Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Moon April 24, 2009: The Wisdom in Community

In the New York Times Magazine this Sunday I read this quote, taken from an article entitled, “Why Isn’t the Brain Green?” by Jon Gertner: “In 2005 and 2006, an anthropologist observed how the behavior of poor Ugandan farmers could be influenced by whether they listened to crucial rainy-season radio broadcasts in groups or as individuals. Farmers in ‘community groups’ achieved consensus and made better use of the forecast.” The article describes studies done by scientists who want “to understand decision-making in situations of uncertainty.” Comparisons are made between the decision-making process for an individual and for groups. One of the scientists went on to say, “ We enjoy congregating; we need to know we are part of groups. It gives us inherent pleasure to do this. And when we are reminded of the fact that we’re part of communities, then the community becomes sort of the decision-making unit. That’s how we make huge sacrifices, like in World War II.”

Communities are playing a huge role in our world. It seems that every single page of the newspaper these days one finds something written about new online social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Cutting edge culture is about networking, communal action, global consciousness. It seems like we are now really at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the sign where all this energy fits. Three planets and the North Node of the Moon currently occupy Aquarius. Jupiter, riding the wave of all this collective expression, entered Aquarius in January 2009. Neptune has held court here since 1998. Chiron has been in Aquarius since 2005. All three of these planets are rendezvousing at 26 degrees Aquarius in May. Perhaps this near exact triple conjunction is the crest of the Aquarian wave that has been building since Neptune’s ingress into the sign. Astrologers are at odds about when the true dawning of the Age of Aquarius will be—it may be now, it may be in 200 years or so—but this month will be a good peek at what the new age has in store for our world.

What is the power of community? During this year while Jupiter is in Aquarius, we are inclined to believe that the power of community is the greatest power we have. That’s how Jupiter operates. There are two teachers in the zodiac. Jupiter is the cool professor whose classes are always full; the lessons are fun and seem to reveal something very important even as they disappear quickly from our memories. Saturn’s classes, in comparison, are unpopular, there is a lot of work, but we always remember what we learned in that class. Yes, Jupiter moves on more quickly, but with the added oomph of Neptune and Chiron, there is opportunity for a true shift in consciousness. We have the opportunity to focus less on our individuality and more on our collectivity. According to these scientists, this may be key to our survival.

The other teacher, Saturn continues to tread the ground of Virgo. Saturn stations direct this month, increasing the Saturn effect. In some ways, the two signs—Virgo and Aquarius—could not be more different from each other. Virgo is methodical, resists grand leaps of faith. It is hopeful only if all the practical groundwork has been laid down first. Otherwise, there is too much work for Virgo to be truly optimistic. If Aquarius describes communal life, then Virgo is the Hermit, the solitary energy of steadfastness. Whenever paradoxical energy is present, we can learn to navigate the middle path. What energy are you feeling more strongly? How can you benefit from broadening into the other point of view? The communal exuberance we may be experiencing right now can be grounded in the practicalities of Virgo.

The New Moon of April 24 has the Sun and Moon at 5° Taurus square to the nodes of the Moon. (North node at 4° Aquarius and South node at 4° Leo). This position of the New Moon is called “the bendings” of the nodal axis—a potent location in the zodiac. Emphasis is placed at this time on the nodes, what they are calling on us to learn (North node) and renew (South node). The agenda may be to learn how to be communal people once again. The renewal should occur in the arena of ineffective attitudes about individualism and ego. It isn’t that the Leo nature is bad, because it isn’t. Leo is necessary to our communal possibilities. But we need to reevaluate what has not worked about this energy in the past. The other fixed signs, Taurus and Scorpio get the spotlight this month. Taurus at the New Moon; Scorpio at the Full. These signs add the significance of life and death to the equation. What is abstract and theoretical in Aquarius and pure potential in Leo, needs to get real in Taurus and Scorpio. People with earth and water emphasis in their charts may feel relieved that the energy returns this month to this domain. When all fixed signs are activated like they will be this month, struggles can be intense. However, these struggles can also fuel our creativity and resolve.

Mercury’s role this month. In the New Moon chart Mercury in Taurus is square to Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune. Then it stations retrograde a few days later on May 6. Mercury is not only the Trickster. Mercury is also the lens that focuses our perceptions. If the energy of Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune has been somewhat nebulous so far, then this month through the trickster’s lessons, we may be able to define what this transit is about. Or maybe not. I never take Mercury retrograde periods for granted. If we are coming to rely heavily on our computers to link us to community, then Mercury is poised to wreak havoc on those systems. How else might we create community? Are we too dependent on computers and cell phones? My recommendation is to back up files. And to notice. Mercury retrograde periods are fantastic for noticing our assumptions and how they can get us into trouble.

The Full Moon chart shows Mercury retrograde at the degree of stationing. The Moon and Sun are squaring the triple conjunction of Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune. Both Mars and Venus are in Aries. Saturn is also stationary. As a complete picture, the energy is elevated. Impulsivity is increased with the squares and with Mars and Venus both in Aries. The stationing Saturn points to pent up energy, perhaps expecting more perfection from self and others. Mercury presents us with uncertainty. Perhaps the best use of this Full Moon period is to simplify daily life, at least for a few days. The caution is to not be so busy, and so dependent on computers and fast communication, that we aren’t able to tune into the spiritual significance of the planets in Aquarius.

We have always been communal creatures. However, the challenges of our world may be asking us to make better use of community so that we can make the changes we need to for the survival of our beloved planet and our beloved friends and families. Chiron shows us the opening in spirit where we can embrace this new way of being. May it lead to healing.

Dates important to our stories:
April 25 Mercury 25° Taurus square Chiron 25° Aquarius
April 25 Mercury 26° Taurus square Neptune 26° Taurus
April 26 Mars 3° Aries square Pluto 3° Capricorn
May 2 Venus 3° Aries square Pluto 3° Capricorn
May 6 Mercury stations retrograde 1° Gemini
May 8 Full Moon
May 16 Sun 25° Taurus square Jupiter 25° Aquarius
May 16 Sun 26° Taurus square Chiron 26° Aquarius
May 20 Mercury 26° Taurus square Neptune 26° Aquarius (2nd time)
May 20 Mercury 26° Taurus square Chiron 26° Aquarius (2nd time)
May 20 Mercury 26° Taurus square Jupiter 26° Aquarius (2nd time)
May 23 Jupiter conjunct Chiron at 26° Aquarius