New Moon in Leo to New Moon in Leo: The Lion Free of Ego
New Moon Greetings:
While the beginning of a lunation cycle is the Dark Moon and often signifies a time of releasing and unraveling into the unknown, this cycle will flounce in through Leo, asking for attention and activity. This trip of the Moon around the Earth heralds Eclipse Season, our biannual occasion to rebirth and renew ourselves at a rapid rate. Rebirth is in fact fourfold this season, with two New Moons (and one Solar Eclipse) in Leo, a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, and Mars beginning a new 2-year trip around the zodiac when it enters cazimi and shows itself on the other side of the Sun on July 26, at 4 degrees of Leo.
Besides the ever-expressive Sun and Moon, Mars is in fact our main player during this cycle of the Moon. His roughly 2-year (26-month) journey around the Sun carries us through the ever-evolving rhythms of the noble Warrior within. He is the god of the inner, archetypal fires. God of The Fight, for whatever cause that would compel us into combat. He entered Leo this Thursday on July 20, where he is more the gladiator than the analytical orator he was when in, for example, Gemini, where his last 2-year cycle began in 2015. However in Leo we see him donning the skins of lions he has battled in the past, absolutely visible, and of course illustrious. He might cut a comical figure if it weren’t for his capacity to tap into into the raw power of his vitality, well beyond preoccupation with his stout musculature.
When Mars passes through the redemptive fires of the Sun on July 26, he is scoured clean of any extraneous ego-detritus he picked up in his last 2-year cycle. This is an excavation, and we have been feeling it for some time already, as Mars has been combust since mid-July, meaning he has been overpowered by the rays of the sun, not visible to us on Earth. We’ve likely detected his thrashing within ourselves, in the throes of ego-death, either unaccustomed to selfless battle or veritably averse to it.
But a major theme of this lunation cycle is absolutely dropping the ego, and fighting for that which is beyond the thin skin that contains our organs. The pressure will be on to ask ourselves how our personal battles relate to something larger. With the New Moon in Leo today on July 23, we can relax a bit into personal projects, intuiting our ways through the esoteric process of breathing new life into that which makes us feel individuated, uniquely animated. However by the Full Moon partial Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on August 7, we’ll be looking at our relationship with the collective: collective fears and compulsions, and how we contribute to or heal them from within ourselves.
Shortly after the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will station Retrograde at 11 degrees of Virgo on August 12, and remain in its retrogradation phase until September 5, so, for the rest of this lunar cycle and then some. When Mercury goes retrograde, he punctures the realms and enters the Underworld. He now becomes Hermes, the psychopomp who ferries lost souls across the river Styx. This is a time of review, of recovering subterranean information that was not readily available in Mercury’s first transit over these degrees. Mercury will enter its pre-retrograde shadow (the degrees it will cross back over during its retrograde) tomorrow on Monday, July 24, so whatever energies you are engaging by then will be turned inside out and exposed for what the really are.
The exposure of Mercury Retrograde is more of a mental process than a heart-centered one, but the heart will have a heavy dose of lessons to extract during this retrograde as well, when Venus takes a series of hard hits from Pluto and Jupiter. We’ll be called again to come outside of ourselves in order to look long and hard at our intimate spheres, and how we work for or against balanced relationships and the embodiment of grace in the world.
When the “Great American” Total Solar Eclipse rolls in on August 21, visible across the United States, we will truly be tested. There are abundant doomsday prophecies floating around about the collapse of the West and America’s crumbling political system. While astrology is more useful as a tool for energetic preparation than auguring the future, it is hard to overlook the fact that this first Solar Eclipse visible in the United States in over a century does hit Trump’s chart where it hurts: it is literally exact on his Ascendant.
