Pisces New Moon
The New Moon in Pisces on 20 February signals a shift from the airy abstractions of Aquarius into the dissolving waters and imaginal potency of Pisces. Not only does the New Moon at 1°22’ Pisces amplify the watery regeneration of the Sun moving from Aquarius into Pisces, but it also heralds the movement of Saturn from Aquarius into Pisces that will take place on 7 March during the forthcoming lunar cycle. While Saturn leaving its domicile of Aquarius to enter Pisces will mark a pivotal turning point in personal and world events, the liminal quality of the Pisces New Moon is even further magnified by the fact that Pluto will be passing over the final degree of Capricorn during the coming lunar cycle. Pisces is the mutable water sign that marks the end and beginning of seasons, and so the New Moon in Pisces is well suited to usher us across a major month of transitions that will involve Saturn leaving Aquarius to enter Pisces for the first time since 1993, and Pluto leaving Capricorn to enter Aquarius on 23 March for the first time since 1777. The darkness of the Pisces New Moon invites descent into realms of feeling and intuition, allowing self-created obstructions to dissolve within inner tide pools so that new creative solutions can begin to take shape.
The New Moon in Pisces is applying to a conjunction with the projected degree of the fixed star Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish (Piscis Austrinus) who drinks from the celestial water poured by the Aquarius constellation. Although not the same constellation as the Pisces constellation of two fish bound together, some ancient star-lore viewed the Southern Fish as the mother of the two fish who form the image of Pisces. Similar to Pisces, Fomalhaut as the mouth of the fish has significations for aquatic life and the life giving nature of the oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams essential for our survival. Combined with the hard lessons that Saturn will bring to Pisces, the New Moon in Pisces will deepen awareness for corruption of water in current events, including the many stories connected with droughts, diseases, and toxic pollution that have been intensifying in concern recently such as the explosion of hazardous chemicals caused by the recent train wreck in east Ohio in the United States.
Yet during a time of collective uncertainty that has the potential to increase fear of the future, the Pisces New Moon aligning with Fomalhaut also contains a magical antidote from the realm of dream and imagination. Fomalhaut has long been considered to be one of the four royal stars that serve as guardians of the sky and hold tremendous power for both good and ill (along with Regulus, Aldebaran, and Antares). Amongst the royal stars, Fomalhaut is the most magical and otherworldly, the most powerful in terms of enhancing capacity for moving between dreaming and waking reality to give birth to new forms of vision, imagination, and hope for the future. Ptolemy connected Fomalhaut with Venus and Mercury, fitting its nature as a poetic, visionary, and mystical star. Bernadette Brady has described Fomalhaut as possessing the “nature of enchantment, wherein one accomplishes things through a deep natural understanding of the nature of relationship, rather than the use of will power.”
Bernadette Brady additionally wrote that Fomalhaut is not only associated with “charisma . . . beauty or perfect harmony,” but also “high ideals or lofty visions” that force individuals under its influence “to clash with mainstream thought in order to achieve these ideals.” Brady further noted that the gift of charisma brought by Fomalhaut is also its nemesis, as Fomalhaut can bring a downfall of fortune “if the ideals or dreams are corrupt in any way.” As a result, it will be important to explore the shadow side of dreams within the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, exploring the ways in which the manifestation of visions will impact the wider web of relationships in the world. It will also be imperative to resist fear and the obstruction of uncertainty, instead discovering sustenance and support through your inner capacity to re-dream the way forward. Practices of active imagination can have heightened capacity for revealing new paths of discovery that have been previously hidden from awareness, using methods that bridge the essential creativity of the unconscious with conscious awareness.
While the Pisces New Moon will take place in the first two degrees of Pisces, Venus will be in the final degree of Pisces when the Sun and Moon form their rejuvenating conjunction. Venus in her exaltation of Pisces has further connection with Fomalhaut, as many strands of mythology have linked the starry mouth of the Southern Fish with great goddesses from Syria such as Atargatis and Derceto. In one version documented by Eratosthenes, a Greek polymath from the third century B.C. who was chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria, the Southern Fish rescued the Syrian goddess Derceto after she fell into a lake. In another version, Derceto flung herself into a lake after falling in love with a beautiful mortal who she gave birth to a daughter with, surviving by changing into the form of a fish with a human head. Another version has the Southern Fish rescuing Isis, the great Egyptian goddess.
