Leo Full Moon
The Full Moon on February 16 is in Leo, the living image of the Lion, whether you use the tropical or sidereal zodiac. In fact, the Moon will illuminate the night sky nearby the fixed star Regulus, known as the heart of the lion within the Leo constellation. Across astrological traditions, Regulus has been associated with leadership and power, the type of fiery strength that can achieve success and victory against all odds. Yet the true strength of Regulus is the essential dignity and integrity we bear within our heart, the strength and wisdom of our core, our central self around which our vast, inner multiplicity revolves. Within a period of time emphasizing Saturn and its current placement within Aquarius, the Leo Full Moon will inject a charge of coherence as fragmented strands of past storylines come together into greater understanding. The Full Moon pouring down the star fire of Regulus will kindle an inner flame of knowing that can guide us into the next steps to take, whether we are continuing on course or in need of a dramatic change in direction.
Yet the royal power and fierce leadership associated with Regulus is also a quality some wish to seize for fame, wealth, influence, and other ambitious desires that can lead to inflation and hubris. Bernadette Brady described the nemesis of Regulus as being revenge, stating that its ambitious qualities need to be balanced by restraint from seeking retribution and vengeance if we wish to secure the success it can bring. Within Indian astrology, the nakshatra of Regulus where the full moon will ripen is Magha, the seat or throne of the king that has been linked with splendor, regality, prosperity, power, and the will force needed to achieve important endeavors and victories. Dennis Harness described the shadow side of Magha in connection with the extreme ambition that resides here, such as “arrogance” and “prejudice,” over attachment to “material prosperity” and “identification with class status,” as well as “divine restlessness or chronic discontent” for falling short of high aspirations and perfectionist standards. Harness further described the danger of constant courting of external approval at expense of the essential self.
Magha’s ruling deities are the ancestor spirits Pitris, making the nakshatra associated with gifts and benefits brought by ancestors, as well as loyalty to spiritual lineages. Harness described Pitris as “the great Fathers of Humanity, who function as guardian angels giving protection in the event of major calamities on earth.” Indeed, the true nobility of character offered by Regulus lies within the agency of the heart and contact with our deep sense of inner sovereignty. Rooted in our core value, the polarity between the Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Leo can foster drive and desire sourced from inner values rather than based upon ambition for external approval and acting in accordance with however we feel we need to fit in with the status quo of trends and popularity contests. The Leo Full Moon can ignite curiosity about where we have felt powerless and why, helping us make contact with our inner wellspring of power from a place of openness to mystery rather than insistence on control. We may also gain insight into whatever forms of power dynamics within relationships we have become entangled by and the adjustments necessary to make.
Supplying an uplifting, liberating influence to the Leo Full Moon is an invigorating sextile aspect between Jupiter in Pisces and Uranus in Taurus. For over a year we have been experiencing the amplified volatility constellated by the catalytic square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus, with the jolting impact of Uranus dislodging and breaking open longstanding structures and systems of Saturn. While the shattering of old structures and forms that have previously been part of our identity and sense of security may have been difficult during the past year, the clashing between Uranus and Saturn have also created vast potential for new directions, patterns, and ways of being to emerge that can be creatively liberating and free from past restraints. With Jupiter in Pisces forming a harmonious aspect with Uranus, we will have increased support in discerning the larger vision for growth that is emerging out of the dismantling of the past.
Intensifying the potential for the Leo Full Moon to brings things to a climax and a turning point in direction is the fact that the Moon will be forming a square with the lunar nodes at the northern bending. The northern bending of the Moon’s orbit is a dynamic point of change in which the Moon has reached maximum northern latitude, a peak from which the Moon will begin to immediately fall in descent back down toward the ecliptic. Demetra George wrote that since the Moon at her bending has reached “the farthest distance of the plane of the lunar orbit from that of the Sun’s path on the ecliptic,” it “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.” George further noted that Ptolemy stated the Moon forming a square to her nodes at her bending “helps with the character of the soul in the direction of greater versatility, resourcefulness, and capacity for change.”
