Full Moon in Aquarius: Outside the Box

640px-Power_LinesThursday morning, August 18, brings the Full Moon in Aquarius (which means the Moon will appear most full on Wednesday night). Aquarius is the sign of high ideals and also fanatical convictions, of putting the community first and also being certain we know exactly what everyone needs to do, of piercing insights that come out of the blue and also a determined eccentricity that doggedly refuses to conform. Aquarius colors outside the lines.

Those lines, right now, feel rather like high-tension electrical wires. There’s a lot of tension in the air. (Aquarius is the fixed Air sign.) The news brings us story after story in which we think (or I think, anyway) that we’ve reached the tipping point, surely something will have to be done–and yet nothing much happens. These lines feel as if they’re being stretched and stretched some more. You wonder how much longer things can hold together. What will it take to bring about real change?

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At this Full Moon, we may find out. I’m not implying something horrible will happen, although some astrologers are pointing to current patterns as harbingers of disaster. I’m saying the light of this Full Moon will illuminate where things in our lives are stretched to their limit, places where care, attention, adjustment, and healing are needed to keep things together. Or, possibly, where a break with the past–preferably a clean, kind one–will relieve an intolerable situation.

Let’s look at the patterns. First, this Full Moon happens at almost-26 of Aquarius for the Moon and Leo for the Sun. The luminaries are leaning in to the end of these fixed signs of Air and Fire, which makes them more intense. Aquarius is absolutely convinced of his rightness, and Leo passionately wants what he wants. The asteroid Pallas Athena sits with the Moon, adding to the cool, cerebral vibe.

Full Moon in AquariusNearby, Jupiter and Mercury sit together at 25 and 23 Virgo, opposite Chiron at 24 Pisces. These four positions, six bodies, make a kind of cat’s cradle: Two oppositions, two inconjuncts, and two semisextiles. The signs involved include the fixed masculine, or yang, signs (Aquarius and Leo) and the mutable feminine, or yin, signs (Virgo and Pisces).

Now add Uranus and Eris, sitting together at 24 and 23 of Aries, who are trining the Sun, sextiling the Moon, and creating a yod with Jupiter and Mercury at the apex, Uranus and Moon at the other two vertices, and Chiron holding the “resolution” point at the base of the triangle. More cat’s cradle.

In Kurt Vonnegut’s fourth novel titled Cat’s Cradle, the reader is confronted over and over again with the notion that things, especially cultural and scientific constructs, have little inherent meaning: Things mean what we are told they mean. The character Newt expresses his frustration with this when he says it’s no wonder kids grow up crazy, because the game called cat’s cradle is nothing but a bunch of X’s in someone’s hands. Kids look and look and look, and finally realize there is “no damn cat, no damn cradle.”

It is vitally important for each of us to ask questions, big questions, pointed questions, the questions no one wants to answer. This is something Aquarius is really good at.

The steps after that are equally important. Sometimes, when we find out things are not what they seemed to be, we fall into disillusionment, cynicism, nihilism, or depression. It’s all a sham; no one tells the truth; it’s all meaningless. This is a painful place to be. It’s also false, in the sense of not accurately or fully representing the world.

The real challenge is figuring out what is true, what is real. When we begin to ask what’s really going on, then we’re getting to the heart of Aquarius. I’m not talking about conspiracy theories here, which are often systematic arrangements of all the things we’re disillusioned about. I mean taking time to consider the underlying fabric of reality. Bizarre, I know, but then, Aquarius is pretty far out there.

This Full Moon will not offer easy enlightenment. What it can offer are pointers to where to look. It turns out that the most difficult, challenging places in our lives are also our greatest opportunities to learn. Bummer. Chances are, we already know where our greatest challenges lie. At this Full Moon, we might see those places from a new angle. We might see something about them that offers a new approach or perspective.

There are reasons to be cautious at the Full Moon. We will want to treat this as a chance to see and learn. We will want to be cautious about taking action, and especially about acting out. We may want to be wary of others who decide acting out is a great idea. Another cat’s cradle in the sky at this Full Moon calls for careful handling.

480px-Apophysis_3D_fractal_ballNeptune still sits with the South Node of the Moon, opposite the North Node. Venus sits with the North Node, opposite the South. Pluto still trines the North Node and sextiles the South. Saturn, finally moving direct again, widely squares the Nodes, and Venus, and Neptune. And along comes Mars, moving to conjunct Saturn, and add his square to the Nodes, Venus, and Neptune.

Mars, right now, is out of bounds. This technical term means he is outside the limits of where the Sun goes, north and south of the equator. It means he is outside normal controls, beyond the Pale, outlaw. For Mars, in a Fire sign like Sagittarius, this is a tricky place to be. It means he can take radical action, be wildly creative, and push beyond the limits of what seemed possible. We’re seeing some of this in the record-shattering athleticism at the Olympics. It also means he can go beyond what is acceptable, act in shocking and dangerous ways, and blow stuff up.

An out-of-bounds Mars paired with Saturn (boundaries and limits) and squaring Venus (values and harmony), Neptune (spirituality and also delusions), and the Nodes of the Moon (the path from the past to the future) calls for careful handling. It’s a time for seeing clearly, and acting with integrity and restraint. As astrologer Tony Howard said on Facebook recently, don’t bite the hook.

It’s important to remember the Full Moon won’t make anything happen. The planets and their movements parallel our lives, reflecting patterns we can learn from. A timely heads up is a great thing to have. So, no blaming, and no pointing to fate as something inevitable or inescapable.

Aquarius is about our beliefs. How do we make sense of the universe? Where do we find meaning? Leo is about our passions. What do we love? What stokes our inner fires? Catching a glimpse of the structure of our lives, in light of those questions, is a very powerful gift.