Gavin White in his book on ancient Babylonian star-lore wrote that “The Fish” containing Fomalhaut was considered to be sacred to the water god Enki who dwells in the watery Abyss beneath the earth. White wrote that since the Southern Fish would have previously been a marker of the Winter Solstice period, the Greek star-lore portraying the Fish as a protector of the Syrian goddess Derceto has similar symbolism to stories of the Pisces constellation in which two fish rescue a golden egg in the Euphrates river which they roll onto dry land where a dove then sits on top of the egg to hatch the Syrian goddess. White wrote that since these are constellations associated with the time between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, they portray “the fish as benevolent creatures of the watery depths, which rescued the stricken sun from the waters of darkness and guided it back to safety” and “its ascending path that leads towards the springtime.”
These mythic links between Fomalhaut with protection of the life-giving Sun and goddesses symbolize its strength for protecting our inner capacity for imagining and manifesting our creative potential. The 1st Century A.D. Roman poet and astrologer Manilius described the Southern Fish in association with diving into hidden depths to gather pearls. Yet Manilius further emphasized that “the diver who has plunged into the depths becomes, like the booty, the object of recovery.” As we come to the end of Pluto’s first pass through Capricorn, after dealing with five years of Saturn occupying its homes of Capricorn and Aquarius, we’ve all become more acutely aware of the toxic, oppressive aspects of societal power structures and the difficulty in effecting change and holding those in power accountable for reform and reparation. Fomalhaut’s presence with the Pisces New Moon is an invitation to seek answers from within the realm of dreams and imagination, utilizing fantasy as an inner respite from external stressors rather than as a distracting disconnection from reality. The New Moon in Pisces will offer opportunities for discovering solutions from internal sources of imaginal insight and within relational exchanges with the living enchantment of the world.
Jupiter in Aries rules the Pisces New Moon while applying toward a conjunction with Chiron that will become exact on 12 March during the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle. While Jupiter in Aries can supply an underlying boldness of fiery assertion in pursuing larger goals and visions, its proximity with Chiron will put us into deeper touch with any past wounds and issues of identity and alienation that are reemerging to be faced again within current developments. As a result, the lunar cycle flowing forth from the New Moon in Pisces will bring opportunities for integrating parts of ourselves that have become wayward, repressed, or denied. While we often cast away parts of ourselves for protective reasons, the coherence of Jupiter and Chiron will create opportunities to foster a stronger sense of self value and inner security that can ultimately help us in achieving our most prioritized goals in the future. There is an excellent article written by Brian Clark about the Jupiter-Chiron cycle and their conjunction you can read here. Amongst many other themes, Brian Clark deduced that the start of a new cycle between Jupiter and Chiron in 2023 will highlight mundane issues centered around educational changes, medicinal wisdom, indigenous reconciliation, refuge for the displaced, and natural and psychic wilderness.
Mercury in Aquarius will weave connections between Jupiter and Chiron more closely together, as Mercury will be separating from a collaborative sextile with Jupiter in Aries while applying to a sextile with Chiron in Aries. Mercury in Aquarius is incredibly active during the lunation, as it will also be applying toward a catalytic square with Uranus in Taurus and a flowing trine with Mars in Gemini. Mercury is moving fast as a morning star and in strong position to translate and transmit informational exchanges amongst Jupiter, Chiron, Uranus, and Mars. While the square between Mercury and Uranus that will become exact on 21 February could bring jarring, unexpected news or twists in storylines, within the bigger picture the harmonious trine between Mercury and Mars will bring a helpful boost of clarity regarding whatever plans of action we have been developing and implementing. As the trine between Mercury and Mars becomes exact on 22 February, listen for insights being revealed about how to adjust plans, modulate your use of energy, and reframe your relationship with the larger goals in life you have been focusing on achieving.