Thus while the Leo Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes may correlate with amplified emotional volatility or feelings of disconnection for some, in other cases it may accentuate the capacity to gain distance from emotional entanglements in order to gain a clarifying perspective. The Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes is further significant due to it demarcating the midpoint between eclipses, with the Leo Full Moon forming a square aspect to the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus which occurred on November 19, 2021 and the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio which will occur on May 16, 2022. It’s an opportune time to reflect upon whatever changes arrived with the previous eclipses on November 19 and December 4 last year, taking stock of however you have already made adjustments as well as stepping back to see the bigger picture of how present dynamics appear to be developing into the future and where changes need to be initiated.
Since the transiting north node of the Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus, and the transiting south node of the Moon in Scorpio is ruled by Mars, the union of Venus and Mars in Capricorn during the time of the Leo Full Moon will increase the likelihood of the lunation illuminating the passions, anger, frustrations, and desires at the root of present relational dynamics and creative processes. Relationship tests have likely arisen recently as Venus and Mars have approached their conjunction in Capricorn, and so if the Leo Full Moon brings feelings of dissatisfaction to light, allow your curiosity to explore what your symptoms reveal about your sense of soulfulness and what needs to change so you may rebalance your relational dynamics with others and realign with your deepest sources of creativity and inner security. While events leading up to the Leo Full Moon may have caused underlying emotional challenges within relationships to burst forth into awareness, if both partners are willing to engage with the needed inner work while also listening and engaging in dialogue, the lunation can also help bring forth new ways to relate to one another that are mutually supportive and respectful of one another’s dignity.
Venus will form a conjunction with Mars at 16°53’ Capricorn on February 16, about two and a half hours before the exact opposition between the Moon in Leo and the Sun in Aquarius. Mars and Venus are nocturnal planets that orbit on either side of Earth in closest proximity, connecting us with primal feelings we discover within our inner darkness, away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. The union of Mars and Venus initiates us into a process of rediscovering what we want in relationship, as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. Venus and Mars coming together calls for embodiment, getting in touch with bodily senses to uncover desires untethered from societal conditioning. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, valuable, and distasteful, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable or displeasing. With their union occurring within the cardinal sign of Capricorn, their conjunction will bring a significant initiation into new relational dynamics emerging within coming weeks. Their union in the earthy, nocturnal home of Saturn calls for the need of forming the boundaries necessary to contain and nurture the seeds of new desires, making space for greater embodiment of one’s own inner eros separate from its mixture within external relational dynamics. As we come into deeper relationship with our own feelings and desires, so will we be able to more effectively make the adjustments needed within our many relationships within the world.
The conjunction between Venus and Mars on February 16 is the second Venus Mars conjunction in a sequence of three taking place within a span of eight months. The previous conjunction between Venus and Mars was at 19°48’ Leo, in the same zodiacal sign as the Leo Full Moon, on July 13, 2021. The final conjunction in the series will be on March 6, 2022 at 00°01’ Aquarius. The present conjunction on February 16, the middle one of three, is especially significant due to it occurring with both Venus and Mars visible as morning stars heralding the rise of the Sun. Their previous conjunction on July 13 occurred with Venus and Mars as evening stars following sunset, and since then we have experienced both Venus and Mars traversing the underworld in transition from evening to morning sky. Most significantly, Venus was recently retrograde in Capricorn from 19 December 2021 until 29 January 2022 and now is increasing in speed, light and elevation having been reborn in her morning star phase. She is only slowly beginning to pick up speed, however, which is why Mars has been able to recently overtake her in speed and form a conjunction with her by moving from behind and in front of her by zodiacal degree. As a result, during the waning half of the present lunar cycle as Venus continues to slowly pick up speed she will remain in close proximity with Mars, eventually overtaking Mars and forming their final conjunction in the series on March 6, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.
While the time from the Leo Full Moon until the final conjunction of Venus and Mars on March 6 will be full of new developments and desires within relationship and creativity to be mindful of, the union of Venus with Mars during the Leo Full Moon is especially potent in terms of bringing numerous streams of relational storylines together into a flowing, charged river bed that is fertile with the potential for new patterning within relationship to develop. It’s also worth noting that both Venus and Mars have essential dignity within the zodiacal degree of their conjunction, as it is the exaltation of Mars and the bounds of Venus. The second decan of Capricorn where their union takes place also has rulership association with both Mars and Venus (Mars is the ruler in the Chaldean descending rulership scheme; Venus is the ruler in the triplicity scheme). It’s a place ripe with potential for launching new enterprises and building great works of imagination and vision step by step with groundedness and receptivity to the input needed within collaboration with others.