But let’s stick with metaphysics for now: this Eclipse is the Sun (solid sense of self or ego) in Leo (the loyal, royal lion) eclipsed by the Moon (intuition, or emotionality). Mars is involved, just 8 degrees away from the Eclipse, so what we have is an opportune moment to collectively attune our yang warriors to the yin. To allow ourselves to stalk the halls of our inner palaces and turn our ears to the uncanny messages the ghosts have to share with us, unafraid of the what hides in the shadows as the light flickers in and out. We cannot know every step of the way, but we can trust that wherever our steps lead us, the lessons provided will be providential and rich in lightening the ego. Perhaps we will shed our lion skins and open our hearts a bit, ready to devote our energies to some subtler realm of service.
New Moon in Leo: Empowerment Against the Odds
0’44 degrees Leo
2:45 am PST
This New Moon in Leo goes unaspected by any other planets, meaning it is has a heavy emphasis on Leonine energy. There are two mythological lions associated with Leo: one is the lion that Hercules killed as the first of his 12 labors, skinned, and whose pelt he wore as a protective cloak. The second is the lion from Ovid’s tale of Pyramus and Thisbe. This young couple is an older iteration of Romeo & Juliet, star-crossed lovers who met in secret against their parents’ will. One night they agreed to meet beneath a mulberry tree, and when Thisbe arrived, a lion sprang out of the thicket. She ran away in fright, but her veil fluttered to the ground behind her. When Pyramus arrived, he saw only the lion and Thisbe’s veil, and thinking his love had been killed, he threw himself onto his sword. When Thisbe returned, she saw her love dying, took his sword, and killed herself.
For this New Moon, let’s focus on the second lion. While rather sinister, we can draw out some useful lessons here, emphasized by other aspects in the sky, on the stark potentialities of the desire to expand into greater connectivity. It is risky business.
Venus at 20 degrees Gemini loosely opposes Saturn at 22 degrees Sagittarius, and Jupiter in Libra is very close to its final square with Pluto. During this Dark Moon, we are getting a taste of why it might be frightening to expand beyond the borders of our little bodies to connect with others. Death, shame, the fear of falling. There is no security in loving, only leaps into the unknown.
But with Mars conjunct this Sun and Moon at 1 degree of Leo, we have some verve today. Mars in Leo is the Hercules archetype, and so we have some courage to step into the unknown and risk our precious necks. This is not a bad day to launch into visibility the creative project you’ve been harboring behind the veil, to establish contact with some shadowy figure you've been infatuated with, or to travel to new places. Essentially, chances are good that you’ll have the energy to learn the art of flying (or swimming) when you step off that craggy precipice.
Mars Cazimi and Reborn: The Noble Warrior In The Hedge
Wednesday July 26
4 degrees Leo
Mars has been traveling through its own underworld for some weeks now, engaging a liminal space where the unconscious has overwhelmed his ego and he’s been subject to the eddying flow of dreamspace. When Mars in combust, or blocked out by the rays of the Sun, he loses much of his sense of glory but also, importantly, vainglory. On July 26 when he goes cazimi, traveling literally “in the heart of” the Sun, he passes through the harshest of the fires and he is reborn. And yet he is not yet out of the hedge. He is absolutely still engaging the necessary tests of endurance this psychologically murky space thrusts upon him.
Luckily, however, he has made it through the biggest trial in this underworld journey: he has shed his ego, and is born into his authenticity, bleary-eyed and so radically transformed he cannot help but feel the freshness. Do not reject this sensation. Because this rebirth occurs in Leo, we will certainly be faced with the fear of losing popularity, friendships, and self-flattering impressions as punishment for brashly charging into our authenticity. But this is precisely the fear we must face. Allow yourself to engage Beginner’s Mind, free of perceptions or pre-conceived notions that crowd out reality. If you have planets in the first 10 degrees of Leo, make an event of this day. Say something you’re scared to say or make an action you’ve denied yourself, even it seems like complete foolishness. Mars is now open-minded and optimistic regarding the second half of his underworld combustion, and the inner warrior is ready to face the 26 months of a new evolutionary cycle around the zodiac.
Jupiter in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn: Expanding into Karmic Arrival
Monday July 31
Both at 17 degrees
Due to retrogrades, Jupiter and Pluto have been in this grueling dance for over a year and a half now, and today is the final exact expression of this aspect. When Jupiter and Pluto square, we get tension between the personal agenda of elegant expansion, and the trans-personal, trans-historical reality of karmic limitations, of our inherent woundedness.