The aspects Mercury will pass through following the Pisces New Moon can facilitate important dialogue within your relationships in order to gain insight for the changing nature of desires and needs for both individuals. Mercury clashing with Uranus may lead to impulsive thoughts of freedom and rebelling against restrictions, yet Mercury in Aquarius can listen with the degree of detachment needed to step back from emotional engulfment in order to discern the most beneficial path forward for everyone involved. Mercury in Aquarius is also in a strong position for brainstorming new ideas and innovative solutions, taking account of a multitude of competing factors, and bringing discerning analysis to any difficulties in need of being worked out. After Mercury forms its flowing trine with Mars on 22 February it will apply toward a sobering and grounding conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius that will become exact on 2 March. With Saturn at the final degree of Aquarius and on the precipice of entering Pisces, the union between Mercury with Saturn will help in letting go of what needs to be released, cutting away excesses and distractions, and realizing the central heart of issues that need to be focused on. Thus while there is a dreamy quality to the Pisces New Moon, the many important aspects that Mercury will make during the waxing half of the lunar cycle can lead to the formation of practical strategies, insights into problem solving, and effective adjustments to longterm plans so that there is greater alignment between your authentic desires and your use of time and energy.
Venus will be at the final degree of Pisces when the Sun and Moon unite on 20 February. The star of Aphrodite will then exit her exaltation of Pisces in order to enter her inversion of Aries less than an hour after the lunation. The shift of Venus from Pisces to Aries brings a loss of essential dignity to Venus that could correlate with a need to let go of expectations in order to adjust to changing circumstances. Yet there is an important mediating factor at play when Venus enters Aries: the presence of Jupiter. Once Venus enters Aries she will begin applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter that will become exact on 2 March, the same day that Mercury will also form a conjunction with Saturn. Venus will stoke the flames of passion and inspiration while building toward her union with Jupiter, supplying a wave of uplifting support for goals and ambition. With Mercury conjoining Saturn in Aquarius on the same day, the grandiose plans of Venus and Jupiter will be tempered by a pragmatic grounding energy, which will necessitate being realistic with goals. The following day on 3 March, Venus will move into a conjunction with Chiron in Aries that will deepen awareness of any internal issues intersecting with your capacity to claim greater personal agency.
In addition, during the waxing half of the lunar cycle Mars in Gemini will move increasingly closer to forming a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Mars will not form an exact square aspect with Neptune until 14 March which will link to the timing of the last quarter phase of the lunar cycle. However, at the upcoming Full Moon in Virgo on 7 March, Mars will be within three degrees of a square with Neptune giving the clash between Mars and Neptune a powerful influence within the upcoming Virgo Full Moon. The square between Mars and Neptune is significant for many reasons, chiefly due to the fact that it was a major aspect embedded within the early stages of the Mars retrograde period last October and November. Mars previously formed a square aspect with Neptune on 12 October when direct and again on 19 November when retrograde, and so there may be issues re-emerging from last October and November to be worked out and resolved.
During the waxing half of the lunar cycle Mars will move within an orb of influence with Neptune on 24 February with their tension continuing to build with intensity as the Moon waxes toward fullness. Mars and Neptune are commonly viewed in astrology as difficult archetypal forces to bring together in combination, as the boundless and unifying imaginal force of Neptune brings obscuring fog to the focusing of Mars. Neptune can make it trickier for Mars to cut through options into focalized action in some cases, over inflating the hubris of Mars in other cases through dogmatic perspectives and self-righteous actions. Yet we can utilize the friction between Mars and Neptune to cut through the places we have deluded ourselves, allowing our experiences to reveal insights that can bring about a reorientation to our reality. Those experiencing a dissolution of longstanding beliefs will likely need to pass through a disorienting phase of fluidity before being able to gain clarity. With new storylines ready to leap into effect in the month ahead due to Saturn and Pluto changing signs, the square between Mars and Neptune will reveal ways in which the flux of change is showing up within both personal and collective events.
