Tag Archives: Moon

Rosehips in ice; photo by Amanda Painter.

Of Retrogrades and Gratitude

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury is stationing retrograde in Pisces on Sunday (early Monday in some time zones), which puts us in its ‘storm’ phase now. That’s the big astro-news you need to be most aware of. Yet perhaps apropos of Mercury’s stationary status — as it hovers seemingly in one place before appearing to reverse direction — I think I need to begin where I was originally planning to end this essay.

This will be my last weekly column for Planet Waves, at least for the foreseeable future. After 10 years of working for this incredible little astrology-website-that-could, and growing in immeasurable ways in the process, it is time for me to seek new adventures.

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Friends, Benefits, and the Leo Full Moon

By Amanda Painter

We’re heading toward a Full Moon on Feb. 9, and Mercury stations retrograde one week later (on Feb. 16). That would be more than enough provocative energy on its own, but there are additional elements of the sky that will be sparking up the weekend.

Disco lion's mane or crystallized moonlight? Photo by Amanda Painter.

Disco lion’s mane or crystallized moonlight? Photo by Amanda Painter.

One of those elements gets cooking tomorrow: Venus enters Aries at 3:02 pm EST (20:02:17 UTC) Feb. 7. Venus in Aries (the sign of Self ruled by Mars) tends to be lusty and assertive, idealistic yet impulsive, charming but sometimes inconsiderate without realizing it.

So remember your empathy, especially if any interpersonal situations get confrontational or intense as the Full Moon builds.

Yet it’s the conjunction of Venus to Chiron and the object Salacia that really focuses the qualities of Venus in Aries. Salacia appears to relate to sexual maturity (particularly the lack thereof) and to the kinds of sexual activity that get people all flustered.

In the U.S. media at least, that seems to be anything taboo or ‘scandalous’. In your personal life, it might mean the same things — or simply your perception that certain facets of your desire and sexual activity could be seen that way. But aren’t those always the hottest fantasies?

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Ceres in Aquarius, and a Vesta Quarter Moon

By Amanda Painter

Tomorrow (Friday), Ceres becomes the next planet to leave the Capricorn stellium. It enters Aquarius at 2:59 am EST (7:58:45 UTC), and immediately bumps into the surprises offered by Uranus in Taurus.

Dewi Sri, the Balinese goddess of rice and fertility. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Dewi Sri, the Balinese goddess of rice and fertility, watches over a home in Ubud. Photo by Amanda Painter.

What does Ceres in Aquarius describe? Ceres is the planet of literal food (specifically grain) and feeding, as well as metaphorical forms of nourishment. Aquarius is the sign of groups.

Automatically, we get an image of the social facet of eating: all forms of breaking bread with others, perhaps especially potluck dinners. Things like volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks bring in the humanitarian facet of Aquarius.

Less literally, we can see the theme of socialness itself being nourishing. Our friendships feed our hearts and souls, and at times offer the kind of nurturing that families of origin were not able to provide. Being accepted by a group can feel nourishing (though its shadow side includes peer pressure, social hierarchies and tribalism).

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Photo by Amanda Painter.

Not Your Typical Aquarius New Moon

By Amanda Painter

Tomorrow is the Aquarius New Moon, exact at 4:42 pm EST (21:41:52 UTC). Aquarius is a curious sign, at its best when blending the structuring abilities of Saturn with the liberating impulses of Uranus.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

In that sense, it seems a perfect sign to host the first lunation after the Jan. 10 eclipse: eclipse periods generally feature a process of liberating oneself from some facet of the past, in order to take greater authority in directing the next steps forward.

The slowly separating Saturn-Pluto conjunction underscores these themes, connecting them to long-term processes. Whatever ‘new start’ Friday’s New Moon represents for you should be familiar, perhaps even expected.

Chances are you’ve been involved with some form of drawing something to a close this week, or resolving one phase of a process. Today and the first part of tomorrow still carry that signature.

Yet life is not simply ‘business as usual’ right now, thanks to a couple of factors. The first is that the Aquarius Sun is square Uranus in Taurus, exact today.

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Capricorn Shore, Dancing Waves: Cancer Full Moon and Eclipse

By Amanda Painter

Today the Moon enters Cancer at 3:43 am EST (8:43:07 UTC) on its way to Friday’s Full Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse. I keep looking at this chart — with the Moon, seemingly by itself, facing off against a host of objects in Capricorn — and all these sea-related catchphrases keep popping into mind. I’ll get to those in a moment.

Light dancing on waves, waves dancing on shore; Higgins Beach, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Light dancing on waves, waves dancing on shore; Higgins Beach, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

For some orientation: the eclipse peaks on Jan. 10 at 2:10 pm EST (19:09:58 UTC). Eleven minutes later, the Sun-Moon opposition (Full Moon) peaks at 2:21 pm EST (19:21:10 UTC).

Astrologically, the Moon rules Cancer. It is strong there, and emphasizes this water sign’s tendency toward cycles, intuition and sensitivity. Astronomically, the Moon’s movements dictate the tides of our actual oceans.

Meanwhile, in Capricorn (sign of business, government, tradition, leadership) we have: the Sun (conscious self-expression), Mercury (intellect and communication), asteroid Ceres (food, nourishment), Saturn (structure, limits, authority), Pluto (compelled evolution, ‘what is below’), and centaur Chariklo (holding space for another).

