Full Moon in Aries
The polarity between Aries and Libra centers around change of the most primordial sort. In the northern hemisphere the entrance of the Sun into Aries brings the propulsive eruption of Spring from the darkness of Winter, its entrance into Libra the turn from the light and enlivening heat of Summer into the decomposition and reseeding of Fall. While the reverse is true in the southern hemisphere, the axis of Aries and Libra still holds the tension of shifting dynamics ready to give birth to new storylines, motion arising out of stasis, revelation from incubation, breaking through out of breaking down, and vice versa. The Full Moon in Aries on October 20 will be especially catalytic and volatile, as the brilliant Aries Moon will form an opposition with Mars in Libra and a square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Yet as the Aries Moon will also pass through a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius as it waxes into fullness, there can be new opportunities for expansive growth to extract from whatever chthonic, internal process of change you have been engaging.
The Full Moon is in the fiery home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun, forming an opposition with both the Sun and Mars. Mars in Libra is still within his invisible, underworld phase of being at the beginning of a new solar cycle which began on October 7 when Mars was reanimated by the Sun a day after the New Moon in Libra on October 6. The present lunar cycle is all about Mars, as the Moon began her cycle conjoining Mars and will reach peak illumination in opposition with Mars. While new visions and desires related to Mars may be taking root, we are still in the midst of gestating and coming to terms with whatever the new cycle of Mars may propel us toward. Mars is known for being off balance and off kilter, creating strife and separation within relationships in ways that pull you back toward a sense of your own autonomy outside of the dynamic. The opposition aspect in astrology has long been known as having the nature of Saturn, and with Mars occupying the sign opposite its domicile of Aries while forming an opposition with the Aries Full Moon, there will be a need to hold the tension of whatever relational questions or conflicts you may be facing, slowly but surely coming into deeper awareness of the underlying dynamics at play.
Mars also instills courage, the kind of courage necessary to face the unknown and cross thresholds of radical change. In the airy sign of Libra, however, there can be increased levels of mental anxiety regarding change and associated frustrations. As a result it will be helpful to find ways to release energy, calm nerves, and utilize available outlets of creative expression in the days surrounding the Aries Full Moon. Due to Mars and the Aries Full Moon both forming catalyzing square aspects with Pluto in Capricorn, the lunation will coincide with a deep stirring of unconscious desires and memories that may become activated within present relational dynamics. While the hard aspects between Mars and the Aries Full Moon with Pluto may dredge up difficult feelings, it can also provide important illumination regarding your relational patterns and attractors presently operating within your relationships.
Moreover, the Full Moon in the element of fire can help distinguish and separate insight that has accumulated from the recent retrograde phase of Mercury, as Mercury will have stationed direct two days before the Aries Full Moon. With the presence of Mercury saturating the astrological atmosphere, we can draw upon the gifts of Hermes for calibrating opposites, finding the threads that connect disparate elements, and weaving together meaning from whatever processes have been undergoing decomposition and transmutation over the course of the Mercury retrograde period that began on September 26 when Mercury stationed retrograde. In fact the Full Moon at 27°26’ Aries is close to an exact opposition with the degree of 25°28’ Libra where Mercury originally stationed retrograde on September 26.
Mars in Libra rules the Full Moon and is separating from a flowing trine aspect with Jupiter in Aquarius while applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn, similar to how the Aries Moon is separating from both a sextile aspect with Jupiter and a square aspect with Pluto. While Jupiter is making the more harmonious aspect with Mars due to them both occupying air signs, Jupiter has the most intensified presence due to having stationed direct on October 17 a few days before the lunation. As a result, the new desires that Mars is incubating and the future quests he is beginning to develop are being injected with the enlivening vision of Jupiter which can instill hope for breaking free from past limitations and barriers to growth. Yet the simultaneous square aspect between Mars and Pluto may necessitate confronting deeply held internal blocks to becoming more fully actualized creatively. Mars will continue to harbor in darkness during the rest of the present lunar cycle, and so when possible it will be better to wait, contemplate, and continue to develop plans as you continue to deepen your relationship with whatever new pursuits, goals, and desires emerge as Mars gets closer to emerging again in visibility next month. It’s a good time to gather courage away from the glare of the public eye, as you continue to hone and develop plans with daily work and practice.
