This sculpture by Kees Verkade, “Tightrope Walker” was part of my Aries full moon meditation today.
I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t been writing as much. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I’ve just been more reserved. I’m wondering how much this instinct to become more private is connected with my progressed moon having recently entered Scorpio. The progressed moon symbolizes our evolving emotional needs and states, and its 2¼-year length is helpful to explore in terms of significant emotional phases throughout our lives.
When my moon progressed into airy Libra I started writing and communicating more in general. I wrote and shared more about relationships – strategies for connecting and finding common ground. I felt compelled to check in. My counseling practice picked up. Even through a divisive presidential election I tried to show respect to people with differing opinions – a huge stretch for a Sagittarius. I was learning to be more considerate.
My moon progressed to Scorpio this summer while I was on a Holocaust Remembrance Trip in Europe with my family. I haven’t written much about the trip because there’s so much to unpack psychologically, and at the same time I’m aware that what I saw and felt over two weeks pales in comparison to what millions of people lived through. In the Jewish Museum of Prague I photographed these children’s drawings from the 1940s. Their teacher, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, held secret therapeutic art classes in the Terezín ghetto, determined to connect the children to beauty and inspiration even as their lives got more restricted and terrifying. Eventually Dicker-Brandeis was sent to and killed at Auschwitz. I still think about her, trying to understand the evil that she was up against, wondering how I also can be an instrument of love and hope even in darkness. And it’s not always clear to me. It’s just a question. Sometimes the darkness is so potent.
I’ve become more aware of these kinds of difficult truths – how life can be unfair or cruel. And I think it’s giving me more empathy. Fellow water signs Cancer and Pisces are more often touted for their compassion and ability to love. But I’m starting to believe that Scorpio doesn’t get enough credit. With its penetrating ability to plumb the murky and intense, I wonder if the fixed water energy of Scorpio is partly about finding the strength to continue to love and empathize even when it would be tempting to shut out or shut down. Developing the right protections to carry a sensitive soul, like Cancer, renewing in dreamy darkness, like Pisces, but with the reliability of fellow fixed signs Taurus and Leo: You can depend on me. I’m not going away.
Somehow progressed moon signs or phases kick in when we need them to, when we are ready or when life is ready for us to express a new quality. Right before my moon progressed to watery Scorpio, Lyndon’s moon progressed to fiery Aries. Lyndon’s rising to the challenges of his new middle school: changing classes for the first time, meeting new friends, taking responsibility for his homework and grades. I see a decisiveness that wasn’t there when his progressed moon was in Pisces. Then he was more likely to be swayed by what other people said or just to try to blend in and not make waves. Now he’s speaking up with a budding confidence. I have to check myself when he’s a little harsh with me: Do I point it out to him or let him practice this new voice until he gets the right balance? Aries and Scorpio make an uncomfortable aspect to each other – a quincunx – and the two of us try our best to adjust to each other these days. We both can be a little too spiky. In some ways Lyndon is over-confident: He fervently debates that he’s old enough to take two subways and walk a mile by himself to get home from school every day. I counter that parents have a sense in their guts about what’s safe for their children. He doesn’t buy it. But I need to honor my strong intuition, too. He’s 11. It was only last year that he was the spacey kid who got a pencil stuck in his forehead. (For the full story, see my Parenting with Astrology webinar.) So I send him for smaller trips alone and see how he does. I defer when he tells me he’s too old this year to take a Christmas card photo. That’s a hard one for me. But I have to make sure I don’t come off as too authoritarian while he’s learning an Aries sense of his own power.
If I didn’t practice astrology, I could still find a language for what Lyndon is experiencing through developmental stages. And thank God there are so many ways for us to figure out meaning and next steps. But the progressed moon is a simple tool that helps me on a daily basis to understand emotional landscape and phases and cut myself and my family more slack.
I have two more years in Scorpio territory, and I don’t know what that will mean for me as a mother or wife, artist or astrologer, woman or simply a human. The progressed moon in Scorpio merges two symbols of mystery. And so I’m very much exploring right now. The clients who have come for readings lately seem to want to sit in deep space together. I love that. Yet I also feel socially awkward navigating this depth in other settings. What’s appropriate to share and with whom? I’m not always sure. Part of Scorpio is discerning between privacy that feels good or right and privacy that just reinforces a sense of shame.
