aquarius, astrology, full moon, leo, moon

Full Moon in Aquarius – A Time to Break Down…. Something?

Full Moons themselves are not rare events; we get them once a month. However, the Full Moon on August 11th is shaping up to be an extremely intense Full Moon.

As the Moon in Aquarius is opposing the Sun in Leo (this opposition is what creates a Full Moon), the Moon is also conjoining Saturn, which moved into Aquarius in December 2020. In addition, both the Sun and the Moon are squaring the North Node/Uranus conjunction in Taurus. This creates a big “T” shape in the sky, with the Sun at one end, the Moon and Saturn opposite to it at the other end, and Uranus and the North Moon Node at the bottom of the “T”. This is a lot of co-mingled energy! In a nutshell, the Sun and Moon are colliding with the intense Saturn/Uranus energy of the past year and a half while the North Node also happens to be on top of Uranus. With all of these planets and points involved, there is likely to be nothing straightforward about the energy of this Full Moon.

In general, Saturn squaring Uranus brings us themes of the push-and-pull between the familiarity of the established structure of things and the desire to break free of old habits and tear everything down and start over. We have all been feeling this push-and-pull collectively as a global society and personally as individuals since Saturn and Uranus first started forming this square as Saturn entered Aquarius on Dec 17th, 2020. That is a long time to feel such strong competing energies! Normally this aspect would come and go over the period of six months or so, but because of the unique ways that the Saturn and Uranus retrograde motions have stacked up during this square, we have been experiencing waxing and waning of this same square for over a year and a half, with the final almost exact square happening in early October 2022, giving us an exhausting cycle of vacillating between the desire to tear down existing structures and the desire to find comfort and a sense of safety in the familiarity of existing structures.

One very interesting aspect of Saturn/Uranus squares is that there is absolutely no ethics or morality attached to either the stability and structure of Saturn or to the rebellion and desire to tear things down of Uranus. For all of us individuals, and for us collectively as a society, some structures are important for a healthy life and a healthy society. However, it is equally true that some structures are holding us back personally and collectively and should be challenged and torn down. The eternal question that Saturn/Uranus aspects ask us is: Which structures will we benefit from tearing down and which structures will we benefit from strengthening? The answer to this question is never easy, and with an extensive year and a half during which we have all been wrestling with this question, it is exhausting to think about wrestling with this even more.

However, the energy of the Sun and Moon moving in to co-mingle their energy with this existing square will force us to confront the polarities of this energy in a new way. One thing that will feel startlingly different about the way the Full Moon activates these energies is that both Uranus and Saturn are outer planets that take many years to cycle the entire Zodiac. They are not personal planets; they are generational. However, the Sun and the Moon are our most personal planets. If you are born within a seven year period of someone else, you both probably have Uranus in the same sign. However, if you are born even just a day earlier or later than another person, it is likely you both have the Moon in a different sign.

This Full Moon will feel personal. Whereas some of our struggles over the past year and half may have had the spotlight focused more on the societal or cultural elements, this Full Moon will be shining the spolight directly on your life and on the structures you have erected to help yourself feel safe and protected and in a familiar and comfortable space. But, just like we are seeing some societal structures crumbling over the past few years to be replaced with hopefully better structures, this Full Moon will help us realize that there are structures in our lives that need a complete reinvention as well. The trick will be ensuring we tear down the correct structures; what will actually benefit from a complete overhaul?

What is even trickier is that even if we choose to break down the structures and relationships in our lives that actually are the ones that are holding us back, in the immediate aftermath of breaking them down, we may be left with a feeling of profound loss. It may not have been helpful to our soul’s development, but it was familiar and easy and known. Now we will be left with only unknowns.

The Unknown is generally a terrifying state for us as humans. Even if things are not great as they are, we can allow ourselves to slip into the numbness of routine. But when presented with the Unknown, it becomes almost impossible to ignore the questions at the back of our minds and to escape to a relative sense of safety; by far the best way to handle the Unknown is by passing through them, sitting with them, and allowing ourselves to feel the discomfort and take the time we need to think about the new structures we want to build in our lives. That is an incredibly scary proposition.

However, there are some really encouraging things about this particular Full Moon in Aquarius that will help us. Aquarius is a sign that is focused on social good, on helping others, and on bettering our communities, and this gives us a secret to coping through this time. If we can focus on providing help and support to others, it will paradoxically help lighten our load. This would be a wonderful time to engage in volunteer work, spend some time in a conversation with those you know need it, or even spend some time gardening and giving plants the nourishment they need. Recognizing that we are part of the larger, interconnected universe can help us feel intense relief in doing anything that boosts the energy and vibration of other co-dwellers on this planet. However, be careful not to use volunteer work as a way to hide from your own thoughts and inner work; new structures still need to be built in each of our lives. But focusing on supporting others can give us the strength to turn our will toward our own inner work as well.

Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash

aquarius, astrology, full moon, leo, leo, moon, the bends

Full Moon in Leo: A Time to Go Back to Ourselves

We have a Full Moon in Leo this month, and while that in itself is not unusual (it is an approximately yearly occurrence), it is unusual that we get this Full Moon while the Aquarius Sun and the Leo Moon are square the Moon Nodes.

What is a Moon Node?

First let’s talk about a little astronomy: what are the Moon Nodes? At a high level, there are a few different orbits to understand in order to comprehend the Moon Nodes. The earth is tilted as it revolves around this Sun; this results in the Sun and the Planets following a tilted path across our night sky rather than following the earth’s equator; this tilted path is called the ecliptic. If we ignore the rest of the sky and just look at the earth and the Moon, the Moon is also tilted as it revolves around the earth. So we have a tilted Moon orbit around a tilted earth orbit, and these two orbits have about 5 degrees of difference between them. What this means is that you will see the Moon at different parts of the sky as it revolves around the earth; sometimes it will appear farther north, and sometimes it will appear farther south (depending on where it is on its tilted orbit). There are two points (exactly opposite each other) where the earth’s tilted orbit (the ecliptic) and the moon’s tilted orbit intersect; these are known as the Moon Nodes. See this picture to easily visualize them! When the Moon is lined up with the Sun along these Nodes, that is when we get Solar and Lunar eclipses (but that is a topic for a different day).

When the Moon is midway between the two Lunar Nodes, it reaches a local “high” or “low” point in the sky, where it appears furthest north or furthest south before it starts moving back in the direction of the nodes. This area is called “the bends”. We could have a whole study just on the bends, but at a high level, it shows a time when the Moon is least likely to be eclipsed (or to eclipse) the Sun, because it is far away from the Nodes. This is an area that represents change (as the Moon at this point is preparing to change directions from the earth’s perspective to move back toward the neutrality of the nodes).

The Moon Nodes and this Leo Full Moon

Coming all the way back to our Leo Full Moon this week, the Leo Full Moon occurs exactly at “the bends” between the Nodes, so in addition to the usual exuberant Leo Full Moon energy we would usually expect, there is something a little different this year. There is a sense of change in the air. A sense of trying something we have not tried before. A sense of finding ourselves and bringing ourselves back.

The Energy of this Leo Full Moon

The Leo Full Moon is also always interesting, because by definition when the Full Moon is in Leo, the Sun has to be exactly opposite to it in Aquarius. (Full Moons always occur when the Sun and the Moon are opposite each other.) The Sun rules Leo and excels in Leo, but struggles to find its footing in Aquarius. The Sun is hot and bright, Aquarius is cold and dark. The Sun is joyous and loud; Aquarius is quieter and more circumspect. However, done carefully, the Sun can find its balancing force in Aquarius. Learning to integrate the heat and the cold, the noise and the quiet is truly a worthy cause, and the Leo Full Moon each year gives us a chance to do that, and no year more so than this one which finds the Sun and the Moon in the area of the Moon’s orbit that most promotes change: This area midway between the Moon Nodes.

Think about how you show up to yourself and to the world during this Full Moon. How much do you feel like a masked performer on the stage of your own life, vs how much do you feel free to allow your truest light to shine forth? Living our truth is hard and requires so much vulnerability and so much trust – trust that people will either love us for who we are or that we have decided their opinion is not central to us. This is a time to evaluate if there is anything we are showing to the world that feels so difficult to maintain that it doesn’t actually feel worth it. For those things…. how do we find ways to let our true self shine out via our Sun (Leo) while also recognizing that we may have very real social duties and obligations that are important to us?

In short: how do we bring our best true self to the world in a way that serves to help others rather than only ourselves? How do we use our brightest gifts in the service of each other and our larger groups and communities? How do we shift the narrative from one of duty to joy? And lastly: if we embrace this challenge and bring our whole selves to the world, how do we make peace with that and accept that there will be limitations in doing this? If our true self is viewed as being too strange, there may be people who no longer want to be our friends. If our true self doesn’t involve a high-powered corporate job, we may struggle more to have financial stability (or to be ok with not having financial stability!). A wise friend of mine called out that there is never a choice between the “good, easy way” and the “hard, bad way”. There are difficulties with any path we choose in life; what we have this week is a golden (an appropriate color for Leo!) opportunity to consciously make this choice. This Full Moon is about finding our true self in a sea of other people’s expectations and our own self-imposed duties and to decide how we want to present ourselves and our gifts to the world.

As the phrase commonly attributed to the great writer Oscar Wilde says, Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. In 1882, Oscar Wilde also wrote the following:

In some such way as this we could gather up these strewn and scattered petals of song into one perfect rose of life, and yet, perhaps, in so doing, we might be missing the true quality of the poems; one’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

aquarius, astrology, festivals, Jupiter, pisces, planet, retrograde, saturn, Signs

Lughnasa Festival – Jupiter in Aquarius

Lughnasa – the final Celtic festival to celebrate the harvest. Celebrating the nearing end of summer and preparations for winter. Celebrating the last of the harvest while also facing the reality of another winter. Lughnasa falls on August 1, and this year it certainly does feel like the beginning of an end. Both of summer, which this festival marks, but also socially and astrologically.