In addition to Jupiter having an intensified presence due to stationing direct a few days before the Aries Full Moon, Mercury will be embodying an extremely potent presence due to not only stationing direct on October 18, but also having recently risen again into visibility in his Morning Star phase. It will be wise to pay special attention to dreams, symbols, signs, and synchronicities in the days surrounding the Arie Full Moon, listening closely to whatever meaningful messages Mercury will be delivering. Mercury is in range of a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, and so with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury all recently having stationed direct, Mercury can help with coalescing insight and gaining greater clarity for the path opening up ahead and the next steps to take.
As the Moon begins to wane within its present cycle, Mercury will be generating forward momentum and will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on October 25, the point of its synodic cycle in which he begins to increase in speed and can more easily set in motion whatever changes and new ideas were gathered and generated during his previous retrograde cycle. Before the Scorpio New Moon on November 4, Mercury will completes his third and final trine aspect with Jupiter on October 31, followed by completing his third and final square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on November 2, the same day that he also will move beyond the degree of the zodiac where he previously stationed retrograde on September 26. Mercury formed his first trine with Jupiter on September 20 and his second on October 3, so you may trace the development of innovative ideas and opportunities for growth across these dates until now. In contrast, Mercury formed his first square aspect with Pluto on September 22 followed by his second square aspect on October 1, and so the process stretching across these dates until now may have been bringing deepening awareness of how inner relational patterns and issues from your past intersect with the present as well as a sense of how to become more empowered in creating and cultivating the work, relationships, and life you desire to experience.
The Sun and Mars are both in the airy home of Venus, and so it is significant that Venus is not only traversing the fiery sign of Sagittarius, but is also out of bounds in declination. Venus will not only be out of bounds in southern declination during the Aries Full Moon but will be continuing to descend even further out of bounds during the waning half of the present lunar cycle into extreme declination for Venus. With Venus out of bounds in southern declination, within the fiery and visionary sign of Sagittarius, the leaps of desire for greater freedom of expression, creativity, and desire may be felt more internally within private places at times.
As Venus approaches a square aspect with Neptune she will complete on October 26 at 20°45’ of Sagittarius and Pisces, there will be great potential for imaginative use of creativity and artistry that can break new ground of expression and form. Yet the boundlessness of Neptune combined with the free spiritedness of Venus out of bounds in Sagittarius also means there will be greater potential than normal for becoming swept up into exciting desires that ultimately prove to be illusory or less than the ideal imagined. Whether within internal or external realms of relationship, however, Venus out of bounds will incite desires for breaking free from past restrictions or barriers. While in some cases there may be a need to take a breath, ground, and contemplate options before rushing heedlessly ahead in new directions, positively Venus out of bounds in Sagittarius can stoke movement and creative expression in places we have felt stagnated or stuck.
Aries 3 Decan
The Full Moon will illuminate 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 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 contentious and combative Mars, the third decan of Aries is ruled by Venus and Jupiter, the two traditional planets most associated with fertile growth, sources of abundant pleasure, and creative vision.
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.”
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. The opposing extremes of Poverty and Resource giving birth to Eros is further resonant with the meaning Austin Coppock gave to the third decan of Libra where the Sun and Moon will form an opposition with the Aries Full Moon. Indeed, Coppock described the third decan of Libra as facilitating a process of finding the center within wildly oscillating extremes, inhabiting “the eye of the storm, calm and clear as the chaos of desire and fear whirl all about.” With the Full Moon in the third face of Aries, may the enlivening passion of Eros create the movement needed to flow with the changes circulating around you, finding ways to center within the integrity of your purpose and values while remaining open to flexibly adjusting plans as needed.
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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.