The void of course Moon in Aries will change over to exalted Taurus in the next few hours, where it will then make its first quarter aspect by tonight. Meanwhile Mercury retrograde will be making a sextile to Uranus in Aries this week, and Venus will change positions into Pisces (the sign of its exaltation). We’ll explore these subjects as the week progresses, but for today let’s look at the first quarter Moon.
With the Sun in Aquarius we’re currently experiencing all the qualities of the outsider and the revolutionizer. The Sun in Aquarius is about those unique experiences that individuate us while at the same time dissociate us from the status-quo. It’s about that awkward but magical process of becoming more uniquely ourselves while at the same time suffering the stigmas of differentiation from the pack. What is it about ourselves that is currently changing or demanding creative revision or revolution? In what areas of our lives are we suddenly feeling like a stranger..suddenly feeling like we’re on the edges or periphery…out in the cold even? It’s critical that we each learn how to step away from the warmth of the places where we fit in, where we have our place and people know our name. Sometimes this happens in small ways…like going to a movie with friends and walking away deeply disturbed or touched by new ideas..something churning inside, while your friends are saying things like, “What should we eat..man that was just a weird movie.” Other times it happens in gigantic ways…some major twist or turn of events in your life has you suddenly feeling like a stranger..hovering 20 feet above every interaction you find yourself in…changed to the core but not yet grounded.
Now, as the Moon’s light has been waxing since the New Moon, gaining power and momentum, a specific theme has been building in relationship to this “outsider” motif. Our clue as to what this theme entails and what’s at stake is constellated by the image of the Bull, Taurus. In what ways are we trying to make important changes while some element of our lives or relationships or personalities are clinging to something overly simple, or something stubbornly beautiful? Where is there a heavy footed bull within us saying, “That’s too much work right now. That’s not very peaceful, or easy.” Somewhere in our lives a rebel is trying to convince the cows to get off their asses but the cows are stubbornly chewing their cud, convinced life is no more complex than apple pie, cowboys, and antique furniture shops. There might even be a storm brewing, but the rebel looks a little strange, not so easy or peaceful, not so stable or simple, and so the cows’ distrust wins out, “We’re not going anywhere, you weirdo. Let’s keep this nice and easy.” Soon the cow will get rained on of course, but even then it’s more likely that the cow will keep the explanation simple, rather than turning to the rebel to say, “Sorry I should have taken you seriously.”
On the other hand, we can reverse the flow in the opposite direction. Where is there a rebel within us who needs to sit down and smell the roses? An angsty outsider who needs a week on the farm? A punk rocker who needs to clean off the glitzy makeup in the river and get back to the simple truths: naked body and skin, nowhere to go and nothing to prove, a dog following you home. Sometimes the rebel within us needs to reconcile with the fact that no amount of individuating will get a person back to the paradise garden. In fact, the garden is always all around us, once we stop making things so complicated…just root down, shut up, and settle in son.
There are always people who will then ask the question, “So how do we achieve a balance between these two signs?” But this question favors one of the two signs, secretly. The issue of balance, for example, in the case of Taurus and Aquarius is probably closer to Taurus than it is to Aquarius. Taurus is a Venus ruled sign, and Taurus likes harmony, ease, and grace. Taurus finds a sense of control and power in these things, and so even though the question of balance seems neutral, it favors Taurus more than Aquarius, whose ruling planets (Uranus and Saturn) are more about the dynamism between structures and their sudden breakdowns or revolutions. We just have to imagine for a few moments that balance isn’t objective. Some people think of balance as a kind of universal equalizer…a fairness that all beings and all things should naturally crave or that everything inherently desires…but the truth is that balance and fairness aren’t necessarily fair, nor are they always desirable. Sometimes calling for balance is like an ultra conservative group strategically requesting that a group of protesters work things out over tea and crumpets rather than marching and demonstrating on the streets.
So let’s forget about balance between the two signs for now, and instead lets change the question a little. “How do we negotiate these very different forces?” Well, there you go again. Negotiation is so Venusian, isn’t it? What is it within us that needs everything to get along all the time? The voice asking these questions and the voice responding to these questions are a lot like Aquarius and Taurus right now. The point isn’t to solve anything as much as it is to simply be aware of what the nature of these archetypes are about right now.
Sometimes its not about the harmonizing or balancing, and it’s not necessarily about the conflict or who wins, either. There is a “betweenness,” the both/and of the twilight tiger. With awareness of these dynamics, their eternal faces, their irreconcilable animal stand offs, their secret strategies and complaints about each other, we might come to see that each situation we face requires our careful attention and most particular participation. To what side of the conflict are we called right now? To what end? Is harmony a possibility or just the fearful pacification of a divine fight? What is the choice of the moment, regardless of whether or not it comes out equal for both sides?
