Follow the Moon: Astrology of intention and mindfulness

My interest with astrology lies with helping people see how following a practice of intention and self-awareness leads to a fuller relationship with Mystery. Astrology is a wonderful tool for this. My weekly column orients readers to the seasonal energy of each month's Sun sign in order to set magical/mindful intention for the lunar month beginning at the New Moon.

Each week I write about the unfolding energies that support and challenge our intentions. The ebb and flow of the lunar cycle resides deep in our souls. Through following the phases of the Moon, we remember the natural cycles that guide us.

Astrologers divide the lunar month into eight phases. These are:
New Moon: Dreaming
Crescent Moon: Beginning
First Quarter Moon: Manifesting
Gibbous Moon: Perfecting
Full Moon: Illuminating
Disseminating Moon: Sharing
Last Quarter Moon: Evaluating
Balsamic Moon: Surrendering

Come follow the Moon as we practice intentional awareness together.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Moon, February 24, 2009: The Sacred Search for Self


The Pisces New Moon is a time to surrender form. It is a time to dive deep one last time into the dreamtime of Winter. It is a time to gather inspiration from the unseen worlds. Pisces is the end of the astrological cycle that begins with Aries. When the Sun enters Aries this month on March 20, the Self crystallizes again into form. The goal is to emerge and begin the task of discovering who we are. Pisces asks: What do I make sacred as I surrender this form? Aries asks: Who am I? Who do I want to be? These two enquiries are important this month.

Although the Sun, Moon and Uranus are in Pisces in the New Moon chart, there is still a significant collection of energy in Aquarius at the beginning of the lunation cycle. The North Node (growing edge), Jupiter (expansive belief), Mercury (acquiring and processing information), Mars, (action and will), Chiron (the shaman), and Neptune (transcendence) are strung across the sign of the Water Carrier. Last month I wrote about the Aquarian energy of the Inauguration. Throughout this year Aquarian ideals—freedom, possibility, and revolution; hope in technology; an increase in social networking via the Internet; refining what it means to be human; attending to community needs and the need for community—will remain strong as Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune come closer together this Spring.

The other ongoing subtext to this year, Uranus in Pisces opposite Saturn in Virgo, is emphasized in the New and Full Moon charts this month. [I’ve written about this opposition during these past few months.] Any opposition between outer planets invites us to investigate the middle path. Swinging from one extreme to another, the real work seems to be in the space between. Are you finding yourself in the place of paradox, waiting for resolution, anxious about the tension between issues or choices in your life? How do you work with these forces? The Full Moon on March 10 aligns with the Uranus/Saturn opposition. We will have the opportunity to have these lessons illuminated.

Venus retrograde. A retrograde cycle is a special journey that a planet takes. For Venus, this journey is much like the one the goddess Inanna took to visit her sister Ereshkigal. [You can read a previous article I wrote on the Venus/Inanna associations.] On March 6 Venus stations retrograde at 15° Aries. Every 19 months Venus turns retrograde. Venus’ retrograde cycle forms a distinct pattern in the sky. In 8 years Venus stations 5 times evenly spaced around the zodiac forming a pentacle. The points of the pentacle move very slowly through time.

Currently the points are in Aries, Scorpio, Gemini, Aquarius, and Virgo.

Each Venus journey carries a theme. Each journey forms a point on a pentacle. These are:

Aries: Self
Scorpio: Power
Gemini: Knowledge
Aquarius: Freedom
Virgo: Service

Venus entices us to discover how these important points on the pentacle can flourish through the expression of beauty, balance, and pleasure. Through this pentacle we may explore: How am I my authentic Self when I embrace Venus? How do I claim my Power when I embrace Venus? What do I learn as I embrace Venus? How am I freed by embracing Venus? What wholeness do I serve when I embrace Venus?