Several days ago, Jupiter, after a brief respite in Pisces from May 13 – July 28, has retrograded back into Aquarius, leaving us wrestling with themes from several months ago that we likely thought ourselves past. Some of these are obvious and impersonal. The covid restrictions are an obvious example. As more and more people got vaccinated in the spring and early summer months and covid case numbers went down, many of us started to relax, feeling like after over a year and a half of restrictive Saturn energy (first Saturn co-present/conjunct Pluto in 2020, followed by Saturn square Uranus in 2021), we were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us started going to restaurants, started to see each other’s faces instead of just impersonal, emotion-hiding face masks. However, in the past few days, Jupiter our benefic planet retrograded out of his home sign of Pisces and into Aquarius where he spent the first half of 2021. He is no longer in a sign that he rules, and he is now back to being copresent with Saturn. What this means is that he is distinctly less able to work his “lucky” magic and the best we can hope for is a softening or a few bits of luck in our Aquarius-ruled areas of life. It is interesting to see how literally we are seeing this. Regardless of personal feelings that individuals may have about the covid vaccines, there is a very clear message from social and political leaders: Our way out of these newly-returned (Jupiter out of Pisces and back in Aquarius) restrictive measures (Saturn) is to get a vaccine (Jupiter, often positioned as a wise, benefic physician with healing remedies).

Apart from this very apparent difference we are seeing of Jupiter’s influence in Pisces versus moving back to Aquarius… what else may we expect to see due to this shift? It is partially complicated (of course!) because nothing happens in isolation. Jupiter retrograding back into Aquarius is not the only thing happening in the sky during this time! However, for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on Jupiter’s move from Pisces to Aquarius and the shift in energy that movement by itself will bring.

Aquarius is the coldest sign which occurs (in the Northern hemisphere) during the deepest part of the winter, when living things are most in hibernation mode and there is not yet a glimmer of rebirth in the frozen ground. Aquarius is also a fixed sign; there is no view yet of a transition to spring. Pisces represents a time of increasing warming and a time of change. The days are getting longer, and spring is imminent. The end of a cycle is completing and the new beginning is about to rise (quite literally) as a phoneix out of the ashes of the soil in spring.

A retrograde of Jupiter, the planet called in ancient times the “greater benefic” from the sign of Pisces into Aquarius will definitely cause a strong energetic shift. This may definitely feel like an energetic loss of optimism. Again, we may be seeing this in a literal way via the covid situation, but we also feel this on many other levels in our life. Areas in our lives where we may have felt change happening, the figurative ground of our souls starting to soften in preparation for new seeds to sprout, may now start to feel as though the change is stagnating or even reversing. We are becoming stuck for some reason we can’t define. The optimism that came so readily a few weeks ago may be difficult to find now. Particularly with Jupiter moving back to be co-present with Saturn in a Saturn-ruled sign, there will be even more of a feeling of increased restrictions, boundaries around us, and a cage (visible or invisible) that we just can’t break free of. In some ways, this may feel even more restrictive than the previous Jupiter in Aquarius energy in the beginning part of 2020, because we were used to restrictions then. Now, after experiencing the gorgeous Piscean rainfall of Jupiter on the parched ground of a Capricorn/Aquarius-dominated time, these restrictions may feel even greater, and the figurative chains on our ankles may feel even more chafing.

However, although this paints a somewhat bleak picture, there are good parts mixed in here as well! Any areas that are Aquarius-ruled in your life have been under a huge constrictive influence over the past few months with only Saturn in that sign. With Jupiter there now, you are likely to get a little luck back in those areas. Anything that has been especially blocked may get a little positive bump or nudge into an easier direction.

Also, Aquarius is the sign of social awareness and justice and the sign of technology. These are both definitely areas that could use an infusion of some of Jupiter’s benefic rays!

It is also important to be aware that Jupiter is retrograding into Aquarius; we have seen what Jupiter in Aquarius looks like between December 19, 2020 and May 13, 2021. Jupiter in Aquarius is not new to us! There is nothing in this energy that will likely feel new. Jupiter is retrograding through a path it has already recently traversed. So this is less about experiencing new restrictions than about a final opportunity to really close out some of the older themes in a productive way. If we just “got through” the first part of 2021 but didn’t really learn how to “be” in that restrictive space and deal with the increased boundaries in a positive way, this is a chance to go back and re-integrate some of that. If we had feelings around social justice, better uses for technology in our new air-centric world but didn’t really do anything about those feelings, this is the time! Whenever we have retrograde planets, there is a sense of turning inward rather than outward. So start with your internal work first before rushing out to make positive outward changes; this is the real wisdom that Jupiter retrograde into Aquarius can bring us.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. – St. Augustine

Photo by Rowan Freeman on Unsplash