“Situational hermeneutics,” is the phrase James Hillman liked to use, and it requires that we stop seeing opposites as abstract problems that need solving or balancing from the get-go. To think of the opposites as problems that need solving we are already expressing a form of bias…namely the bias of seeing opposites as problems. Like the Bull who tends to see anything uncomfortable as a problem to be pacified or denied…or like the divine rebel who sees anything pacifying as inherently controlling…we can’t change the gods, nor can we change the nature of their relationships with each other. Instead, we can learn how to relate to the gods and we can learn the secret locations of their individual temples and their preferred sacrifices. We can learn which temple of which god is the correct temple of the moment, considering who we are, and what is moving in our souls. This so that bulls and water-bearers alike might become real psychic presences in our lives, rather than just the abstract representations of our most unimaginative problems.
Prayer: help us to find the secret temples and make the appropriate offerings
Image by courtesy of Stuart Anthony, at creative commons image licensing
The Moon is in Aries this morning, beginning to gain energy as we head toward the first quarter by the beginning of next week. This morning the Moon will trine Saturn in Sagittarius and then sextile the Sun in Aquarius.
It’s a good day to find support and energy for new ideas or projects. The combined signature of the Sun in Aquarius and the Moon in Aries is about the momentum of awakening ideas or actions, especially ideals that excited or ignite the desire to break new ground, make new discoveries, or forge ahead in the face of our fears. However, as Mercury retrograde opposes Jupiter in Leo, conflicts about ownership or recognition might come up. Whose idea is this? Where did it come from? Is something being unfairly borrowed, appropriated, or even stolen? At the same time, is someone being too possessive? Can we really own an idea or inspiration? It might be wise to keep some of our thoughts and plans to ourselves right now as people may also be prone to quickly taking our excitement and deconstructing it, or dream-killing it. The best ideas often need some time and space to grow before being shared with others, especially people who tend to be incredibly conservative, or jealous and competitive.
At the waxing crescent stage of a Moon cycle (our current stage), the Moon’s light is returning from its darkened “new moon” phase, and we are gradually building toward the first quarter. As the Moon’s light is building we generally go from a period that is relatively “unconscious” toward one that is more “conscious.” I use quotes here because these words aren’t meant to be scientific…it’s good if they remain somewhat vague.
What do we mean by the word “unconscious?” It’s probably a good idea to eliminate some of the cliches. By unconscious we don’t mean “stupid, less evolved, full of shadows and darknesses, blockages, things that need to be purged on the way to the light, things repressed from childhood or the past, past life karma,” or whatever else. All of these ways of thinking about the unconscious are usually being made in the terms and language of the conscious. Once we get over the idea that “consciousness” is better, more evolved, lighter, more unified, more compassionate, more aware, more integrated, more whole, etc, we’ll be able to understand the unconscious in its own language. The unconscious is always relating to what is conscious…its the shades that rest at the edge of our certainty, it’s the black of the eyes that gives contrast to the colors, the unseen mood or thought, the secret history and the poetic double meaning. It’s the freudian slip but not what the freudian slip means or reveals. It’s the dream before and beyond interpretation. It’s the multiplicity of images streaming and the disappearance of each one. It’s the unspoken desire that rests quietly within every selfless action. It’s the poetry of patterns that never change shape. It’s the complication of character and virtues of our vices.
We live in a world that is so entirely obsessed with trying to eliminate or illuminate, control or map, dominate, purge, or KNOW the unconscious. But the unconscious continues its unknowing. We try to determine “where” the unconscious exists, or WHOSE unconscious it is…ours, the collectives, our families, our races? Should it even be called “THE” unconscious? But the unconscious continues its unknowing. Is it a realm, a place, a state of mind, a way of being, part of the psyche or the psyche within it? Frantic questions on an empty stage; the single spot light. But the unconscious continues its unknowing.
Good to move around these ideas as the Moon is gaining light. Because each month as the Moon gains light, what tends to happen is that specific images or themes rise up from the unconscious and engage us more consciously, more concretely. The images take part in the play of our lives, and as they do so they build in strength and intensity throughout the rest of the cycle, until the last quarter Moon, when their life force dissipates and their gifts or wisdom for our conscious lives is harvested, at which point the darkness takes over again.