The fact that both Venus and Mars have zodiacal agency within the place of their union is further accentuated by their close proximity with Vesta in Capricorn. As Venus and Mars will continue to move closely together during the waning half of the lunar cycle into their upcoming conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on March 3, so will Vesta in Capricorn. Venus will form a conjunction with Vesta in Capricorn on February 27 while Mars will form a conjunction with Vesta on February 25, less than a week before Venus and Mars unite with Pluto. The presence of Vesta alongside Venus and Mars can help in finding greater coherence for how our relational desires and needs have been transformed within recent months, especially when making space for sacred time with one’s self. The devotional aspect of Vesta can also help us in realizing what forms of creativity and new goals to develop are most authentically aligned with our core self, as well as the relationships most resonant with our true path to cultivate and deepen in relationship. Vesta traveling with Venus and Mars during the waning half of the lunar cycle can help initiate the process of building the strong foundations of a new legacy, maintaining the boundaries necessary to do so.
Further adding to the intensity of the Leo Full Moon is the fact that Mercury will be at maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that Mercury will be increasing in speed and curious connectivity in the coming weeks. Mercury finally left Capricorn and its extended time in close proximity with Pluto in Capricorn on February 14, and during the day of the Leo Full Moon will be close to the early degree of Aquarius where Mercury formed its regenerative conjunction with the Sun on January 23. Whatever new ideas developed, whatever shifts in storylines needed attending, whatever ways the catalytic and volatile period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn from January 14 to February 3 impacted and transformed you is important to consider under the glow of the Full Moon in Leo. Mercury is now entering its solar phase as a Morning Star that Gary Caton likened to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s recent retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being
During the waning half of the lunar cycle, Mercury will form an invigorating and volatile square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on February 24 followed by Mercury forming a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on March 2, the same day as the New Moon in Pisces. Mercury began its recent retrograde phase on January 14 while in close proximity to activating the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, and during the waning half of the lunar cycle we will finally experience Mercury moving forward to finally complete the activation. The present path of Mercury is vastly significant, connecting the present moment with the larger waves of change signified by the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 as well as the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus dominating the astrological landscape in 2021 and 2022. It’s a time to feel into how your inner shifts relate with the much larger waves of change rippling across global societies. Ways in which our lives began to change in the beginning of 2021 can become clearer as Mercury leads us out of the dreamscape of night into the brightness of day in coming weeks, helping us clarify how to formulate our next stage of development.
Leo 3 Decan
The Full Moon in Leo is in the third decan of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a warrior is 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. The martial figure in the Seven of Wands further relates to the asymmetrical significations of Mars in astrology through standing his ground in footwear that does not match. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that the Seven of Wands in a reading can signify facing a “daunting challenge” requiring discernment of whether or not it’s a situation or position worth fighting for. Chang described that while the Seven of Wands “shows a human capacity to persevere,” it still requires facing “whether persevering through the difficulty will be the making of us the building of our character- or whether it is simply not meant to be.”
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. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the link between the third face of Leo with the underworld aspects of Serapis as revealing “the important decisions that those who walk this decan face- when to give up and let go, for even the Sun surrenders the earth to darkness.”
Whether you are engaged in battle with external or internal forces under the light of the Leo Full Moon, beware of the shadow of defensiveness and feeling the need to fight off those perceived as invaders at all costs. Particularly within inner processes of conflict, the various parts of self that seem to be at odds with one another may also lead to new insights and awareness as we let go of the need to control and allow seemingly paradoxical impulses to deepen into the tension of relationship with one another. The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the night at a pivotal turning point of astrological cycles- may its brilliant light nurture the turning of mind needed to make the decisions and choices most aligned with the creative potential ready to emerge from within you.
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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.
de Fouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert. (1996). Light on Life: Introduction to the Astrology of India. Lotus Press.
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Harness, Dennis. (1999). The Nakshatras: the Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press.