously the Moon and Mercury begin moving toward a catalytic square aspect received by Mars in Aquarius. Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Sun these days and in Scorpio is able to penetrate and investigate previously hidden areas. The opposition between Venus retrograde in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus is the dominant astrological theme of October, and so the contact between Mercury and Uranus can help us adjust to whatever is beginning to come into our life in correspondence. With Uranus involved not only can this be something unexpected, but something that changes everything quickly.

A week after the Libra New Moon around October 15, Mercury in Scorpio will unite with Venus retrograde and further deepen our perception into whatever is brewing and arising from underworld realms. This union between Mercury and Venus retrograde is particularly notable because it happens just after Mercury has ascended again into visibility as an Evening Star, and just as Venus is descending into no longer being visible as an Evening Star. During Venus retrograde periods we always experience Venus descending from being an Evening Star into an invisible underworld phase that ultimately leads into it arising again as a visible Morning Star heralding dawn.  As a result Mercury is playing an instrumental role in transitioning us into this more secretive, subconscious, underworld period of the Venus retrograde transit.

Furthermore, as the Moon waxes toward fullness in the next couple of weeks Mercury will also be moving toward an eventual union with Jupiter in Scorpio that will occur just after the Full Moon in Taurus on October 24 and the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on October 26.  The co-presence of Jupiter in Scorpio with Mercury and Venus retrograde isn’t going to make things easier or more pleasant, but it does signify a greater potential for wisdom and growth to be harvested from the corresponding experiences. These are the final lessons for us to learn from the time of Jupiter in Scorpio that began 10 October 2017.

swords03

3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Libra associated with the Three of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us. The piercing of the heart by swords is also resonant with the current Venus retrograde occurring in Scorpio, the nocturnal home of Mars, with Venus also applying to a hard aspect with Mars at the time of the New Moon.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements.  Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to commitments within relationships as well as to oneself is vital to bear in mind as we deepen into the transit of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. Venus retrograde periods can coincide with new attractions and desires for change within relationship, or feelings of needing to change the balance of a relational dynamic. The influence of the second decan of Libra focuses attention on the importance of taking responsibility for clear communication and acting from integrity so as not to destroy the bonds of current relationships should desire for change occur.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the second face of Libra, a curious repetition as it also connected Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was portrayed as moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect. In modern culture the term kairos refers to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. While its comforting to believe we can always use our free will to create the reality we wish to live within, it usually takes an opportune moment of kairos arising that we may then seize to make the desired change. The next two months are full of change inducing astrological transits, and while difficult feelings may emerge in correspondence, so may opportunities arise to fundamentally alter our life. It will be a deep sea change, so keep an eye alert for favorable winds to catch sail with.

References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

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