Libra Full Moon: Balance in the Bending

Notre Dame North Rose Window

North Rose Window, Notre Dame Cathedral

Full Moon in Libra

The Full Moon in Libra on April 19, 2019 brings illumination as we arrive at a crossroads. We have a choice of which direction to follow, a choice of whose guidance to follow, a choice to push forward with ambitious initiative or to pause in contemplation, incubating recent insights before taking new action. The Libra Full Moon culminates at the final degree of the Scales, resulting in its waxing light building across the entirety of Libra as it forms a volatile square aspect with the lunar nodes as well as the shadowy conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. The Libra Full Moon will dramatically amplify chaotic forces of change already set in motion during the past week in which the fiery Sun in Aries also formed a disruptive square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes. Libra is a cardinal air sign of dynamic change oscillating between extremes that calls us to find balance in the center of its vortex, arranging elements of space and time as needed to find a sense of harmony within forces of discord. Fortunately, Jupiter in Sagittarius is in a harmonious sextile aspect with the lunation, with the retrograde motion of Jupiter prodding us to go within to cohere understanding.

Once the Full Moon peaks at the final degree of Libra, its lunar light will illuminate the  beginning of Scorpio and then apply immediately to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. In addition, the day after the lunation on April 20 after the Sun enters Taurus it will immediately begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. The impact of the lunar opposition and solar union with Uranus can coincide with rapid acceleration of developments or propulsive inner forces making it feel like there is no choice but to take a certain action or approach to situations. As a result the more we can take time and space to center and find as much inner balance as possible, the better we can adjust to whatever becomes activated by Uranus in Taurus in the days following the peak of the lunation’s full light. Uranus in Taurus opposing the Moon and then conjoining the Sun can also correlate with innovative insights that suddenly lead to a solution to difficulties or to an ingenious idea to improve whatever we have been working on.

The Libra Moon forming a square to the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and South Node of the Moon in Capricorn means that it is at its northern bending, its maximum peak of northern latitude within its orbital cycle. This is a dynamic point of volatile change in the Moon’s orbit in which it reaches its greatest height to then descend back toward the ecliptic where its orbit intersects with Earth’s orbit. Demetra George in her tome Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice wrote that “the Moon at the bending suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection” (p. 354). Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote that when the Moon forms a square with its own nodes its “lunar function operates with a minimum degree of focalization in earth-nature and in all bio-psychic organisms.” Rudhyar continued that since the Moon at its northern bending “is as far withdrawn from the Earth as she can be,” that the Moon is also “most active in her own sphere” (p. 23).

The astrological volatility stirred up by the Libra Full Moon is interesting considering that it is occurring in the fourteenth Lunar Mansion known as Al Simak (“The Unarmed”) which centers around the fixed star Spica. Donna Woodwell has ascribed the image of “The Harvest” to this mansion, writing that it is about “separating the wheat from the chaff,” overcoming fear in order to end, leave, or move on from relationships and circumstances that are not fulfilling or delivering what we need. Chris Warnock in Mansions of the Moon described the Al Simak mansion as being about breaking apart “restrictive or inappropriate bonds,” and that while we need to be “wary of the impulse to fight with those whose temperament is opposite to our own,” this mansion of Spica “might also indicate that we need to remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation that goes against our nature.”

Thus rather than impulsively rushing ahead with plans during the time around the Libra Full Moon, it can be best used to create protected personal space for reflecting upon one’s place within changing material circumstances. Listen to messages from the environment and the inner guidance you receive in moments of grace in order to adjust and make modifications as needed. Since Libra is the outwardly directed, airy home of Venus, it can also be a powerful time for creative brainstorming and experimenting with ways to further develop projects especially since Uranus in Taurus is involved in catalyzing the lunation’s force. Be open to looking at things from a completely different perspective, liberated from previous conceptions.

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Earliest Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, west facade

Venus in Pisces rules the Libra Full Moon only a degree past her exact exaltation degree. Thus Venus in Pisces is on her throne of exaltation and capable of facilitating soothing self care and imaginative, inventive creativity in any art. Venus in Pisces is forming a quincunx aspect with the Libra Full Moon, suggesting the importance of finding ways to connect our creative ideas with the actual needs of our community. Rather than self centeredly focusing on whatever we think is the most interesting way to do things, instead bring the exalted status of Venus in Pisces into devising ways to make ideas helpful to others in practical ways that can make a difference. As we are also at the beginning of a new Venus and Neptune cycle, there could otherwise be a tendency for Venus in Pisces under a Libra Moon to put imagination into abstract conceptions that never fully materialize in reality.

