Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Moon August 20, 2009: Gifts, Service, and Honey

From Leo’s light to Virgo’s practice. This month’s lunar cycle navigates another cusp between signs (see last month’s blog about the cusp between Cancer and Leo). This time the cusp is between Leo and Virgo. The signs are products of the seasons; they are the story that Time tells us about place and pattern. Now in this season of late summer Leo describes the waning golden light reflected in the seed-laden grasses of the prairie and in the warm, glowing fruit of the vine. The gifts of the harvest mirror back to us Leo lessons about our own gifts and self-worth. My astrology teacher, Cynthea Jones of Diana’s Grove says, Leo is the sign that is jumping up and down screaming: “Pick me! Pick me! I need you to see me. I need you to need me.” This energy shifts in the Virgo season. Now, we get down to serious harvesting. This is the time to begin planning ahead: What will we need for the winter? How do we organize the food larder? Virgo time is an industrious time of canning, freezing, drying, and collecting.

The New Moon occurs at the end of Leo. By the Full Moon, Virgo energy is in full force. Last month I wrote about the beginning of Leo and the King Arthur story. That story continues into the cusp between Leo and Virgo. Here in this transition the boy King has grown up and is now ready to move into the next phase of rulership—service to the kingdom. Through humility, service, practice, and discernment, Virgo refines Leo’s gifts. This month is a good time to reflect on how we wish to refine our own gifts to the world.

Leo story. This lunar month, the Nodes of the Moon move out of the Aquarius/Leo polarity where they have been for the last 19 months and into the Capricorn/Cancer polarity. The nodes show us the growing edges and the karmic debts of the moment. The North Node of Aquarius has invited us to explore Aquarian ideals of community, technology, and visions. The South Node in Leo has offered us the opportunity to reprogram our beliefs and actions around self-worth, creativity, and leadership. The triple conjunction of Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron in Aquarius is also a part of this story. These three planets have created a tsunami of Aquarian energy. Neptune washes us in the possibilities of connection, technological advances, and grass root actions. Just yesterday in the New York Times, I read that the U.S. Army was allowing service members of any rank to collectively edit their operations manuals online through a wiki. This is Aquarian revolution. I wonder if in our collective thrill to embrace Aquarian ideals, we aren’t losing the individual—the realm of Leo. Certainly, there continues to be lots of ways we need to elevate the expression of Leo in our culture. Negative expressions of Leo may manifest as the way we glamorize others who are more beautiful or famous than we are, need a great deal of attention to feel good about ourselves, or believe that we must act alone to get anything done. The South Node can represent where we are blocking the more positive aspects of a sign through karmic events or patterns. Over the past 19 months, and especially in the months when there was an eclipse, we have had the opportunity to rethink what we believe about our self-worth.

Capricorn story. Influences of Pluto in Capricorn gear up again as the North Node moves into Capricorn for a year and a half transit. Through the energy of Capricorn we reach for excellence, stability, and responsibility. Culturally, Capricorn represents hierarchy, ambition, and authority. As Pluto transits Capricorn for the next 14 years, Capricorn issues will be transformed on personal and cultural levels.

Another influence in the Capricorn story happens when Pluto stations direct this month. (See date below.) In April, Pluto stationed retrograde, journeying deeper into the Underworld’s shadows and perhaps receding from consciousness a bit. Now, Pluto begins to return to the surface. The volcano is an apt Plutonic image. When Pluto reaches the degree of the zodiac where it turned retrograde, which will happen on December 31, 2009, we can expect new lava to flow over dysfunctional Capricorn systems. Stations are powerful times. Pluto will still be stationary on the Fall Equinox when the Sun will exactly square this powerful Pluto. The fall is sure to be a more dynamic time with this planet influencing the energy. I will write more about the fall season in next month’s edition.