Both Aries and Scorpio can be powerful, passionate and extreme. They’re both ruled by Mars – the red planet and God of war. And so for the next two years Lyndon and I might not always be so comfortable to be around. We might have to push back in situations we last year would have tolerated. We might have to tell harsh or awkward truths, to each other and to the outside world. In some ways that’s exciting, and I’m happy to be aligned with my child in this way. I have an Aries moon natally and I’m curious to see those energies reflected in Lyndon for the next two years. What will I admire? What will I see that I don’t like? What might I be able to help him understand? How will seeing Aries in Lyndon help me embrace untapped courage and leadership, too?
In two days transiting Mars will enter Aries; it’ll stay in Aries until Valentine’s Day. For Lyndon and me, this will ramp up the intensity and focus of our progressed moons. For all of us in some area, the symbols represent willpower and desire, boundaries and bravery. Pay attention to any unrest or passion, aggression, excitement, or fear you notice, either around you or within you. The next two months will be rife with opportunities to act and react – to challenge our natural patterns and try ways that feel more aligned with who we are right now.
I hope for me that means challenging myself to shed some of the shell I’ve been fortifying myself under – or at least exchanging it for a larger one that leaves space for more company. And so if you’d like to explore your progressed moon or your child’s, please reach out to me. The moon is a symbol of life’s natural phases of growth and renewal. It rules parenting and childhood, our inner life and creativity and our ability to recover and heal. It reveals the most tender parts of us. It can be an act of love to ourselves just to sit in that space, alone or with another: to feel, to wonder, to marvel – at where we’ve been, who we are and who we’re still becoming.
Yesterday a reader of my posts reached out to me to ask me how I’m doing. I haven’t written in a while. The truth is with my 1st House Aries moon I’m a person of passionate phases, and some (like my Whitney Houston phase) last and some (like my Madonna phase) don’t. I can’t rush or fake them. They confuse even me. I was wondering if writing might be another of my phases.
The past month I’ve looked at the daily aspects but haven’t known what to say about them. I couldn’t find my voice. I was hoping that when Neptune stationed direct last week I would be clearer. I wanted to be helpful and productive again.
I sat down yesterday to write something about the moon in Leo, but this came out instead. The current Mercury retrograde began at the same degree as my natal Neptune, and I’m still in a Neptune-y fog. Neptune can represent dreams, images, poetry, water, inspiration, loss, confusion, longing, and oneness with God and all that is.
I don’t know if this is a poem or a reflection. The moon is still in Leo, combining feeling and mystery with the risk of showing and sharing who we really are. Today I am nebulous and in-between, but still wanting to connect and wish you peace.
Sometimes I don’t water the plants in my office,
even when I know they’re thirsty.
Instead we behold each other,
desolate and parched.
One day could become five or seven.
I might water this plant but not those.
I never know how much company I’ll need in my yellowed, drooping state
or for how long.
The tips of their leaves turn brown
until finally I’m moved to save them
with water and not just what’s left of my tea.
The next day they’re greener, grateful.
Maybe I’m not a lily of the field
but a potted plant
on a dusty sill:
Long- waiting and wilted,
Then, suddenly, saved.
The new moon that began this cycle symbolized the Virgo ideal: The worldly connecting us to the holy, like Barbara Brown Taylor's metaphor of laundry as prayer flag. Some part of our home base and identity takes on a level of higher meaning and becomes sacred through attention and ritual. But Virgo, as it seeks and reaches perfection, is a mutable sign. We never really stay “there”, or “there” changes.
And… so must we. This week's Aries full moon is revealing what’s no longer working as is through tension, passion, and conflict. It carries the energy of wanting to break out or break away – to shake free of complacency. Exploration. Fight. Flight. The Libra sun is rebalancing the scales somewhat. What truly fits or is fair now?
When I was growing up, the Thursday night NBC line-up was a big deal in our house. As New Yorkers in a large family The Cosby Show felt like watching ourselves: The doting husband, the sassy Mom, the occasional songs and choreographed dances. Eleven years ago, as Lang and I were about to start our own family, a Cosby Show marathon on the maternity room TV helped us relax, and even laugh, through some of my labor.
Yesterday Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison for drugging and sexually assaulting women.