One important feature of the Venus retrograde cycle is the length of time Venus will spend in just one sign. When Venus is moving direct, it speeds through an entire sign in less than a month. Due to the retrograde motion, Venus will be in Aries for 4 months (February 2 to June 6). [Venus will dip back into Pisces from April 11 to April 24.] In traditional astrology Venus is in her detriment in the sign of Aries. This means, that Venus is traveling through a sign opposite to one she rules, in this case Libra. Venus in Libra shows us her accommodating face, she desires harmony, relationship, and justice. In Aries, Venus struggles to align the need for partnering with the need for individuation. This Venus in Aries invites us to investigate how to bring balance into our relationships as we acknowledge that we are unique, that we sometimes must act in our own best interests, and that sometimes the journey is solitary. Aries is a fire sign. Venus reveals the beauty held within the flame and the consuming fires of passion.

This journey to reclaim Self is a journey of courage. Inanna was Queen of Heaven, she was mistress of the green fields, keeper of the storehouse, custodian of the divine laws. She did not need to surrender everything for her underworld journey. But she did. What is the courageous journey you take on behalf of your Self? A way to honor Venus is to envelop ourselves in beauty. During this retrograde cycle, how will you honor Venus?

Important dates for the Venus story:
February 1 Venus enters the shadow zone of this retrograde cycle (29° Pisces)
February 2 Venus enters Aries
March 6 Venus stations retrograde (15° Aries)
March 11 Venus (14° Aries) sextile Jupiter (14° Aquarius) Energizing opportunity for beauty.
Next lunar cycle:
March 27 Sun (7° Aries) conjunct Venus (7° Aries) This is the culmination of the retrograde cycle.
March 28 Mercury (6° Aries) conjunct Venus (6° Aries) Thought and beauty combine.
April 3 Venus (3°Aries) square Pluto (3° Capricorn) A confrontation with power.
April 11 through April 24 Venus at 29° Pisces. A time apart to reflect and be inspired.
April 17 Venus stations direct. Begin the return from the underworld.
May 2 Venus (3° Aries) square Pluto (3° Capricorn) Another confrontation with power.
May 20 Venus leaves the shadow zone of the retrograde cycle (15° Aries)
June 6 Venus enters Taurus

Neptune and Chiron. The story of these two planets coming together in Aquarius is beginning to develop. In May Jupiter will join them in a near triple conjunction. This month, Mercury and Mars pay a visit to both. Anyone with natal planets or points from 21 to 25 degrees of any fixed sign (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo or Scorpio) will experience this transit more deeply. Both of these planets [Chiron is actually not a planet. Read an excellent article about Chiron by Richard Dagan here.] are initiators. Both challenge us to be more vulnerable, more open, more in touch with pain and grief. The shamanic initiation of Chiron can be experienced as a dismemberment or dismantling of identity where we are put back together with a part missing, a space left open to the other world. This opening gives us access to wisdom and healing. And it also feels like a wound. The Neptune initiation is much like Odin’s as he hung on the World Tree. Through surrender we attain wisdom and compassion. The transits from Mercury and Mars this month will begin to bring this story into focus. It is time to open and listen to Mystery. Remembering may help us put back the pieces of our lives. Developing compassion toward self and others may help us build a valuable foundation.

Dates important to this story:
March 1 Mercury (19° Aquarius) conjunct Mars (19° Aquarius)
March 3 Mercury (22°Aquarius) conjunct Chiron (22°Aquarius)
March 5 Mercury (24° Aquarius) conjunct Neptune (24° Aquarius)
March 5 Mars (22° Aquarius) conjunct Chiron (22° Aquarius)
March 8 Mars (24° Aquarius) conjunct Neptune (24° Aquarius)

Spring Equinox. In the midst of these transits and energies, the Sun moves into Aries on March 20. Day and night temporarily balance. The chart for the Equinox shows the Moon in Capricorn, Saturn opposing Mercury and Uranus, and Pluto square the Sun. We enter this new season aware of the seriousness of the times. We must manage resources, hold ourselves accountable, and take on added work to create the world we envision. What feeds your resolve? How do you enter into the work invigorated and with joy?

May we find the joy that sustains and may we share what gives us joy.