Virgo story. Two planets are found in Virgo in the New Moon chart: Saturn and Mercury, Virgo’s ruler. Both of these planets point to the potential and to the stress of this New Moon chart. Mercury aids Virgo’s mission—to improve through practice, to serve humbly, to create perfection through discernment—yet Mercury can be unpredictable and jittery. Saturn contributes an unrelenting focus on Virgo desires and we may succumb to extreme self-criticism through this force. There is so much potential in this New Moon yet we’ll have to practice self-love to reach that potential. Uranus is opposite this pair of planets, promising breakthroughs but also creating stress. The ongoing influence of Saturn opposite Uranus returns for the third time month. [See past editions on this transit that began November 2008.] This planetary configuration will influence the health care reform debate and outcome. Forces of change (Uranus) are in opposition to forces of conservation (Saturn). Yet this Saturn is in the sign of health –Virgo. I am reminded that even though it seems that the opposing forces want radically different things, they actually both want to improve health care. Perhaps this realization will allow us to move forward in what seems like a stalemate. I keep thinking that the opposition between Saturn and Uranus is telling me to choose the third path and reject old polarities. Since Mars will also be squaring (challenging aspect) Mercury, Saturn, and Uranus, as well, we might expect that any smoldering tensions may blow up this month. It is important to look out for any of these stressors in our own lives and make conscious choices about how we want to use our will and passion.

The New Moon is dramatic not only because of these Virgo influences but also because the Sun and Moon are located opposite the triple conjunction of Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron. This opposition is in turn part of an aspect pattern called a Boomerang Yod (increasing stress, crisis in understanding, sense of destiny). At the bottom of the Yod triangle, Mercury and Saturn are in sextile aspect to Venus in Cancer. These planets are in quincunx aspect to the planets in the triple conjunction. The quincunx aspect is about striving to understand or account for paradox. There is again great potential this month to understand what these three planets in Aquarius are telling us and how we are changing our culture in response.
If the first two weeks of this lunar cycle seem stressing yet illuminating, the Full Moon invites in the unexpected resolution offered by the Trickster. Mercury is stationary in the Full Moon chart and turns retrograde two days later while being square to Mars. Stationary Pluto is also part of this story. In the worst cases, Pluto influences us to need control over the unexpected; Mars can influence rash choices; and Mercury invites the unexpected. The opposition of the Sun in Virgo and the Moon in Pisces may offer peace and calm. Pisces reminds us to see the whole pattern and merge with it; Virgo reminds us that small, practical steps can make a big difference.

A Virgo spell. On August 22, Saturn reaches the degree where it turned retrograde in December of 2008. This means that from August to January 2010, when Saturn stations retrograde again, this planet will be covering new ground. Each of us has new Saturn lessons in store. For this month, these lessons are all about working with change and creating perfection—big issues. I am planning to work with a honey spell for this month to help me with these energies in my life. Bees are wonderful Virgo allies—they work tirelessly. Their systems of creating the hive, caring for their young, making and storing honey are very Virgoan. In fact the bliss and sweetness of honey is a great reminder that Virgo’s work can create rich blessings. I thank Donald Engstrom for creating and introducing me to honey spells.

How I work with honey. First I create an intention. It is helpful if the intention can be said as a short poem or song or statement that is easy and delightful to repeat. Then I select my honey. I like to work with small jars of single source honey, for instance Marsh Flowers honey, or honey that is produced locally by people I respect, or honey from special places dear to my heart. Next, I charge the honey with my intention, by holding the honey and singing to it, placing it on my altar where it can capture sunlight or candlelight, and I also like to draw symbols on the jar that represent my intention. Then I taste the honey, saying my prayer, letting the sweetness creep and flow onto my tongue and throughout my body. I taste this honey whenever I need it. I remember to thank and bless the bees. If you decide to work with a honey spell this month, I’d love to hear about it.
Bless the bees.

Dates important to our stories.

August 21 North Node of the Moon enters Capricorn
August 21 Mercury 25° Virgo opposite Uranus 25° Pisces
August 22 Sun enters Virgo
August 25 Mercury 0° Libra square Mars 0° Cancer
August 26 Mercury 0° Libra square Pluto 0° Capricorn
August 26 Mars 0° Cancer square Pluto 0° Capricorn
September 4 Full Moon
September 6 Mercury stations retrograde 6° Libra
September 11 Pluto stations direct 0° Capricorn
September 15 Saturn 24° Virgo opposite Uranus 24° Pisces
September 17 Sun 24° Virgo opposite Uranus 24° Pisces
September 17 Mercury 0° Libra square Pluto 0° Capricorn
September 17 Sun 24° Virgo conjunct Saturn 24° Virgo