Full Moons imply a meeting or confrontation. In the chart for this one, the Moon seemingly floats in the water all by itself, reflecting the light of the Sun, and opposing all those other objects that are aligned on the rocky shore. Among those objects: a Saturn-Pluto conjunction — exact just two days later, on Jan. 12 — that describes much of the upheaval and major change we’re witnessing around us.

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Onward into 2020

By Amanda Painter

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found this to be an especially contemplative transition to a new year. I guess that’s true each time we end a decade, as we assess just how much has changed in those ten years. Yet, in moving from 2019 to 2020, I’m aware of just how much extra gravitas, pressure, awareness and restlessness I’m feeling, and its correlation to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.

Photo by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

Ten or so years ago, roughly corresponding to Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn, marked some highly pivotal events in my life.

Tracing the growth I’ve experienced in this last decade — and contrasting it to the general trajectory of the previous ten years — is offering confirmation that the processes of Pluto, daunting as they are, do offer gifts.

Even so, the lessons of Pluto and Saturn tend to be hard-won.

While the lessons of Jupiter (and even Uranus) can seem to fling the doors of one’s life wide open — simply leaving it up to us to stride through (not always easy, depending on one’s circumstances and baggage) — Saturn and Pluto demand more. They ask us to work for what we want. They insist that we make the difficult choice to undo so much that has always appeared solid, or a given, so that we can build anew in ways that afford us more space for who we’re becoming.

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Boy in a funeral procession flashes the peace sign; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies. Karma and dharma are a strong part of their Hindu beliefs. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Ringing in the Eclipses

By Amanda Painter

When this column publishes, it’ll be within a couple minutes of the Capricorn New Moon and annular (not total) solar eclipse. The New Moon is exact at 12:13 am EST (5:13:00 UTC), with the eclipse peaking about four minutes later. You likely have some idea already what the event signifies for you.

Boy in a funeral procession; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies, and funerals are a big celebration. Karma and dharma are a strong part of their Hindu beliefs. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Boy in a Hindu funeral procession at Pura Goa Lawah; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies, and funerals celebrate reincarnation. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Yet even if you were not sent a bright star in the east last night to follow — or some other massive, impossible-to-ignore sign from god — chances are you can look back over the past year to gather some clues. After all, this eclipse is happening in Capricorn, the same sign as the year-defining Saturn-Pluto conjunction that’s exact in a few weeks.

Saturn-Pluto has been the long game: the gradual building of pressure, the progressive dismantling, the ever-increasing awareness of a need to restructure. Its manifestations on the world stage have been obvious and dramatic. Possibly it’s been showing up in your life more subtly — kind of like insistent, repeated nudges in a particular direction, or something coming apart in stages.

Eclipses, on the other hand, tend to be a more focused process. Usually there’s one solar and one lunar eclipse bracketing a two-week span. (The corresponding partial lunar eclipse of this pair arrives Jan. 10, almost aligning with the 12 Days of Christmas and the arrival of the three Magi with their gifts.)

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The Day of Inner Fervor: Birthdays and Planet News

If Your Birthday is Dec. 10
The Day of Inner Fervor | 2019-20 Sagittarius Astrology Studio | All Other Signs

The intrepid quest for truth is a core motivation for Sagittarians of any stripe. Truth and freedom are inseparable, yet to live in terms of those ideals requires hard-won self-awareness and self-acceptance. Your path this year calls for honestly addressing mounting tension in some area of your relationships or support systems. Fortunately, you’re well equipped to tap your highest capacity for insight, objectivity and skillful communication. Take the reins on your busy mind and steer with intent.
— by Victoria Emory

If you have a Sagittarius Sun, rising sign or Moon and could use some insights on such real-life matters as work, relationships and career, your 2019-2020 Sagittarius Astrology Studio reading by Eric Francis will cover your ruling planet Jupiter’s conjunction to the Galactic Core, a preview of Jupiter in Capricorn, and many other potentially life-changing facets of your astrology.

Written in the Planets

Emotions will be running deep as Venus in Capricorn aligns with Pluto and Saturn. The planet of feelings, sensory experiences and pleasure makes contact first with Saturn, then with Pluto. Venus to Saturn describes a potential sense of loss, longing or a limit placed on a relationship. That can lead to a breakthrough of depth: of discovery of your real feelings.

This aspect peaks at the same time as the Gemini Full Moon on the 11th. The Full Moon is a high tide emotionally, which will accentuate the poignancy of Venus-Pluto. Yet the Moon’s full phase in Gemini can be about talking a lot but not really saying anything. Avoid chatting away your feelings; rather, stay with yourself and what you’re experiencing, whatever it may be.

Almanac: Moon enters Gemini at 11:47 am EST today. The Full Moon in Gemini is exact at 12:12:12 am EST Thursday, 12/12. That’s a lot of 12s!

— by Eric Francis

Would you appreciate a resource to help guide your personal review of 2019? We’ve compiled all 12 of your monthly horoscopes by Eric for this year.


The Saturn-Pluto conjunction is upon us, just weeks away. While this event will happen two or three times in the lives of most people, this particular event is a moment of convergence and reckoning for the world and for us as individuals.

I’m underway recording RESPECT, the 2020-2021 Planet Waves annual readings, to cover the momentous astrology of the coming year-plus. You can read more about the project, and pre-order the readings, here.