Venus leaves her exaltation of Pisces to enter Aries, the fiery home of Mars, the day after the Full Moon on April 20. Venus in Aries will be ruled by Mars in the swift air sign of Gemini, promoting creativity in arts and following wherever curiosity guides us.  Unlike Pisces where Venus exalts, Aries is not comfortable zodiacal terrain for Venus to traverse in terms of indulging in the pleasures of Venus. Instead, the fire of Aries pushes Venus to claim and assert independence, take bold action in pursuit of desires, and find ways to bring people together over inspirational ideas that speak truth to power. Under the influence of Mars in Gemini, Venus in Aries will excel at multi-tasking and can wield its fire to cut through the multiple perspectives stirred up by Mars in Gemini in order to coalesce a direct creative expression.

Notre Dame cathedral rose window dageurreotype

Notre Dame Cathedral Rose Window daguerreotype (1841) by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

Casting an imposing shadow across the Libra Full Moon is the intensifying union between Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Both Pluto and Saturn will station retrograde by the end of April, with Pluto stationing retrograde on April 24 and Saturn stationing retrograde on April 29. The south node of the Moon has already passed over Pluto and will be forming a conjunction with Saturn as it stations retrograde at the end of April. When planets station, their significations saturate the astrological landscape: thus Pluto in particular is looming large over the Libra Full Moon. Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche linked the archetypal impact of Pluto in mundane events with the mythic archetype of Dionysus, as it carries an eruptive life force that cannot be resisted, shattering and loosening structures and beliefs that had been bringing a sense of security.

When Pluto erupts from the depths, transmutation is in process and as new forms arise and old forms break apart, we need to allow ourselves to also let go of the way things have been in order to reorient with the changing forces taking shape. The union of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of Capricorn is particularly challenging due to the emphasis Capricorn has on the ancient, the traditional, the structures and beliefs that have endured across time and the figures who have gathered strength and skill through a wealth of experience. On the one hand we need to recover and cultivate the aspects of our myriad civilizations that bring stability and order in ways that meet the needs of people, yet on the other hand numerous aspects of the old order also must now break down or decay in order to begin clearing space for new forms and structures to take shape. The tragedy of the Notre Dame cathedral catching fire in Paris reveals how gut wrenching the structural regeneration underway will be for those emotionally and spiritually invested in forms now breaking apart.

Saturn and Pluto will not form their exact conjunction until January 12, 2020 but with both of them stationing at the end of April only three degrees apart, while simultaneously conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the end of April and beginning of May will bring an amplified initiation into the meaning of their new cycle. Making it more intense is that the heliocentric south nodes of Saturn and Pluto are in the same area of Capricorn, meaning that the movement of Saturn and Pluto around their entire orbital arc is now descending to intersect with the orbit of our Earth around the Sun. Dane Rudhyar likened this type of archetypal process we are experiencing with Saturn and Pluto to both the death and decay of the Autumn season, as well as the importance of incubating and gestating the seed that will bring forth new life. There is a sacrifice necessary, a release of what must die in order to bring forth what needs to be born. We simultaneously will be experiencing the extremes of Saturn and Pluto, the putrefaction of their poisonous toxicity as well as the empowering discipline and reordering of their more ideal significations.

Notre Dame allegory of alchemy

Allegory of Alchemy from central portal of Notre Dame Cathedral

The Libra Full Moon also brings illumination to the recent ingress of Mercury into Aries. Mercury had been in Pisces since February 10 before finally entering Aries on April 17. At the time of the Full Moon, Mercury is applying to a close conjunction with Chiron in Aries and is applying toward a mutually receptive sextile aspect with Mars in Gemini. In the past month we have had a lot happening in the signs of Pisces and Capricorn, inwardly directed signs that tend to work receptively with material at a patient pace more so than with frenetic speed. Mercury in Aries combined with Mars in Gemini will speed up events and facilitate taking direct, impactful action to shape matters that have become volatilized and ready to change.