We’re liable to have trouble keeping the faith that we are moving in the right direction or capable of fully expanding into our perceived destinies. The most useful thing to remember is that we are always at every moment fully within our karmic arrival. Every step in your journey is where you’re meant to be. Every moment, travail, and triumph offers unique lessons that are tailored to the growth of your authentic self.
Venus enters Cancer: Holding the Heart In A Flat Open Palm
Monday July 31
Venus, our Aphrodite born from the sea, has been transiting Gemini since July 4, where she’s been exploratory, experimental, perhaps a bit incautious, but analytical. Cancer is a place where Venus returns to the sea, but if we’re not careful this may come as more a swing of the pendulum than the gentle transition we can have if we're astute. Suddenly this goddess of love and beauty may clam up, scramble behind the hardy shell of Cancer’s crab, and ponder how she could have ever been so brash as to associate with the diverse bunch of folks and facts that populated her Gemini season.
The trick is to remain vulnerable and expressive until someone bears a weapon. Only then does the shell go up. Until then, if Venus remains serene within her mindfulness, she will recognize that while she is no longer interested in roving curiosity where friends, lovers, or art are concerned, she ought not indiscriminately close the heart to new territory. She may stay at home more, but her task is to remain open to what energies visit her home, and to be forthright enough to continue forming genuine bonds with people or materials she feels genuinely drawn towards.
Uranus stations Retrograde: The Subtle Art of Getting Free
28 degrees Aries
Wednesday August 2
Uranus is an ostentatiously rebellious planet, obsessed with freedom and the future. Usually it’s transits signal breaking free at all costs, tearing down walls and busting up stodgy monuments. However when Uranus stations retrograde, it tends to see these things as slightly more menacing, and is more likely to find blinders on its eyes. Instead of responding to fearfulness or intimidation, we can use this retrograde as an opportunity to check ourselves. Are we strategizing properly about subverting the powers-that-be? Are we calling on our worldly wisdom rather than brash idealism? Remember that retrogradation is about review, so be willing to learn from past mistakes.
Full Moon Partial Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius: End of the Drought
Monday August 7
This Full Moon is, again an opportunity to accelerate rapidly in growth. In this case, Full Moon in Aquarius, it is trans-personal growth. We are aware of the unconventionality of justice for all. How true justice means the space for enormous variety. Aquarius is the water-bearer. The Babylonians associated Aquarius with the rainy month: it represented a flowing urn. This is when the rains fall to nourish the diversity of life on earth. This is not the act of swimming around in water we see with Pisces, it is the act of bestowing and receiving the powerful gift of water, which engenders life. Though Aquarius can feel cool and distant, it is radical in its ethics, prepared to contend for life in all its forms.
As far as aspects go, this Moon receives a waning semi-sextile from Pluto in Capricorn, a waxing semi-sextile from Neptune in Pisces, as well as a trine from Jupiter in Libra. This is quite a benevolent set of interactions, blessing us with a strong work ethic we can use to develop a constructive relationship with death by applying spiritual optimism, and the sense that it is well within our means to be gracefully in harmony with all beings, alive or passed.
Stay sober on this day (though this can be challenging on a Full Moon), as you will want to retain the cool-headed clarity of Aquarius. The polarity we are working with is the impulse to be rowdy, hot-headed, and visible (Sun and Mars are in Leo just 4 degrees apart), and the inner emotional pull towards quietly doing our work, visible to the public or not. Dedicate your energy to exploring where there is drought in your inner landscape. Open the once-dammed channels so that water flows and the perennials waiting to spring back into life can blossom again.
