Achaemenid Gold (6th – 4th Century B.C.)
Full Moon in Leo
Leo is the place of fixed fire, the indomitable flames that endure and resiliently persist in the face of extinguishing forces. The Full Moon in Leo on February 8 (or 9th, depending upon time zone) is an invitation for sustaining focus on the creations you most dearly wish to forge from your inner furnace, no matter how dire the collective crises of the time appear. The Full Moon is applying toward a flowing trine with Mars in Sagittarius, inciting passionate heat and radiant inspiration that can enliven any downcast spirits. Since 2020 began with the intensifying conjunction of Saturn and Pluto combined with volatile eclipses, the Leo Full Moon can stoke movement driven by the undercurrents of whatever deep material has been stirred up in the past month.
Heroism and courage are character traits associated with Leo we will need to embody in 2020, as it is a year that promises immense collective change with numerous cycles within astrology coming to endings and beginnings. Yet while heroines will be needed, the trine between the forthright Leo Moon and crusading Mars in Sagittarius also warns against hubris and righteously exerting your will in conflicts in which you think you know best. The Leo Full Moon is ruled by the Sun in Aquarius, giving it the unique characteristic of being the only Full Moon in which the polarity between Sun and Moon is mitigated by the Sun receiving the Moon into its fiery home. The cool, contemplative nature of the Aquarius Sun can help in detaching from emotional reactivity, discerning choices for authentically contributing the skills we are excited about developing within the wider community.
While the trine with Mars is the only aspect the Full Moon is making with other planets, if we are willing to welcome the dwarf planet Eris into consideration there is a fire triangle formed by the Full Moon, Mars and the distant trans-Neptunian entity named after the goddess of discord. While there hasn’t been a lot of time to compile astrological research concerning the meaning of Eris since her discovery in 2005, astrologers have begun to construct significations based in large part upon her meaning in mythology and wildly eccentric orbit. The chaotic strife Eris delights in instigating can be witnessed clearly in current events, and so it is fitting that the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 formed a harsh square aspect with Eris. The fiery triangle between Eris, Mars, and the Full Moon can propel breakthroughs that have their source within the volatility of collective breakdowns and personal tensions that have sharpened awareness of what matters most to us.
The Full Moon is also engaged in aspects with asteroid goddesses, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square aspect with Vesta in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Juno retrograde in Libra. As we become clearer about what gifts we wish to cultivate from exploration of our inner darkness, we will need to form mutually beneficial relationships with collaborators who can help bring the imaginal potency we have been developing into the light in ways that can be received by a resonant audience. We also need to reflect upon the balance of power and responsibility within our relationships, making adjustments so that there is a fair distribution of tasks and reciprocal attention to having emotional needs met. There is stormy astrology on the horizon we will be able to navigate more effectively by addressing relational imbalances that the Leo Full Moon illuminates.
by John Duncan
There will likely be important relational issues brought to attention by the passage of Venus in Aries forming conjunctions with Chiron and the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith. Allow the full light of the Moon to expose whatever material has been harbored in your shadow and projected into your relationships. It’s a good time for the practice of reflecting upon how not only those you desire but also are repulsed by can reveal key patterns about yourself you have not been consciously aware of. Venus expresses ardor directly in Aries and once struck by the arrow of Eros, Venus in Aries will claim the agency required to draw closer to the source of attraction. With Venus continuing to shine brightly in twilight as an Evening Star, though impulsively following desires can lead to trouble it will be the kind of trouble that can also trigger vital lessons.
Venus is also applying toward a sextile with Ceres in Aquarius as Ceres is in an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Venus in Aries is not afraid to fight for whatever it considers to be true, good, and beautiful, and so one way this configuration may show up is through increased interest in social activism and protest movements building around issues of environmental and social justice. The square between Ceres and Uranus can feel upsetting and enraging regarding any personal or collective events in which greed and power dynamics harm or threaten life, yet the invigorating sextile between Venus and Ceres will stoke intrinsic motivation to take action as needed. In some cases this may mean taking the risk to initiate direct movement toward goals, in other cases there may need to be a staking out of space and time in which to actively contemplate the next course of action.
In the week following the Full Moon, whatever issues surface that involve Venus in Aries will continue to demand attention as Venus will be applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes that it will complete on February 13. Venus in Aries delights in the creation of movement, and so if facing dilemmas related to Venus it will be helpful to be physically active such as taking hikes in nature while reflecting upon the next steps to take. Interestingly, although Venus is at the zodiacal point of being at the southern bending in relation to the lunar nodes, it is simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with its own geocentric north node and so will be passing across the ecliptic in the next week from southern into northern latitude (fittingly on February 14 aka Valentine’s Day). This means that the instinctual, subjective emotions and desires that Venus in Aries stirs up will be absolutely essential to integrate and can serve as important guidance in how to more fully engage in the larger changes that want to take shape in our life.
