New Moon in Aquarius, February 18, 2015

February 16, 2015 by  

New Moon at 29.59 Aquarius February 17, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh: Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon, 1890.

The New Moon of February 18 is the second new Moon in Aquarius this year. Two new moons in one sign are rare, as if two trees grow from one seed. February offers second chances in whatever area of one’s life is represented by Aquarius. Now is a time of return, underlined by the recent Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Yet we cannot step in the same river twice, for other waters are ever flowing on to us, as said by Heraclitus. Even if it seems that we are doing something again, it really will be different this time. We are now poised at the edge of a metamorphosis disguised as a repetition.

The New Moon occurs in the term of Saturn, using the system of Egyptian terms. Given that the classical domicile ruler of Aquarius is also Saturn, this gives the New Moon a serious, Saturnian flavor, with a tinge of permanence. Aquarius and Saturn both embody long-lasting influences; Aquarius is a fixed sign, and Saturn is the most superior, and thus enduring, of all the planets. The fruits of our new phase will be with us for a long time. We are now putting down roots.

New Moon February 17, 2015, set for San Francisco, California

New Moon February 18, 2015, set for San Francisco, California

The need for change is felt keenly in the last ten degrees of Aquarius, and we desperately wish to just leave things behind. We are done. Austin Coppock’s book, 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans, summarizes the dissatisfaction of this decan as follows: “On a spiritual level, this face represents disenchantment with the fabric of everyday life and its petty terrors. It is divine discontent, the same that Siddhartha Gautama felt before he left his comfortable home.” (p 239) This New Moon is eager to leave the present and stride into the unknown future. At 29.59 degrees of Aquarius, we see the very last part of the transition. We may need to do some cleanup, but this New Moon definitively closes one door and opens another.

The New Moon will be especially potent if it is within 6 degrees of a planet, and to a lesser extent, an angle. Six degrees is the moiety (half-orb) of the Moon according to tradition. In this case, the lunation does not aspect other planets, so its character is essentially unimpacted by other planets.

Pushing Power: Astrology 101

February 9, 2015 by  

pushing power astrology - Psyche entering Cupid's Garden

Psyche Entering Cupid’s Garden – John William Waterhouse, 1905

Pushing power is a term found in many traditional texts. It is also called the gift of power, gift of virtue, and pushing strength. The principle is simple: a planet in one of its own dignities (planet A)  applies to aspect another planet B. It’s not very complicated, right? Planet A is pushing its own power, which comes from being in its dignity, to planet B. The gift of planet A’s power enables planet B to act.

So what does “pushing power” mean in a horoscope? In The Beginning of Wisdom, the 12th century rabbi/astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra says “If the Lord of the Ascendant gave power to the Lord of the house of the matter sought, what is sought will be gotten according to his wishes…” (Introductions to Traditional Astrology, edited/trans. by Ben Dykes, Chapter III.16 “Pushing Power.”) Ibn Ezra is talking about pushing power in a horary context. We want planet A (the ruler of the Ascendant) to be essentially dignified, or at least not lacking in dignity, so that it is in a position to help itself as it aspects the ruler of the quesited house.

Example of Pushing Power in a Horary

In this horary, the Moon in its domicile is pushing its power to Venus, promising the desired outcome. How would you answer if the question was “will this debt get repaid?”

Moon pushing power to Venus

Horary: Moon pushing power to Venus

What if planet A, not planet B, is the ruler of the matter sought after (also known as the quesited in horary)? For instance, the ruler of the second house of money, in one or more of its essential dignities, applies to the ruler of the Ascendant. Ibn Ezra goes on to say about this possibility that obtaining the sought after thing “will be without labor.” This makes sense, since the quesited matter goes to the querent instead of the querent having to make an effort to get it.

Finally, consider this scenario: When planet B is retrograde, it can push power to planet A, assuming planet B is in its own dignities. In that scenario, we have both A and B pushing power to each other, each helping the sought after matter come to the querent.

Mercury sextile Saturn (again) February 5, 2015

February 3, 2015 by  

Mercury sextile Saturn, Couple in a Fantasy Costume by Ferdinand Bol

Couple in a Fantasy Costume by Ferdinand Bol, 17th c.

It is always a strange time when aspects get made, then re-made, then re-made once more. In January and February, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius sextiles Saturn in Sagittarius three times. The dates for Mercury sextile Saturn are, in Pacific Time, January 5 (Mercury direct), February 5 (Mercury retrograde), and February 19 (Mercury direct).

January 5: Mercury 1 Aquarius sextile Saturn 1 Sagittarius.
February 5: Mercury 3 Aquarius sextile Saturn 3 Sagittarius.
February 19: Mercury 4 Aquarius sextile Saturn 4 Sagittarius.

If either planet makes a close aspect to a planet or angle in your natal horoscope, you will have experienced their dynamic through January and into the first half of February.

Mercury sextile Saturn describes a process that began in early January and will complete in mid-February. Serious or practical communications, such as important documents, contracts, or negotiations will be important during this time. Research and moving house are possible. Mercury is retrograde in a fixed sign, so the process will go slowly and seem to drag on and on. Slowness is characteristic of fixed signs, retrograde motion, and Saturn. Mercury, ordinarily a fast planet, must be very frustrated. Mercury is in Aquarius for each of these sextile aspects to Saturn, so throughout the process Mercury is received by Saturn into Saturn’s domicile. Reception by a malefic helps ensure that the relationship is constructive, though not necessarily fun or easy.

Mercury sextile Saturn Rejection (the Opposite of Reception)

One more twist on this sextile is that Saturn is placed in Sagittarius, which is the detriment of Mercury (I thank the Starlight Knight blog for drawing my attention to this “rejection.”) The medieval astrologer Sahl bin Bishr describes this scenario. Applied to our Mercury sextile Saturn in Sagittarius: “It was as if [Saturn] came to [Mercury] from the house of [Mercury’s] greatest enemy, and [Mercury] will not receive [Saturn], does not come near it, nor esteem it.” (The Works of Sahl and Masha’allah, trans. Benjamin Dykes. The Introduction, Section 5.9, p. 32-34)

Mercury sextile Saturn describes a finely balanced negotiation, reflecting delicate, drawn-out operations and diplomatic maneuvers. One party (Mercury) has serious reservations about the relationship, but cannot let go (repeated sextile). The other party is quite welcoming (Saturn receiving Mercury), but the welcome is insufficient for Mercury to commit to the terms offered by Saturn. How will it end? Saturn is a superior planet, while Mercury is inferior. All things being equal, Saturn is more likely to get its way than Mercury.