Whenever Libra is involved, the paradox of two truths plays a role, and that’s a big message of Monday's full moon. It’s true that I'm nostalgic about The Cosby Show. It’s true that I stand with survivors of sexual abuse. But Saturn in Capricorn was the apex of that t-square between the Libra sun and full Aries moon. Now that I’m an adult, which truth is more important? And are they really equal?
I noticed that Lyndon is starting that walk-half-a-block-ahead-of-your-mother phase. He’s using teenaged phrases like, “Whatever”— but softly, carefully — like the first time you say a word in a foreign language. I’m usually the one forging ahead: the coach. But at this stage Lyndon is learning boldness, directness, and independence, and I’m learning a more supportive role, and often a more worried one: Will he look both ways when he crosses the street? Will he hug me for a full five seconds? The other morning as I automatically straightened out the waistband of his sweatpants, it dawned on me: I really should ask before I do that. It’s a matter of respect I simply never considered before.
Whether we’re learning to be more assertive or more cooperative – or both – this week can be emotionally tense and jarring, as we realize we need to draw or accept new boundaries, as we take on new patterns of being and relating.
Some behaviors are no longer appropriate. And some have never been appropriate, but now our eyes are open. The Aries full moon reminds us: Take an honest look before deciding something's sacred or even simply fine as-is. For all of us on some level, it's time for a change.
We're accountable in a way we haven't been before.
Today Mars in Aquarius squares Uranus in Taurus. This is a closing square that relates to their conjunction or joining in Aries in late February 2017.
Mars square Uranus is a stressful energy. I’m gonna be real with you. This one stumped me, because I always read the sky as a message from a God who loves us. Why would we ever need more stress???
Virgo season is about doing the best we can in the human condition. Discriminating how we can do better and be useful to each other here on earth. Today’s moon/Pluto conjunction symbolizes that it’s time for some deeper reflection.
Think about your effort and progress over the last year and a half. Is there any resource or relationship you have now that you didn’t have or realize then? Think about all the scary things you’ve faced and survived. How has a group joined or supported you?
Today try to feel any love that has helped settle you and notice any progress in your personal fight. Unfortunately, it’s not over. But in some ways that’s actually a good thing, because what we’ve learned can now help others.
In the end, the fight was never really about just us.
The Aries moon opposed Venus in Libra this morning.
Yesterday’s NY Times Style magazine had an article about Ree Morton: “What Does it Mean to be a Mother and an Artist?” In the profile and in her art I see the Aries/Libra polarity. What are we compelled to do for our own sake? What would help the people we love?
In 1972 Morton sent her three young children to live with their father so that she could be an artist in New York. In 1975 she created this sweet and loving piece.
I can put myself in Morton’s shoes. And I can put myself in her kids’.
Aries/Libra sometimes works out as what helps me helps you and vice-versa. But sometimes we’re left longing and disappointed, or we have to let down someone we love. Sometimes different roles within us need to duke it out.
Today it can help to read the good parts of our story, but not in a fairytale way: Mixed in with the scary, hard, or bad parts -- trying to see them from different angles or in a new way.
It’s a better story that way, filled with complicated heroes, including us.
Today the moon is in Aries. Symbolically, emotional and safety needs are tied up with confrontation.
Some questions it might help to reflect on today are:
Who needs me?
What do I need?
What’s been pissing me off?
What feels new and scary?
What excites me?
Aries is good at leadership, passion, and reaction. But without reflection Aries can be impulsive and heavy-hitting.
My natal moon is in Aries. This is why I need to wake up early every morning to write. It’s a pause – a chance to absorb a fuller picture and sit with love before I pick up my sword.
When the sun is in Virgo every year we’re learning how to be human: How to walk the earth in the very best way that we can. Today for some of us that means more assertion, for some of us that means more compassion. For all of us it’s a new behavior egged on by our emotional state.
Confrontation can be exhausting. Choose wisely. But also, don’t avoid it. My grandpa was a firefighter. My Mom, as you can tell from this picture, is a force to be reckoned with. Someone in your family or childhood showed you how to be brave and formidable. Today reflect on that legacy in you. Feel the love along with the fight. See where it's still necessary.
And then in your own way -- humbly and purposefully -- adjust that sword, but carry it forward yourself.