By Len Wallick
Tonight at 11:08 pm EDT (overnight in the United Kingdom and Europe; Tuesday in Australia), the Moon will make a conjunction to the Sun in mid-Leo. A conjunction is two points at the same degree of the same sign on the wheel of the zodiac. Once every 29 days or so, that happens with Luna and Sol and it is what we call the New Moon. Today’s New Moon is close to the Leo midpoint, which is an especially sensitive point; the New Moon is talking to the cardinal T-square that we’ve been describing on these pages and can be seen as a precipitating event.
What is unique about this New Moon is that it makes aspects to many different minor planets, and is a kind of grand cross of its own. For example, Damocles and Nessus are opposite the New Moon in Aquarius, and it’s square the very distant planet Sedna in Taurus. I’ll come back to these aspects, which are calling for extra attention in our relationships.
We do not see the Moon at the time of the New Moon. It is situated directly between Earth and the Sun longitudinally. As such, the side of the Moon facing Earth is in shadow and not visible in the sky. When the New Moon takes place at or near the same degree as one of its nodes it is also a latitudinal conjunction with the Sun and we see Luna as a shadow crossing in front of the Sun, known as a solar eclipse. That happened a month ago. So this is the first New Moon after a lunar eclipse.
The New Moon is the beginning of a new cycle. It takes place in the context of a cardinal T-square that we’ve been writing about pretty much nonstop. Uranus and Jupiter are currently both retrograde in early Aries. Pluto, is currently retrograde in early Capricorn. Saturn is in early Libra, where it will be till late 2012.
These are the slow-movers in the setup. They cover three points of the cardinal cross, with other subtle points completing the cross from Cancer. Then the fast-movers come along: for example, they are joined by Venus and Mars, all direct in early Libra. And, once a month, the Moon comes along and completes the cross from Cancer, joining those ‘subtle points’ just mentioned. This will hold in a dependable pattern for many months: slow movers moving along, and the fast movers coming through and picking up or emphasizing the dynamic.
The implication of the cardinal T-square is that the long-lasting patterns and cycles of the future are being created now. Like the day of the New Moon, our age is a time of demarcation. It is an opportunity for everyone lucky enough to be alive, an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Its also an opportunity to take responsibility for the future.
The eclipse cycle of late June and early July followed by Saturn’s second ingress to Libra have lent a theme of relationship to this phase of the cardinal T-square. Relationship to ourselves, to partners, to our families, our communities and to our planet. All relationships start with awareness and with our selves. The extent to which each of us is aware of our own existence is how we begin. It may seem silly to state the obvious until we consider how much time and energy we expend entirely focused on other things.
When we are struggling to maneuver safely through automobile traffic before and after a long day of making a living to someone else’s satisfaction it is almost as if we are outside of our own bodies. When we get home, how many of us then indulge in the distraction of some television before collapsing into not enough sleep and starting over? When our mental and physical health begins to fail, how many of us resort to ingestion of a substance which masks and separates us from the cause of those dysfunctions?
When do we avail ourselves of the opportunity to listen to our heart, feel our pulse and notice the messages our limbs and organs are sending to us? How often do we take the time to sort out and be present with what we are perceiving, how we are responding and the effect those responses have on others?
Tonight’s New Moon in Leo is the synchronous opportunity to make some new decisions about these things. The ruler of Leo is the Sun. In astrology, the Sun represents not just the self, but the conscious self, the part of us that is aware, organized and realistic, from which we create as an expression and extension of our awareness. Ideally, when the Sun is in Leo it is empowered to express itself to the fullest.
In astrology, the Moon is associated with emotional and unconscious patterns as well as the child that lives inside us as a connection to our past. In conjunction with the Sun in the sign ruled by the Sun, there is the opportunity to unify and reconcile the elements of our existence in a state of conscious awareness, thus refreshing our own relationship to ourselves.
The sign that opposes Leo is Aquarius, traditionally ruled by Saturn, in recent history assigned Uranus as a somewhat arbitrary dispositor. Just as Leo is representative of the conscious individual, Aquarius represents the limiting aspects of the collective in which the individual is a participant. These limits are not necessarily a bad thing. They help us to define ourselves. The resulting definitions assist us in the process of finding our place in the collective so as to participate in it and draw nourishment from it.