Mercury in Aries is firmly within its Morning Star phase in which it heralds the rising Sun at dawn with its light. Mercury’s Morning Star phase resonates with being curious and explorative, reaching out for new connections and weaving new meaning and ideas together. Dane Rudhyar called this phase Promethean due to its strong capacity for foresight, and I also think of it in relation to the Magician arcanum in tarot due to its capacity for helping us reshape matters in line with our developing vision. Whatever shifts occurred for you during the long Mercury retrograde in Pisces transit that lasted through March, it is now time to integrate the lessons into your daily communication and movement through your community.  Mercury will form its exact sextile with Mars in Gemini on April 30, and so their mutually receptive relationship bears gifts to infuse into research, communication, promotion, and mercantile activities for the rest of April.

As the Moon continues to wane in light for the rest of April, Mercury will get closer each day to forming a volatile square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the transiting lunar nodes at the same time that Saturn and Pluto are stationing retrograde. Simultaneously, Mars in Gemini will be getting closer each day to forming a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, becoming exact on April 27. This brings a much deeper, ineffable influence into the receptive relationship between Mercury and Mars. Mercury in Aries forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes will penetrate awareness into unconscious material  and patterns, as well as insight into the larger structural changes occurring in society. Though Mars and Mercury will want to incite action and swiftness, it will be important to make time and space to recenter in reflection, listening within to unconscious messages that can bring guidance. The influence of Mars forming a square with Neptune can bring inflation and fixation on dogmatic perspectives in some people, while for others this same influence could help unveil illusions that have been operating under the surface of perception.

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4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra culminates in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces linked the presence of Nemesis in this decan to her role as “a force which restored balance to life’s chaotic wheel,” acting “to consciously correct the injustices whirl of blind forces” by “restoring right proportion.” One way Nemesis restores balance is through bringing retribution against those carried away by hubris who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence with the Libra Full Moon emphasizes the need to rebalance whatever has become out of proportion in our life. We may recognize aspects of our shadow we have been denying, or realize we have been suppressing desires that need to be accepted and cultivated. There are many crises coinciding in collective events calling for action, but in addition to playing a role in creating the change we wish to see in external events, we likewise need to bring attention to tend to the changes occurring internally.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

New Moon in Aries

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Paul Klee (1929) Strong Dream

The quality of each New Moon helps guide our intention setting accordingly, and the New Moon of April 18, 2015 is active, bold, and deeply shifting.  Occurring in Aries at the 29th degree, this New Moon has the fitting sabian symbol of the “Music of the Spheres.” To Dane Rudhyar this meant finding our part to play on our path within the evolution of life on our planet, as “the immense Chord of the harmony of the universe” resounds around us (An Astrological Mandala, p. 70).  This Aries New Moon will produce a Plutonic chord that will strike us at a core level, as it is ruled by Mars in Taurus and Pluto will have stationed in Capricorn during the dark of the Moon leading up to the New Moon.  On April 16, 2015 Pluto stations retrograde at 15°33′ of Capricorn, and it will remain retrograde until September 24, 2015 when it stations direct at 12°59′ of Capricorn.  Saturn is the only other retrograde planet impacting us now, yet this is paramount to reflect upon as Saturn signifies our structures and conditioning, and when Saturn appears to move backward from our perspective on Earth it opens us to the potential of re-structuring our lives and consciousness while in a process of our past conditioning being stripped away.  Pluto stationing to move retrograde in timing with this Aries New Moon amplifies the potency of Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius when we confront the past conditioning of our societal and belief system influences at a core, soul level.  Along these lines it is important to realize that the South Node of Saturn is in Capricorn, and so Saturn is deeply bound for us to these past societal conditioning influences on our soul and personality.

Part of societal conditioning often involves influencing people to ambitiously pursue self-rewards within the existing power structure, whether that be through monetary and material trappings or public recognition.  Instead, in accordance with the music made by the spheres of this New Moon we can tune into the evolving needs of our environment and the people living in our global society, discerning the attributes we possess that can serve some of these needs.  We need to be careful of past conditioning influences that make us hold back from the visions that can make both ourselves and others feel more fulfilled within:  if we notice we are afraid to pursue something because of not having enough money or social status, we need to be aware of how we could be severely restricting not only our future life, but the future lives of others we would bring joy and inspiration to by pursuing our desired vision.  This New Moon follows the past Moon cycles of eclipses, and we are working with a potent energy field that has not only called us to let go of past attachments, but also to welcome in a new vision of a more fulfilling and authentic life we can live.  At this Aries New Moon, we only need to focus on setting an intention to manifest the life we want to live:  there are numerous astrological aspects in the coming months to help us figure out how to make it happen on a more practical and grounded level.