So as the Moon is building force into the sign of Aries, and our Sun is in Aquarius, we might start to notice the appearance of certain ground breaking actions and powerful ideals gaining strength within us. Watch as they develop over the next two days…when the first quarter Moon comes early next week these new thoughts and images will propel us into more specific actions.
prayer: mind over fire, catches breeze, catches love
like the deep slumbering
of an early arousal
and frost light
on armored thoughts
Image by courtesy of Masahiro, at creative commons image licensing
The New Moon is in Aquarius today, just as the Sun has entered Aquarius and we now move into the fixed sign of winter. Meanwhile, Mercury is stationing and will turn retrograde by Thursday (also in the sign of Aquarius). Today we’ll look at Aquarius a bit more in depth, then tomorrow Mercury retrograde.
For me it’s always best to start with the constellation image. For Aquarius the constellation image is the “water bearer.” This along with its “aqua” root makes most people think Aquarius is a water sign, but in fact Aquarius is an air sign. If we take this little piece of misdirection alone, we can learn a lot about Aquarius very quickly. Aquarius is sometimes like air disguised as water. Intellect disguised as emotion. Idealism disguised as compassion. Mind disguised as heart. There is a spacey coldness within the sign of Aquarius, a distanced eye from the heavens, a homesick alien longing to be human, expressing itself most humanly…”If only the human race could evolve or improve or ascend just a little higher, I would have more friends, I would have a real tribe, I would have some actual commonality. If only the human race could be more like the gods I so love.”
It’s often said of Aquarians that they love humanity but they can’t stand people. I always laugh at this joke, but I would modify it to read, “Aquarians love humanity, but they love the gods a little more.” The image of the water bearer in old times symbolized a young man who served the gods their divine nectar. In this simple image we see both the human love of all that is higher, more rational, more evolved, and more enlightened…the love of the gods that only the servant of the gods can truly understand, but at the same time within this love for all that is “higher,” we also see the consequential distancing or alienation from all that is truly human, complete with all our contradictions, inconsistencies, and instinctual qualities.
Aquarius plays the role of the inspiring messenger of the gods, as well as being their servant. Carl Jung once said that the price we pay for trying to harness the powers of the unconscious (the depth of space where the constellations live, lets say) is loneliness and isolation. This is the gods revenge upon us for trying to take their knowledge and use it to improve ourselves or “evolve humanity” or whatever else. The inflation of consciousness created by stealing something of the gods’ knowledge (from the unconscious) leaves us looking like egoists or weirdos to others. And yet, the voice of the gods, the messages and gifts they often send us, are unavoidable, as is the alienation we suffer when we grow in our understanding of the geography of the unconscious.
What a conundrum! For these reasons Aquarius is a sign often given to the Jungian concept of individuation. Aquarius, according to many Jungian astrologers, is the sign of the daemon or the genie, whose guiding influence comes into our lives in order to evolve or grow our consciousness out of the familiar and into a broader or deeper understanding of the unconscious. This “daemon” is often compared to Lucifer…a kind of light bringing but also rebellious spirit; neither human nor god, but somewhere in between. James Hillman has compared the daemon to Eros, or Cupid, a trickster, an intoxication, a lover, the backward lightning flash of beauty in the mind’s eye. The daemon’s lust for “man to become god” can enrage both the gods and people alike. “Let us just be who we are,” both the gods and the people might say to the daemon…longing for and admiring each other in our strange ways but also with appropriate distance and distinctions.
Sometimes the daemonic Aquarius can’t fathom why the gods and the people would want to remain separate. His refusal to allow for the separation, his insistence and rebellion, is what creates the image of devilish power, the daemon turned to “demon,” Lucifer to the devil, and the power of progress into the mangled results of a cloning experiment gone terribly wrong. The vegan with her machete of progressive intolerance. The friend who can’t shut up about how fucked up everything is and whose ego is building a tower called, “the ideal world.”
To my mind, astrology itself is highly Aquarian. That’s why it’s my firm belief that we astrologers have to constantly use our craft to shave the hubris off the faces of some of our most seemingly “divine” ideas, revealing the animal skin below or behind them. James Hillman once said that it was most important that we start doing therapy on our ideas, not just our historical or private sense of self. “Ideas that we don’t know we have, have us,” he said. The daemon is an ambiguous figure. Essential for the guiding fictions of our lives to play out and for the soul to develop along the lines of its most precious fantasies, but also a kind of thief and deceiver, a trickster rebel whose lofty causes should sometimes be questioned with the simplest language of human scrutiny, “Hey who do you think you are? Don’t be an a-hole. This is a dialogue not a dictation. I’m just fine with the way things are.”
The Saturn/Uranus double rulership of Aquarius also aptly represents all of these themes, but we’ll leave that for another post. All of these subjects should be especially in play over the next three weeks as Mercury retrogrades in Aquarius!
Prayer: Help us to learn how to dialogue with our daemons.
Image by courtesy of Gabriel C, at creative commons image licensing
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.