As befitting the opposition between Leo and Aquarius, the relationship between the individual and the collective is one of continuous negotiation. It’s an inherently tricky process because it is not balanced. Any given individual’s need is greater than his or her power. This sets up the potential for abuse of the individual which in turn creates the possibility that the collective may become impaired and dysfunctional.
Opposing tonight’s Leo New Moon, Aquarius has a conjunction of its own consisting of the minor planets Nessus and Damocles. The opposition of these two conjunctions along the axis of these two signs brings a focus to the dynamics of relationship between the consciously integrated self and the power of the collective.
Nessus is among the minor planets classified as centaurs. Astronomically they are characterized by having unstable orbits and indeterminate composition (not quite a comet but not quite anything else either). Astrologically, they have come to be associated with the psychological concept of shadow material, the residue of past trauma that we have carried forward, influencing our response to the present.
Nessus in particular is associated with the trauma of abuse. The experience of abuse can take many forms. It can be physical, leaving visible, tangible evidence as a reminder. It can also be mental, spiritual and emotional leaving no outward scars, only a programmed response. In every case, however, abuse is perpetrated by a party in possession of greater power over another. That’s the reason the early years are when we all become acquainted with the concept of abuse by receiving it. Among human beings, none are conferred less power than children. So it is that the shadow material is accumulated even before we have become fully self-aware and individuated. It seems to be a part of life. We react to it because we have to but we are ill-equipped to examine or question it.
That’s also how abuse perpetuates itself. As we mature and acquire power, the most common way for us to express the shadow material carried forward is to abuse those of less power. This is especially the case with our own children or children in our care.
The opportunity offered by Nessus in aspect is to stop the cycle. This is one of the greatest challenges any human can face. Many of us never get it done. First, it requires awareness. That’s difficult because time and compensation make the experiences of childhood difficult to retrieve. Then we have to bring ourselves present to our behavior in the moment. It is quite a challenge to be conscious of unconscious behavior.
So it is a process of building recognition skills. First, recognizing after the fact when we have been abusive, admitting it to ourselves and others, taking responsibility and making meaningful amends to regain trust. Next, to recognize the behavior as it is happening rather than being entirely lost in it so as to pull back before acting it out completely. Finally to recognize the emotional precursors inside ourselves so as to exercise restraint before the behavior is exhibited.
Building those skills not only benefits those who would be the subject of our abuse, it also brings us to awareness of the abuse we often unconsciously receive. This is where we begin to develop some ability to negotiate with the collective. It is also where the other minor planet in the Aquarius conjunction comes in.
The parable of Damocles is more the stuff of legend than myth. It deals with what we today would call a teaching moment between a mature, consciously aware ruler and a callow youth. Given the role of ruler for a day, the youth is in the midst of abusing power by indulging privileges and neglecting responsibilities when he chances to look up. Above the youth’s head, suspended by a single hair, is a sword. The lesson is that power is inherently perilous and that the difference between absolute privilege and absolute destruction is but a single fiber.
So it is that the new lunar cycle beginning tonight can represent the beginning of a new level of relationship between the individual and the collective. It is a beginning we can actually accomplish in our own lives. It begins with coming into integrity within ourselves and continues taking that awareness outwards. We recognize when we are abused rather than absorbing it unconsciously or out of fear. We accept responsibility for the experience (and possibly abuse) we receive from the collective and its representatives — because no one of us can hope to change the greater alone.
We can take this responsibility by being aware of where and how we give away the power the collective has over each of us. We can become aware of how we can act individually and in numbers to take that power back when it is expressed as abuse. We can thus make those who possess power aware of the peril of their abuse. We can be the hair, which in the long run is far more sustainably useful than being the sword.
Then we can carry the same yoga forward to the future: awareness, presence, recognition and responsibility. These practices will empower us to move beyond our common shadow material to utilize the opportunity of our time and create new cycles of nourishment, healing and creativity for us all. Just like any other day, it’s a chance to start fresh if we will give ourselves the opportunity. Just like any other opportunity, it is best not put off until another day lest it be gone.
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