The personal planets Mars, Mercury, and Venus are all extremely significant guides for us in the coming Moon cycle, Mars in particular as the ruler of the New Moon, and Mercury applying to a conjunction with Mars in Taurus at the time of the New Moon.  Mars in Taurus has a grounded, determined quality that can help us patiently build our new structure brick by brick with great care and attention to our inner pleasure in the process.  Mercury in the days following the New Moon will become an Evening Star again and shift into the phase of it’s cycle that can help us reflect upon and integrate all of the deep material of our psyche that was stirred up recently by the eclipses and the square between Pluto and Uranus.  Mars and Mercury together in Taurus are crucially in trine to the stationing Pluto in Capricorn, and are also in square to a conjunction of Jupiter and Juno in Leo.  These aspects can activate an assertive actualization of our creativity in pursuit of expansive conceptions for ourselves and within our relationships with others, and our actions along these lines will be more effective when rooted in genuineness rather than self-glamour.   The trine between Pluto with the conjunction of Mars and Mercury means the deeply felt reverberations of our soul that have coincided with Pluto stationing in square to Uranus can help fertilize and seed goals and purpose aligned with our inner values instead of outwardly conditioned values.

Mercury in Taurus is furthermore in a mutual reception with Venus in Gemini through the semi-sextile aspect between them, another indication of magic being available when we center on a path forward to bring us inner pleasure. Most noteworthy in connection to Venus in Gemini, Venus at this Aries New Moon is opposite Saturn in Sagittarius and their opposition creates a t-quare with Neptune in Pisces.  This aspect accentuates the tension between our fantasies and reality that has come up with the square between Saturn and Neptune in the past couple of months, and in the waning Moon cycle in between the Lunar Eclipse on April 4 and the New Moon of April 18, we have had to confront the aspects of our desired dream that needed to be adjusted and re-aligned with our actual reality.  Yet the containment of an active, inquisitive Venus in Gemini within the structure of Saturn also serves as a container to hold an expansion of our consciousness.  It’s like when you find someone you fall so deeply in love with that you know you want to devote yourself to them exclusively, instead of feeling restricted by solely desiring them in contrast to the plethora of other potential romantic partners in your environment, you feel radiantly alive and bursting with new growth and potential from within.  Neptune in Pisces in square to this opposition between Venus in Gemini and Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius calls us to dissolve the conditioned belief systems we have held around our outer relationships and inner values, and open our heart and mind to receive more bliss as we release the limiting beliefs about ourselves we realize now were delusional.

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Falling Star (1884) by Witold Pruszkowski

Venus goes “out of bounds” in extreme declination following the New Moon, adding a wild, rebellious vibe to the expansively curious qualities put on by Venus while in her time in the sign of Gemini.  Additionally, Venus is an especially vivid Evening Star of sheer brilliance for us at night now. Though briefly tempered by her transit through the t-square with Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, Venus will remain out of bounds for the rest of April and through May, meaning she will be more likely than normal to do as she pleases.  The intentions we seed at this New Moon carry the quality of the t-square between Venus, Neptune, and Saturn, however, and some deep soul searching and questioning can arise in correlation.   Since Venus is also in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra, and sextile the South Node of the Moon in Aries, whatever is getting stirred up for us with this transit is going to be nutritive for soulful strengthening and personal evolution. One significant archetype that connects with the t-square between Venus, Saturn, and Neptune and this theme of a dark night of the soul leading to personal redemption is Lilith.  The Lilith asteroid #1181 is at 16° of Scorpio and so creates an additional t-square through being opposite the Mars and Mercury conjunction in Taurus and in square to Jupiter in Leo.  In addition, Black Moon Lilith is at 16° Virgo and forming a Grand Earth Trine with Pluto stationing in Capricorn and Mars conjunct Mercury in Taurus.