Venus in Cancer sextile Mercury in Virgo: The Mind Learns How To Love Too
Wednesday August 9
Mercury and Venus have been nearing this flirtatious aspect for some time. Because Mercury’s retrograde will involve quite a few deep lessons for the heart, take this day to find some congruity between your heart and mind. Mercury is exalted in Virgo and finds himself highly capable of service-oriented practicality. In this aspect he is learning how to serve the tenderness of Venus’s soft underbelly in Cancer. Be wary of Mercury’s tendency to over-analyze the occult workings of this Goddess of Love. She is not to be objectified, and so we must look within and see what a mysterious process of release and acceptance it is to simply love ourselves.
Venus in Cancer trine Neptune in Pisces: Easy Love
Friday August 11
This is a sweet moment of feeling like one can breathe underwater before getting hit by the more arid aspects Venus will see in the following week, but it is not without its tricks. While we enjoy Neptune's nutritive perfume of deep spirituality, we should be careful of falling in love with our gurus, and gullibility in the realm of love in general.
Mercury Retrograde at 11’38 degrees Virgo: Mothers of the Underworld
The Sabian symbol for 11 degrees of Virgo, where Mercury stations retrograde, reads: “a boy molded in his mother’s aspiration for him.”
Mercury opposes Neptune, the great dissolver of boundaries, as he stations retrograde. The tone for this Mercury retrograde then begins with the questions of what in the microcosm we want to dissolve into the macrocosm, and under the watchful gaze of what “mother” we want to mold ourselves. This is going to be a tough Mercury Retrograde for individuals with any mother complex. If we have reason to be averse to manipulative mothering, then we may resist losing our boundaries to a wider sphere of nurturing. To be nurtured can be eerie. We must be open to receiving care from the underworld. The key here is not to overthink it: Mercury is not clear-headed as he traverses the underworld. He is going by the perplexing lantern of memory, and the divining rod of intuition.
While the Neptune-Mercury Rx opposition makes us perhaps susceptible to delusion, we should be careful not to reject Mystery or darkness out-of-hand. This retrograde phase offers much alchemy to learn from the peculiar realms of those motivating mysteries: passion and compassion. Luckily, Mercury and Venus are still within the field of their friendly sextile, and the God of Reason and Goddess of Love are still exchanging convivial whispers.
Sun in Leo trine Saturn in Sagittarius: Optimism for the Wisdom of Limitation
Sunday August 13
This is a useful day for cheerfully understanding why we can’t do certain things at this time. Sun in Leo trine Saturn in Sagittarius is a bit like the moment Daniel of Karate Kid begins to see the reason behind Miyagi’s discipline. Life is full of trials, and though we want to get out there beyond practice and show our stuff, without a measured pace and balanced practice, the youthful vitality of the trainee is useless. Use this day to make friendly with a regular, disciplined practice. If you already have one, breathe some new life into it if you’re ready by sharing the skills you’ve developed with the world, be that your personal community or the world wide web. Gravity and grace will keep you on the ground today if you have a tendency to float away into insecurity.
Venus in Cancer opposes Pluto in Capricorn: The Gaping Maw of Love
Monday August 14
All sorts of psychoses, compulsive behaviors, and fears may fester throughout this day, and our task is to face them stoically. When Venus opposes Pluto, karmic wounds and the desire for love tend to work against one another. If you are an avoidant personality, take a look at why you flee intimacy. If you sidle easily into unhealthy relationships, look at what you’re turning away from by doing so. Whatever the case, stay open to learning what the underbelly of intimate relationships (both platonic and romantic) has to show you.
Remember that Pluto is the chthonic god who rules the dark underground, so the seeds of new life and new harvest are created within his realm. Glean these seeds as you face the darkness. If Persephone spent one sacrificial half of the year in Hades’ realm for the bounty of the earth, you can spend some days staring down his gaping maw for the bounty of unconditional love.
Venus in Cancer squares Jupiter in Libra: The Cautious Lover
Wednesday August 16
Venus catches another hard aspect when she finds herself at odds with the Jovial King in Libra. In this hard aspect, we may find ourselves asked to perform the most attractive sides of ourselves and resist, feeling as though the exposure cheapens our internal beauty. This self-protective side of Venus in Cancer is all well and good, but don’t sell yourself short. You can show yourself and still cultivate inner grace.
