By Amanda Painter
We’re building toward a Full Moon this Sunday, with the Moon in Virgo single-handedly opposing a whole school of fishy planets in Pisces (and that’s not all). If you feel like you’re trying to swim upstream; or like you’re caught in a whirlpool; or maybe like every time you turn around, some seemingly solid part of the world has melted and warped like a Salvador Dali painting, you’re not alone.
For example, just this week I’ve read about an uptick in Canadian citizens being turned away at the U.S. border — including one woman born in Canada to Indian parents, with no flags on her file, turned away while trying to visit a Vermont day spa with two white friends.
She’d had no previous difficulty visiting the U.S. Living as I do in a state sharing a significant border with Canada, and which depends heavily on tourism (especially Canadian tourism), I’m hearing a lot of people express concern about what this might mean for the local economy. I know a few frustrated Canadians scrapping their travel plans to the U.S.
Or I could point to an important article making the rounds about the truly horrific, racist cartoons and ads Theodor Geisel — the beloved Dr. Seuss — once drew. As in, he drew African-Americans like monkeys (or as being for sale), and depicted all Japanese-Americans as just waiting for their moment to attack the U.S. from within during WW II. I had an extensive, thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation on Facebook about what this means for us now in terms of how we regard Seuss’ later work.
What is stronger: the harm he caused with those early cartoons, or how he’s inspired people with such stories as The Sneetches and Oh the Places You’ll Go? How do we reconcile these two facts about him? Does his shadow cancel out his light, or vice versa? Can we hold space for both of those concepts — without demeaning those he’s hurt, by ignoring his hurtful acts; without implying that his uplifting stories ‘weren’t written for you’ if you’re not white; without falling into such extreme polarization that we forget how fallible we ourselves might be? And can we do this and recognize the ways in which even entertaining these thoughts might be a marker of privilege?
Then we have Pres. Trump’s most recent 3 am tweet, in which he accused former Pres. Obama of having his Trump Tower phones wiretapped. Whether it’s true or not, whether it’s related to his contact with Russian officials, I have to ask: WTF? Seriously. I just can’t wrap my brain around this man’s behavior, and it’s hard for me to imagine he’ll be able to serve an entire term like this. Then again: every time I’ve thought things couldn’t get more bizarre this past year, they have.
Eric Francis and others at Planet Waves have written a great deal about how Bizarro-Land USA is a manifestation of the ongoing Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries. It is identity chaos, technological chaos, PR chaos and political chaos all rolled into one big enchilada. We’re all to some degree complicit just as much as we may be confused and outraged by it, euphoric about it or deliberately trying to detach from it.
Whether you agree or disagree with replacing and repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) it will affect you, either directly or indirectly, if you live in the U.S. Whether you think global warming is already past the crisis point or is a hoax, decisions made now about environmental regulation will affect you — no matter where on the planet you live. Whether you believe asylum seekers from certain countries are a security threat, or that outright immigration bans feed extremism and put us at greater risk, the decisions being made now will affect you.
Here’s the thing about these decisions and their long-term effects: while it’s true that one cannot be 100% sure about what those effects will be, it’s still possible to study demonstrated facts. You can study trends; you can check your sources for bias; you can seek out differing perspectives and consider what they’re based in. It takes work. Most people don’t have the time and energy to go through this process for every issue that comes down the pike. But many, many people don’t even consider trying. We live in an entertainment culture, and this shit is not fun. But contrary to prevalent myth, these issues are personal to each and every one of us in some way.
So: what about this Full Moon?
Well, you already get the whole ‘polarization’ idea, right? There’s a hell of a lot of ‘othering’ going on right now. And anytime a Full Moon builds, that sense of seeing our own inner conflicts played out in our relationships (or as something we’re ‘against’) is likely to intensify. Often the difficult part is owning just how much of the conflict is ours, and that we have some power to address it.