John Duncan The Turn of the Tide
Just like Venus, Mercury in Pisces is also visible during sunset and in fact will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on February 10 at ten degrees of Pisces. The maximum elongation of Mercury as Evening Star demarcates a shift in speed as it slows down to match the steady course of the Sun. Although Mercury will continue to be visible in the week following the Full Moon, it will increasingly become slower until stationing retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces. This means that issues that will become deeply involved in the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase that will last from February 16 until March 9 will be more obviously rising to the surface in the week following the Full Moon. If you notice old patterns and storylines emerging that could be laid to rest, they can serve as worthy compost during the initial putrefying phase of Mercury retrograde that will last from the stationing of Mercury on February 16 until the inferior conjunction of Mercury on February 25 that will occur two days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.
It is notable that not only is Mercury in its fall in Pisces, it is further under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. This does not signify doom but does invite contemplation of ambition and desires for greater power and status within society. Rather than insisting on having our expectations of higher achievement fulfilled, Mercury and Jupiter are in position to facilitate descent into the depths of inner darkness and shadow. There is wisdom and depth to gather in our unconscious underworld if we are willing to undergo the trials we must necessarily encounter when journeying there. From now through the back and forth of Mercury retrograde, we will have the opportunity to regenerate our beliefs and visions of meaning and what we want to create with our life.
Mercury is also mediating the polarity between the lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a trine with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. Furthermore, Mercury is applying to an exact sextile with Pallas Athena in Capricorn, as Pallas Athena is beginning to separate from a recent conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. The collective wounds associated with the misogyny of patriarchy that has its roots in the ancient times that astrology itself was developed have been on full display in the current events that have corresponded with a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Since Mercury in Pisces is more about feeling than articulation, symbol more so than thesis statement, we will have opportunities to deeply feel and reckon with how our thoughts and ideas are systematically conditioned by the times we are living in. These insights will go far beyond words, yet by opening to the possibility of making the inner changes we are capable of making we can begin to strip away however we have been inauthentically conditioned by dominant cultural forces.
Pallas Athena in Capricorn will be an overlooked player in the great planetary drama that will be enfolding in February and March after Mars enters Capricorn on February 16. Pallas Athena will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn that will last all the way through the Aries Equinox into April, with Pallas Athena being present with Jupiter and Pluto when they form their first conjunction on April 4. Pallas Athena is ultimately a symbol of sacred feminine wisdom, and though her mythology has had her wielded as a weapon in the hands of empires of the past, so may she side with the forces of liberation in the present.
Paul Klee (1925) Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (New Version)
The major outer planetary aspect that will form during the waning half of the current lunar cycle will be Jupiter in Capricorn receiving Neptune in Pisces through a waning sextile aspect that will complete on February 20. This will be the first of three sextile aspects that will form between Jupiter and Neptune during 2020 (the others will be on July 27 and October 11), making it a key aspect for the year. The harmonious interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can be helpful in realigning our vision of life this year to be more congruent with all of the changes that have been taking shape in the past year, especially changes corresponding with the last quarter square formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces during 2019.
Within the volatile breakdown of societal structures during 2020, Jupiter and Neptune’s relationship can inspire imaginative ideas for coalescing new growth from whatever dissolution and shedding we have been undergoing personally. In particular, we can gain awareness of old beliefs we need to release that have been interfering with our capacity for more deeply understanding our present circumstances. During the Leo Full Moon, Jupiter is applying within two degrees to an exact sextile with Neptune, as Neptune is simultaneously conjoining the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith. The combination of Neptune with Black Moon Lilith is a potent symbol for how we can become distracted and seduced away from our true authenticity by the myriad forms of illusory media surrounding us and the polarizing political conflicts that have become further exacerbated through manipulative media.
7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith
Leo 3 Decan
The Leo Full Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination. We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here.
Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.” For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”
There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed. As the peak illumination of the Leo Full Moon wanes in the week ahead, open yourself to discovering a symbol of your most soulful purpose to carry through the challenges to come in 2020. Not as a banner to use in imposing your will upon others, but rather as a guiding star you may follow through whatever difficulties and darkness arise.
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Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.