On the one hand, Lilith symbolizes our core wound of rejection, wherever we have felt excluded by others, ostracized, or unaccepted.  This is most prevalent in the t-square created by the Lilith asteroid in Scorpio with Jupiter in Leo and the Mars and Mercury conjunction in Taurus.  This can also connect with where we have felt oppressed by the dominant culture, such as through sexism, racism, or any other form of persecution.  The more we can become aware of this wound and realize it’s impact on us through contemplation, the more we can open to resolution and redemption through the Grand Earth Trine created by Black Moon Lilith in Virgo with Pluto and the Mars-Mercury conjunction.  In the process of contemplating our past wounds of rejection, we will realize how we have projected this personal suffering onto others or attempted to distract ourselves from our personal pain through pursuits that are more about escapism than connecting with the deeper recesses of our soul.  As a result we can strip away these aspects we discern are false about ourselves, and re-focus on the qualities we recognize as being embedded in our essential nature.  When we live from our authenticity, we discover the quality of Lilith that does what she wants to do for her Self and those she cares about and does not care about accommodating or pleasing others when it does not feel genuine to do so.

A further facilitator of our healing at this Aries New Moon is Vesta in Pisces, as Vesta is exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces and so acting as a mediating agent between the transpersonal, otherworldly Neptune, the intimately personal Venus in Gemini, and the societal conditioning Saturn in Sagittarius.  Vesta is devotional and capable of sustaining incredible focus as a container of Spirit, and so brings us a greater capacity to tap into the oceanic field of Neptune with our perception in order to receive guidance in how to liberate ourselves from the past conditioning signified by Venus being opposite Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Vesta in this position can also involve breaking with past conditioning concerning our belief systems around our sexuality, including religious conditioning, so that we become unashamed to express our sexuality in whatever way is sacred for us.  Vesta has the diligence and discipline to stand firm within the constriction of Saturn and the dissolving of Neptune and channel charged, purifying energy for us to express through Venus.

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4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The Aries III Decan where the New Moon occurs is associated with the Four of Wands card in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith as holding two female figures hoisting fragrant flowers in celebration under a garland and within a container of four sturdy rods, with a bridge and a castle-like structure in the background.  The Aries III decan is ruled by Venus, and Austin Coppock in 36 Faces noted that Eros was also attached to this decan in the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.   Coppock analyzed this decan as signifying “The Burning Rose” as it’s symbol, as it holds “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions” (p. 64).  Coppock discerned that we find in the final decan of Aries “the power of art to overcome hostility,” such as the ability of a singer, speaker, comedian, or dancer on stage to transcend the hostility of an audience through their heartfelt performance that can inspire and arouse the passions of an unruly crowd (p. 64).  Yet Coppock cautions:

There is a remarkable potency here-  to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.  Yet the bonds that form here often require that intensity to endure.  The bond shared by military men, the celebrated esprit de corps, decays outside of war’s pressures.  The audience members soon forget the performers who so moved them.  In love’s battlefield, once the friction and fire of the first conjunctio, with its terror and elation, have subsided, the lamp of raw passion burns low.  A less volatile fuel is required for the flame to continue on.  ( p. 65)

Thus it is imperative for our burning Venusian passions that can be aroused at this time to channel the ecstatic heights of Eros into our creativity and relationships with the presence of mind to ground back into our more mundane reality and work with the more earthy energy signified by Mars in Taurus that rules this New Moon and is conjunct Mercury.  Again, an excellent guide for this facilitation is Vesta, the master of sustaining our inner fire, as she is exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces and in square to Venus in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius at this New Moon.  Vesta brings with her the type of inner contemplation that Dane Rudhyar felt was imperative to attune with the cosmic order expressed through “The Music of the Spheres” symbol of this New Moon:

The message to the seeker for meaning which is implied in this symbol is TO LISTEN TO THE INNER VOICE; to listen without personalizing this Voice in a glamor-producing manner.  It is the Voice of the Whole, of which one begins to realize that one is a tiny little part- yet a significant part, for every note of the universal Chord has its place and its ineradicable meaning.  (Rudhyar, p. 70)

There is an epic symphony playing to lend your harmony to:  through your participation you will help create it’s next movement.

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References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.