January’s Full Moon in Cancer arrives just after 6:30 am EST on the 12th, which means it will appear most full in the sky overnight on the 11th, and affect us most strongly during the day on the 12th.
It’s almost like getting two Full Moons, or two days of one Full Moon. Since this one is going to be intense, maybe it’s better to spread it out. Or not. We’ll see how it goes.
Each Cancer Full Moon is very Moon-filled because this is the Moon’s home sign, where she is strongest and most herself. This Moon focuses on issues of home, family, and safety.
Cancerians are tender-hearted caretakers who want everyone close to them to be happy, warm, and well-fed. They also protect themselves and their loved ones, and may build walls to make that happen.
This Full Moon is likely to illuminate questions like: Where have we built walls? What are we sacrificing to maintain them? Where are we feeling most tender and in need of care?
Every Full Moon is created by an opposition between Sun and Moon. This allows the Sun to fully illuminate the Moon’s surface. A Full Moon in Cancer is always opposed by a Sun in Capricorn, the traditional feminine sign of Mom opposed by the traditional masculine sign of Dad.
With Capricorn, we have light bulbs going off around issues of tradition, authority, hard work, and expectations. How do we respond to traditional models of authority? When we hear about the need to “work hard” and “earn our way,” what does that trigger? How do we balance work, achievement, honor, and call to just be human?
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Now we add in the particular craziness of this year’s Full Moon in Cancer.
First, the Sun and Pluto are close together as they oppose the Moon, which means the super-heavy-weightiness of Plutonian transformation is front and center. This brings in an excess of Capricorn, swaying the pendulum toward traditional authority structures and their power. Pluto can make those structures stronger or reveal the existence of rotten foundations. In fact, Pluto often does both: Showing us what is going on behind the scenes, even as we feel its impact.
This Full Moon is squared by the Uranus group that’s been hanging out in late Aries. This group includes Uranus, the radical revolutionary, and Eris, goddess of discord and chaos, and Ceres, fierce maternal protector of the young. The challenge of this square is likely to bring incendiary illumination around issues of power, tradition, and selfhood. What must we do to be true to ourselves? How can we act to bring that inner truth into the world?
Jupiter in Libra also squares the Full Moon while opposing the Uranus group. Jupiter makes everything bigger. In Libra, he hopes to find a way forward that is balanced and inclusive, but his energy to expand and sometimes inflate will make it hard to miss whatever happens at this Full Moon.
All these squares and oppositions come together to form a Grand Cross. Yes, all of these intense conversations are going on at the same time. And that’s not all: Other planets add energy to this already complicated picture.
Add Saturn at 22 Sagittarius, who is trining the Uranus group, semisextile the Sun and Pluto, and inconjunct the Moon. In ordinary English, this is awkward. A trine is generally an easy, flowing energy, but Saturn and Uranus linked in Fire signs will be unpredictable at best. With they create a radically new structure or blow up old ones? Or both? This might feel like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Something’s gotta give.
Add Chiron the wounded healer at 21 Pisces, trining the Moon and sextiling the Sun. Chiron opens the door to healing old wounds, but can also leave us feeling like we just got hit again in our most tender spot. Keep in mind: If hurt comes up, look for the healing opportunity.
Remember the Pluto–Uranus square, signature of the last few years of upheaval? That square is past, but is reactivated at this Full Moon because both are participating. This is something we’ll see again in 2017: Pluto–Uranus is over, but not over. We will continue to see, feel, and experience the fallout from various Pluto–Uranus events throughout this year.
One glance at the Full Moon chart shows there’s a lot of Pisces happening too. Especially notable is Mars at 18 Pisces, who is sextile Pluto, applying to a conjunction with Chiron and a square with Saturn, and semisextiling Uranus. Mars in this chart is a bit of a wild card. He might simply add the energy to make action possible, instead of leaving us caught with too many conflicting possibilities. He might also be the spark that sets off the fireworks. At this Full Moon, avoid conflicts, especially explosive ones.
Finally, we have a Venus–Neptune conjunction in Pisces, a beautiful coupling that can bring forth the poet, the dreamer, and the visionary. I am thinking here of the quote from Carrie Fisher that Meryl Streep used to close her Golden Globe speech: “Take your broken heart; make it into art.”
With this much complexity, it’s helpful to know where these various planets are going to touch your birth chart.
The focus is 20 to about 24 degrees, with the Grand Cross covering the four Cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Add in the Sagittarian and Piscean planets, and we have some Mutable energy, plus more Fire and Water.
If your chart doesn’t have much in these specific degrees, look to see which house the Full Moon lands in. For you, this Moon might feel like a more general, diffuse phenomenon, one you see reflected in other people’s experiences more than your own.
If you do have planets or points around 20-24 degrees, look to those specifics to anticipate where the Full Moon light show is likely to be brightest.
Complex charts are the most difficult to read. With a Cardinal Grand Cross, things want to happen. This energy does not want to sit around, it wants to move. But where? How? And how much? For all the reasons already described, I don’t know. Maybe that’s the key point to bear in mind. We all know lots of things, but right now, we none of us know what will happen next.
This is a Full Moon in Water. We want solutions, but first, things may need to dissolve. In alchemy, dissolution follows calcination: First, we are burnt to a crisp, then we are dissolved in water. Already, we feel like we’ve been through the fire, yet we know it’s not over. There are challenges ahead. The word solution comes from root words that mean loosening, unbinding, or division. Many words arise from these same roots: dissolve and absolute, resolved and soluble. Before finding an answer or making a decision, things must first come apart.
At this Full Moon, there will be illumination, but probably not as much as we’d like. In the end, we return to the Moon in Cancer, with her nurturing moisture, and remember the words of the Little Prince:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”