Pisces 1 Decan
The Pisces New Moon will activate the first decan of Pisces associated with the Eight of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image contains a figure retreating into a watery, island realm of caves and seclusion ideal for contemplation. With their staff planted in the earth, the red cape and boots of the figure symbolize the inner vitality they may utilize in discerning deeper understanding for their reality. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that the Eight of Cups teaches us how to face our fears of the unknown, bringing “realization in the realm of emotions” that reveals when “it’s time to move on.” The first decan of Pisces is the face of Saturn, a symbolism that aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight. Within the triplicity rulership scheme it is also the face of Jupiter, bringing a devotional quality to the soul searching enacted here that can nurture new perspectives by facing uncertainties and abandoning past assumptions. T. Susan Chang made the insightful point that within the “amniotic darkness” of the Eight of Cups, we can “let go of the fear that anything could happen, and open up to wonder and to awe: indeed, anything could happen!“
In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, a “well-dressed man” emerges in the first decan of Pisces who is “carrying a burden on his back.” Agrippa mentions that this decan signifies “journeys, changing one’s place, and an attentiveness for seeking substance, and nourishment.” There is a subtle emphasis in this wording upon the “seeking” of substance rather than possession. Like in the image of the Eight of Cups, there is also a necessity for travel and change, journeying away from the familiar into the unfamiliar in search of what is being sought. Indeed, the Brihat Jataka gave the image of “a man decked with ornaments, holding in hand sacrificial vessels, pearls, gems, and conchshells and crossing the ocean in a boat in search of jewels for his wife.” Yet, the Yavanajātaka described an image of a completed journey: “a woman with a beautiful body whose eyes are expansive and long. Her body is adorned with silk and gold. She stands by the Great Sea, which she has crossed in a boat for the sake of a heap of jewels.”
Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces in 36 Faces, writing that it signifies “a quest to map invisible walls of reality,” “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality. Coppock wrote that the first decan of Pisces holds “the convergence point of perception and reality,” a place where we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions.” Coppock wrote “liberation is achieved here through insight alone,” as the discovery that our soul can be the designer and builder of our reality is the realization that can “transforms the structure itself from a prison to a palace.” Yet Coppock also warned of the dangers of becoming lost within the labyrinth found within this decan, writing that “much depends upon if the seeker knows what is sought.”
The link between the primal, fertile potency of the unconscious with the first face of Pisces is interesting considering that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs linked the first decan of Pisces with the Titan Okeanos. More of a primal sea divinity than Poseidon, Okeanos was the great river encircling the world where the Sun rose from at dawn and returned to at sunset. Yet in keeping with the fecund nature of Pisces, the binding quality of Okeanos is also incredibly fertile. Okeanos and his divine wife Tethys, goddess of the sea, gave birth to the three thousand river gods and the innumerable Oceanid nymphs, creating aquatic life forms that bring divine purification and nourishment to our human realm. Carl Kerenyi wrote that Okeanos “possessed inexhaustible powers of begetting,” with the “rivers, springs and fountains – indeed, the whole sea – issue[ing] from his broad, mighty stream.”
Fitting for a decan that can place us in contact with the creator of our reality structure, it has also been suggested based upon lines from Homer that there may be an alternative tradition in which Okeanos and Tethys are the primeval parents of the gods rather than Gaia and Uranus. Kerenyi wrote that “ever since the time when everything originated from [Okeanos] he has continued to flow to the outermost edge of the earth, flowing back upon himself in a circle.” Kerenyi wrote that when the new order of Zeus was established, only Okeanos “was permitted to remain in his former place- which is really not a place, but only a flux, a boundary and barrier between the world and the Beyond.” Okeanos inhabiting the nexus between the known world and the Otherworld makes him a fitting divinity for the first decan of Pisces.
It’s further fitting that with precession, the tropical zodiac degree of the fixed star Fomalhaut is now found within the first decan of Pisces. With the Pisces New Moon conjoining Fomalhaut, we will have enhanced opportunity to encounter the meeting ground between dreaming and waking reality, leaving the illusions of consensus reality for the wisdom that can be found within imaginal depths. May you dream well with the New Moon in Pisces.
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Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.
Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.
Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Eratosthenes and Hyginus ; translated with an introduction and notes by Robin Hard. (2015). Constellation myths : with Aratus’s ‘Phaenomena’. Oxford University Press,
Kerenyi, Carl. (1951). The Gods of the Greeks. Thames and Hudson.
White, Gavin. (2014). Babylonian Star-Lore: An Illustrated Guide to the Star-Lore and Constellations of Ancient Babylonia. 3rd Edition. Solaria Publications.