By Heather Ensworth
On July 8th, we move into a new lunar cycle. As we seek to understand the meaning of this lunar month, we need to listen to the wisdom coming to us from the chart of this new Moon as well as the star placements of the Sun, Moon and planets. Our modern western (tropical zodiac) chart is fixed in time and relates more to the Earth’s seasonal cycles and how these energies affect the meanings of the planets than to their actual placements in the sky. I believe that the actual locations of the planets in the sky speaks to their deeper intent for us and the configurations in the astrology chart give us a sense of how these energies manifest in us here on Earth.
At the time of the New Moon, in the chart for the day, the Sun and Moon are in the sign of Cancer in the tropical zodiac. This is a water sign and is about compassion and how we deal with our own emotional sensitivity as well as being caring and nurturing to others.
The New Moon is in a T-square configuration with the transformational energies of Pluto and Uranus. This is a time when we are asked to face our deep emotions as well as our shadow self and to be aware of the light and dark within us. It is important in this New Moon time not to project aspects of ourselves on to others, then becoming polarized with them. If we remain unconscious of our deeper feelings, then we are likely to find ourselves becoming emotionally moody, reactive and angry at others. It is this pattern of polarization and projection that leads to so much of the violence and warfare that we experience on a global scale. We can only transform these world patterns if we start with our own inner healing. This lunar cycle is reminding us that it is important in moments of reactivity to take time for reflection. It is time to gain clarity about all of the facets of who we are and of our deep emotions.
With Neptune and Chiron in a strong supportive aspect (a trine) to the New Moon and Sun, this is a time for emotional healing. As we allow ourselves to face our deep emotions and painful issues from the past, Neptune and Chiron support us in healing and clearing these issues and allow us to hold ourselves and others in forgiveness and compassion.
Jupiter in the tropical zodiac chart has now moved into Cancer (as of June 26th) and will be in this sign for a year. Jupiter supports us in expanding our compassion and emotional caring and sensitivity for ourselves and others across the next year.
On the same day that Jupiter moved into Cancer, Mercury went retrograde and will continue to be so until July 20th when it goes direct again. When a planet is retrograde, it appears to be going backwards in the sky from our Earth perspective. What this means is that the energy of the planet is functioning in a different way then usual. For us in modern western cultures, our usual way of thinking (Mercury) tends to be more verbal, analytical and linear. Now, while Mercury is retrograde, we are able to access more right-brained, intuitive and visual ways of knowing. Mercury being retrograde during much of this lunar cycle supports us in being more reflective and contemplative.
Shifting now to the stars, how do the actual placements of the Sun, Moon and planets deepen our understanding of this lunar cycle? At the time of the New Moon, the Moon and Sun as well as Jupiter are actually in the stars of Gemini. Throughout time, Gemini symbolizes twins and the integration of light and dark. In Greek mythology, the stars of Gemini represent Castor and Pollux. Castor was associated the energy of good and Pollux with evil. We see similar associations in the Biblical twins Cain and Abel. For the ancient Egyptians, this polarity was seen in the relationship between Horus, associated with the light, and his nemesis, Set, associated with the dark.
So for us, the New Moon and Sun in the stars of Gemini call us to look at how we integrate the aspects of light and dark within ourselves. Rather than thinking of the polarity as that of good and evil, it is more helpful to think of it as what is in the light of our consciousness and what is unconscious or in the shadow part of ourselves. It is what we reject or repress in ourselves that often leads to projection, reactivity and destructive actions. Yet what we have repressed and kept in the dark within ourselves is often an important source of our power and our gifts if we bring those aspects to consciousness. It is noteworthy that at the time of the New Moon, the New Moon and Sun lie in the stars of one twin and Jupiter in the other, reminding us of the importance of this dance of integration. The New Moon and Sun lie next to the star Wasat near the middle of the constellation of the stars of Gemini. “Wasat” means middle and has shamanic qualities, teaching us how to move between the polarities and to trust in finding that balance. So the New Moon’s placement in the stars is telling us that this lunar cycle is about the integration of the light and dark within ourselves. The placement in the chart is telling us that we need to work this process at a profound level emotionally. We need to dive deep into our emotions and bring what is hidden to consciousness. In this way, we can heal and transform and live a life characterized by compassion for ourselves and for others.
On July 22nd, we move into the time of the Full Moon. In the chart, the Full Moon is in the first degree of Aquarius opposite the Sun as the Sun enters into the sign Leo. The Sun and Full Moon are now in a T-square configuration with Saturn. In the tropical zodiac, Saturn is in Scorpio. If we have done the emotional work of the beginning of the lunar cycle, we now have courage to face our fears and to deepen in our wisdom and understanding. We are now able to not be attached to our stories or the pain from the past. If we have not done the earlier work of becoming more emotionally conscious and holding ourselves and others in compassion, then we may become more fixed in our fears and pain and projections during the time of the Full Moon.
Throughout this lunar cycle, Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune/Chiron are part of a grand water trine. This signifies this is a time for healing, for letting go of our fears from the past and for opening in a more expansive way to love and compassion for ourselves and others. At the time of the Full Moon, Mars moves into configuration with that grand trine supporting us in acting from that place of love and compassion. Mercury also moves in close to this grand trine and has now gone direct, so our communication is also now able to reflect this healing and compassionate energy.
In the stars, the Full Moon actually lies between the stars of Sagittarius and Capricorn, while the Sun lies between the stars of Gemini and Cancer. Saturn is between the stars of Virgo and Libra. All of these lie in the liminal spaces (the in between places) between the constellations. Again, this speaks to the way in which we are called this month into transformation and to open to the healing available to us as we “move between the worlds” and allow ourselves to let go of the past and open to new ways of being.
It is profoundly significant that at the time of the Full Moon, Venus now lies right next to the star Regulus, one of the four “royal stars” in the sky. Regulus is in Leo and is the heart of the lion. This star represents courage and the ability to live from the heart. With Venus here, we are called to live with courage, open to wisdom and to relate to others with compassion and love.
As we weave together the wisdom of this month’s lunar cycle, we realize it is about the healing power of love. We are called this month to open to all of who we are and to dive deep into our emotions. We are asked to honor the light and the dark within us and not to get caught in polarization or projection. When we can open to compassion for ourselves, then we are also able to relate to others with compassion. When we live from the heart and open to the love of the Universe, then we are able to heal and bring that healing energy to others. The planets and stars are calling us to open to that healing love and, in that way, become agents of healing and transformation in our world.
In these newsletters, I weave together both the western tropical zodiac (of our patriarchal period) and visual astrology (looking at the placements of the planets in the stars and remembering the pre-patriarchal meanings of these constellations).
Brady, Bernadette. Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, Samual Weiser, Inc, York Beach, ME, 1998.