In the case of this weekend’s Full Moon, which is exact at 9:54 am EST on March 12 (14:54 UTC), we have a rather unusual image of that polarization. First, as mentioned, the Moon will be virtually alone in Virgo. As it travels through that sign late Friday through Sunday, it will oppose centaur Nessus, Neptune, the Sun, asteroid Pallas, centaur Chiron and Mercury.
On one level, those Pisces planets represent a lot of emotional, psychic and creative energy — which is great. But how do you stay grounded, both in your body and in more rational or logical forms of thinking, to balance it out?
Looking at the chart, it brings to mind something like a satellite dish: all of that Pisces energy beams toward the Virgo Moon, where it concentrates and gets reflected back. But if you bounce it back solely as mental energy or thoughts (Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the planet of intellect and communication), you end up in something like an echo chamber. It would help to lean on the earthy quality of Virgo: physical acts, particularly those in service of some higher ideal, could go a long way in grounding all this energy.
If we broaden our view of what’s on the other side of the zodiac from that Virgo Moon, we see key planets in Aries, the sign next to Pisces: retrograde Venus, Uranus and Eris. Aries is an action sign. Virgo is a mental sign, but it’s also about manifesting thought in physical form.
Looking more closely, the Moon at the moment of fullness is in direct aspect to Uranus and Eris. The aspect is a quincunx; it’s one sign off from an opposition. Like an opposition, there’s a confrontational sense. A quincunx asks for continual adjustment.
And continual adjustment is the name of the game these days. The current cultural and political environment is demanding, and it’s exhausting. Partly, we let our activist muscles get out of shape in these decades since the revolutionary 1960s. Partly, we’re living in a culture so driven by the fast pace and limitless interconnectedness of digital technology that we’re lagging behind in developing the psychological tools to deal with it all.
As mentioned, the Uranus-Eris conjunction is the astrological signature for the upheaval we’ve been experiencing for the last year or two. And it will make its third exact contact next week, on March 17.
So Sunday’s Full Moon is channeling some very potent Uranus-Eris energy along with all the Pisces energy. How can an unassuming Virgo Moon hold its own in the face of all that? Or rather, what do you need to be aware of, and how can you use it all?
The Pisces planets represent lots of emotion, denial, delusion, sensitivity and healing potential. The Aries planets represent, in part, active disruption and inquiry into identity — especially digitally mediated identity. So what’s missing? You could say a plan; grounding; rational thought; attention to the details; the means by which to materialize the vision; a way to bring the glamour and chaos of the internet into the service of something larger.
The Virgo Moon offers a way to fill those needs. Yet it must do so in a way that is reflective: both of the outer reality you are facing, and of your inner experience. Those two facets of experience — internal and external — need to find a meeting place and point of integration in what you do.
One final thought about this Full Moon chart: nearly simultaneously (about five hours earlier) Mercury in Pisces makes a square to Saturn and the Galactic Core (GC) in Sagittarius. In conversation with Eric Francis, he suggested that having the center of our Milky Way galaxy involved emphasizes the message of this Full Moon.
Yet with Mercury square Saturn, that message indicates sober thinking. This is an important counterpoint to all the dreamy Pisces in the air. It indicates we’re dealing with a necessity. But what does it represent? Eric further suggested that with Mercury in Pisces, the connection to Saturn is about getting real and getting your facts in order.
Mercury-Saturn-GC is reminding us to take this seriously. The chaos around us; the need to continually adjust, gather facts and take action; the importance of finding ways to bring your idealistic visions into physical existence; connecting your inner reflection to what’s being reflected around you: all of it. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of humor about the absurdity unfolding around you. Humor is essential now. In fact, I suspect humor is another message from the GC in Sagittarius.
If there’s a way to take reality seriously yet not take yourself too seriously, this would seem to be the weekend to practice that. Anytime you can stare life in the face and laugh, you create the space you need to address it on more serious terms and still take care of yourself. The Virgo-Pisces axis is inherently creative. But its potential solutions won’t emerge unless you bring them forth by connecting the dots. In the light of the Full Moon, you may be able to see them more clearly.