There may also be some romantic shut-downs around this day. If a partner, friend, or subject of infatuation refuses to give you what you desire or even ask for, don’t take it personally. The best thing to remember at this time is that nothing is personal and that being motivated in relationship by the idea of a specific outcome is a detrimental disposition. Authentic connection only comes when you can allow yourself and the other individual to grow into whatever alien thing each of you may become. As individuals grow, relationships have to change shape. This may be such a time. Don’t rush into condemnations or brash commitments around now. Allow the tension in the air to clear. This is not a day to propose to your loved one.
Mars in Leo sextile Jupiter in Libra: Airing it Out
Friday August 18
Following Venus’s harsh wake-up calls, there is a bit of excitation this Friday, creative and seductive energies wheeling through the air as we open to the possibilities held by the weekend and prepare ourselves for the upcoming Solar Eclipse. Mars is rather frolicking at this 19th degree of Leo: its Sabian symbol is “A houseboat party” and in this waxing sextile with Libra, Mars feels as though it could become anything and everything it desires at this party. If we are reckless, this energy could throw off the balance we need to cultivate for the ego-ravaging Eclipse of Monday. Careful of inflating the ego or being seduced by hollow glamour. However, allow the energy to wisp around you, kindling optimism around your own hero’s journey.
New Moon Total Solar Eclipse in Leo 28’52: The Lion Free of Ego
Monday August 21
With this New Moon Solar Eclipse, we get personal and collective transformation of epic proportions. It occurs at 28 degrees of Leo. The last few degrees of any sign are pivotal and feel tense as the Sun prepares to switch codes and enter a new frame of reference. Power lies in the capacity to be transmute tension into release and renewal. As though we haven’t received enough lessons in this throughout this lunar cycle, this is just one more beginning to deepening our integrity.
Fixed Star Regulus is the brightest star in the lion’s constellation and lies, appropriately, at the lion’s heart, at 29 degrees of Leo on the cusp of Virgo. This Eclipse takes place on Regulus, which happens to be the closest star to the ecliptic, the royal road of the Sun’s apparent path around the earth. It is certainly the most noble and regal of Leo’s stars, and because it lies on the cusp of Virgo in the last degrees of Leo, this is where we take the developed sense of our unique inner fires and how to perform them, and open them up to selfless service. This is where the lion sheds its ego and dons the cloak of the noble king, highly responsive to the needs of his people.
Let’s get something straight about the ego: while the ego is useless, sense of Self is not. Without the sense of who one is as a unique expression of the mysterious whole, people tend towards narcissm and excessive hunting for affirmation. This Total Solar Eclipse affords us the opportunity to tap into the reality that simply by being ourselves and fulfilling our distinct life paths while supporting others in fulfilling theirs, we are being of service.
Mars is involved here, very close to the North Node or Rahu, head of the dragon, snarling away from the past and bent toward the future. There is no looking back here. Our Warrior (Mars), our sense of Self (Sun), and our Soul (Moon) are all here at the present as it becomes the future. The future, of course, is unknown.
Retrograde Uranus is the other planet heavily involved, trining the Eclipse from 28 degrees of Aries. Though fluid, this is not a cute aspect. We can use it to our advantage: Uranian energy knows how to get free, but retrograde, it has undercurrents of obsession and psychosis. These shadow expressions of Uranus’s energy will certainly be seen in many across the States, but as long as you remain aware of these pitfalls and guard against them, you should make it through this Eclipse with battle scars you’ll be proud to bear in a decade’s time.
Finally, with Mercury retrograde as well, we are called to continue trusting our intuition. This is literally a dark day, full of chthonic energies that surpass the rational mind’s capacities. But the dark is your friend. Trust that what it has to show you is of value, and this Eclipse will purge you of the ego’s limiting dross, and provide you with a sense of exhilarating wonder that will reverberate through your consciousness for many months to come.
Many blessings in this Eclipse Seasons,
If you'd like more insight from Amalia on how these transits affect your personal blueprint, book a Birth Chart reading with her by clicking the link below.