A New Moon Prelude to a New Year

Posted by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

Amanda Painter suggests that, coming in the midst of so much uncertainty and difficulty, today’s Capricorn New Moon underscores our ability to harness our imagination again; to bolster our determination to use what we’ve learned; and to allow for some careful self-reflection, keeping the avenues of healing and compassion open.

By Amanda Painter

‘I wish it need not have happened in my time’, said Frodo.

‘So do I’, said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’

— J.R.R. Tolkien

I know so many people who just want to forget that 2016 ever happened. And I get it: between the global shocks and upsets, the deaths of beloved celebrities, and what looks like the complete undoing of any semblance of functional government about to commence, collectively we’ve been put through the wringer.

The constellation Orion, photographed from my mother's driveway, over the neighbor's house. Photo by Amanda Painter.

The constellation Orion, over my mother’s neighbor’s house. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Yet from what I’ve seen, we’ve also stepped up to new levels of activism, awareness and cooperation in many, many instances. Raise your hand if you now understand more about the Electoral College than you ever learned in high school; same with the history of Native American treaties with the U.S. Government, the role (and abuse) of the media in shaping cultural opinion, or the plight of refugees from war.

I’m not saying these lessons were fun, easy or even something I hope to repeat — ever. But if you’ve been paying attention, and if your brain and your compassion have stayed active, chances are you’ve learned a lot this year.

Which is good. Because from what I can tell, we’re going to need to call on everything we’ve learned in 2016 — and integrate the lessons into a useable, empowering form — going forward. That’s not an astrological prediction. It’s merely an observation: despite the fact that you ditch the old calendar and start a new one on Jan. 1, we don’t actually start from scratch each year.

Sometimes that seems like a nice fantasy. Except that it’s hard to grow, heal and support others in that process if you’re always back at zero in 12 months. This is true on the most internal, personal level as well as on the cultural level.

Just like every calendar year, each astrological year offers its own ‘big events’. Yet just as with cultural progression, those astrological events do not appear out of nowhere.

Every planetary aspect, every eclipse, every retrograde (whether Mercury or another planet), etc., is connected to multiple others that have come before — and to various other events. One of the beauties of astrology is how it makes visible the interconnections between short-term cycles and long-term cycles.

Eric has been looking ahead to the big astrological events of 2017, and is writing about them for this year’s Planet Waves annual edition. Given how overwhelmed you might be feeling these days, I’m going to focus on one particular aspect as we wrap up this month and this year: the Capricorn New Moon.

This is the Moon making a conjunction to the Sun in Capricorn, at 1:53 am EST today (6:53 UTC), to begin a new lunar cycle. And though it will have already occurred today by the time you read this, I’d say it’s today’s signature event.

It will be a while yet before the days here in the Northern Hemisphere get noticeably longer. These dark days have long been associated with introspection, slowing down and conserving energy in anticipation of the coming spring and its increased activity and growth. Similarly, the monthly dark phase of a New Moon is commonly associated with bringing something to a close, and then planting the seed of the next endeavor or phase of progress.

I think it says something profound to get a New Moon so close to the final days of the calendar year. It underscores the interiority of the season, as we reflect on the year ending and set intentions for the year about to begin.

Coming as it does in the midst of so much uncertainty, chaos and difficulty, however, this particular New Moon also underscores the ability we each have to harness our imagination again; to bolster our determination to use what we’ve learned; and to allow for some careful self-reflection, to keep the avenues of healing and compassion open.

For example, the Capricorn Sun and Moon in this chart are conjunct retrograde Mercury. That’s a reminder to be patient and extra-focused with communication and travel. Yet it also underscores the theme of ‘review and reflect’.

The Sun and Moon are also exactly sextile (within half a degree) Mars in Pisces, with Neptune in Pisces close by. Although Mars in Pisces can be challenging in terms of increased emotional sensitivity, sextile the Sun and Moon it can facilitate constructive action — especially behind the scenes, and in creative pursuits.

Similarly, the New Moon sextile Neptune may call for shoring up emotional and psychic boundaries; though having the Sun in Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn, should help with that. Yet, this aspect also indicates the potential to harness your outer drive to your inner idealism.

You might feel like any trace of idealism has left you. But again, take a look at some of the activist momentum that was built this year. Yes, reigniting it and sustaining it to effect change will take work; true progress always does. That’s okay. You’re not alone in whatever you are feeling right now.

And I think that’s one of the most important messages of this New Moon: It’s okay to take a breather, to conserve your energy and look deep within. Because that’s a necessary step in the cycle — and it means you’ll have access to the resources you’ll need in 2017 to keep learning, healing, growing and creating in this thing called life.

Wishing you much to celebrate and be grateful for in the New Year,
Amanda Painter


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9 thoughts on “A New Moon Prelude to a New Year

  1. Eric Francis

    Thanks Amanda

    For me the most difficult thing was witnessing the public display of misogyny, racism and antagonism toward muslims…really, the open display of what used to be known as red meat for the base, and seeing so many people gobble it up.

    Now I’m damned sick of hearing them say we’re not really racists and we don’t hate women and muslims.

    Still in all, we might see some positive momentum come out of all of this. I do what I can every single day to promote that, we at PW do our part to make resources available, and as for mass scale action, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m looking, too.

    1. Amy Elliott

      Well, there was UpToUs (remember that? it seems like years ago) and of course Standing Rock. And I reckon once Trump starts really doing damage, suddenly mass protests will be back in vogue.

      1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

        Amy, I’m hoping we don’t have to find out what “really doing damage” looks like. The historical precedent is truly chilling when it comes to how far charismatic “leaders” can go when tapping into a culture’s fear and shadow.

        Which is partly why I prefer to emphasize what we’ve learned, and what we can build on, rather than some potential horror. We can be aware without becoming paralyzed by anticipation of the worst.

        1. Amy Elliott

          True – and I hope for the same thing. But I have a feeling we’re going to have to learn the hard way. I may of course simply be in a pessimistic mood. I’ve been grumpy for weeks. But then, how can there be any good in this scenario, other than a sharp lesson in the dangers of apathy, greed and prejudice?

    2. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

      “Now I’m damned sick of hearing them say we’re not really racists and we don’t hate women and Muslims.”

      For sure — me, too. An American friend of mine recently had a surprising (and long, and seemingly exhausting) conversation with a British Brexiteer couple (who are Trump fans) in a hotel bar in LA. I admire his fortitude in staying non-confrontational and hoping for some true exchange, but it did not seem like he was able to crack open their delusion in his gentle, fact-and-history-fueled way.

      As a kind of emblem of the situation, at one point the British woman (drunk at this point) semi-wailed, “I just want to be acknowledged. I am right here. Speak to me. Hear me.” Or something to that effect, which kind of amazed me: here she was refusing to hear and see non-terrorist Muslims, and felt like the victim.

      This is going to be a tough road, no doubt.

  2. Bette

    Lovely & helpful piece, Amanda. I for one bid 2016 a glad farewell, though of course it’s just a calendar page – though probably also a psychic/ spiritual/mental shift as well. I hope I’ve been learning the lessons the year has offered.

    Thank you also for the Tolkien quote & for the beautiful image of my beloved Orion, who I befriended long ago as a star-gazing child in the winter nights.

    1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

      Bette —
      You are welcome. For sure, I hope we all can experience some degree of psychic/ spiritual/mental shift with the calendar page turn, though it certainly is not the same as undoing some of the awfulness that has occurred.

      I am happy to know the Orion photo makes you smile, too. It was my first constellation as a child, as well. I can remember getting very excited to see it rising in the night sky, often while riding in the car with my parents in the winter.

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