June 20 brings a Full Moon in Sagittarius followed by the Summer Solstice, making it quite a day. Since we’re welcoming our second Sagittarius Full Moon, this one in the powerful final degrees, and the mutable Grand Cross is still in effect, this Moon is packed with significance.
Our last Full Moon, also in Sagittarius, was in the earliest degrees of the sign. Since the lunar month is shorter than the solar one, we now see a second Full Moon in the last degree. This doesn’t happen as often as you might think. When it does, it brings emphasis to the signs involved.
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That last Full Moon was conjunct Mars, if you recall, making it intense, passionate, and in some cases, a little crazy. This Full Moon is less incendiary but has powers of its own: a flowing trine from Uranus in Aries, a square from Chiron in Pisces, and a quintile from Neptune. Plus, it’s in that final degree.
The last degree of any sign is its most intense expression. It’s a culmination of the sign’s qualities before the boundary to the next sign is crossed. Adjacent signs are really not much alike, as they differ in both element and mode. There’s this idea that the edges between signs are kind of blended, so one shades into the other. My Sun and Moon are both at 0 degrees, and I’ve never found this to be true. The idea that the final degree is intense and the shift significant fits my experience much better.
What are we meant to notice at this Full Moon? With the Sun and Moon together in the last degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius, we need to look at the other major pattern involving those two signs: The mutable Grand Cross.
At the New Moon two weeks ago, the Sun–Moon conjunction completed that same Grand Cross, which includes Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Neptune in Pisces. Now the Sun and Moon have moved, and Mercury has taken their place. No longer retrograde, Mercury sits at 11 Gemini, Saturn is retrograde at 11 Sag, Neptune retrograde at 12 Pisces, and Jupiter direct at 15 Virgo. As at the New Moon, any planets or points you have around those degrees will be affected by this pattern.
The New Moon invited us to check our perceptions. This Full Moon wants us to see whole systems. Seeing our world as a system with many subsystems is not a new idea, but often forgotten. We live in the age of the individual, which is valuable in many ways, and yet makes it dangerously easy to forget we’re part of many communities, which are systems. Ecosystems, family systems, social systems, systems of thought, body systems. Each and every one has members, some human, many not. Each has rules, boundaries, and consequences. We are not islands. Even if we were, we’d be part of systems of islands.
The mutable signs are all about change, shifts, and flux. The same is true of our systems, from the digestive system to systems of government. Things don’t stay put. It’s the nature of things not to. The question is, how does change happen?
Open systems are permeable. They accept input from beyond their boundaries. In fact, they may seek for outside inputs. Closed systems are self-contained little worlds that may exchange energy, but not stuff. No stuff comes in, no stuff goes out.
For each spot on the Grand Cross, there are different ways of being open or staying closed. Let’s look at each one.
Saturn we might think of as naturally closed. It’s an easy position for him. “Tradition is best,” he says. “We do things as they’ve always been done.” Saturn is an authority figure who might easily get stuck insisting it’s his way or the highway. So, a “closed” Saturn relies on tradition and authority. He feels no need to consult anyone outside himself. But Saturn is the ultimate pragmatist. An “open” Saturn wants to know whether things are working, whether goals are being met. In order to conduct the famous Saturn reality check, we need to be in touch with reality. Saturn is good at that.
Jupiter, now, he is open, right? Generous, optimistic, curious, philosophical … it’s difficult to imagine Jupiter as closed. And yet, Jupiter loves organized systems and can easily get to a place where he believes he has things all worked out. He’s got the education. He’s got the credentials. He wrote the book. Sure, let’s look at more examples, but a closed Jupiter will only be looking for how this new thing fits into the system he’s already created. That’s not really open.
Who could be more open than cosmically connected Neptune, the planet that doesn’t even believe in boundaries? Neptune can bring in information from all over. She can connect us to realms we didn’t even know existed. But what about a Neptune who believes she is enlightened? If you’re enlightened already, then all that openness is just observing. No need to consider changing, it’s all been done. Or the addicted Neptune, so numbed out on her substance of choice that nothing can penetrate. Or the deluded Neptune, lost in a fog in which everything looks pretty much the same anyway.
Mercury, the new kid in the Grand Cross, seems quintessentially open too. His love of new data, new shiny toys, new anything––that has to be open. It can be, of course. But if the new stuff is just stuff, it becomes a boundary of its own. Like hoarders who barricade themselves behind masses of magazines, papers, boxes, and packages, we can collect information until it becomes meaningless.
During the time of this Grand Cross, these four are part of a system. They are in touch with each other, communicating. The Full Moon points us to that system. “Look,” says the Full Moon. “What are the differences between wisdom and information? What does it take to be truly open minded?”
Having thought about how each node in the system can be open or closed, we can see how they support or inhibit each other. A pompous Jupiter, an authoritarian Saturn, a zoned-out Neptune, a fragmented news-junky Mercury––none of these will create balance and openness. Now we can begin to see something else: Each of these planets has the ability, through its strengths, to help correct the excesses of the others.
A wise Jupiter can guide, a pragmatic Saturn can set realistic boundaries, an aware Neptune can traverse multiple realities without losing her way, and a discerning Mercury can bring in essential data. When they work together, the results can be astonishing.
The Full Moon’s message is to look at this system of perceiving, of knowing, of understanding, and find our own best way. Uranus the revolutionary trines the Full Moon, a flow of energy that says, “Find the optimal balance that works for you. Learn from others, but follow your own star.” Chiron the wounded healer squares the Full Moon, reminding us of how we’ve been hurt by trying to please others at our expense, and pushing us to let that go and heal.
The Full Moon does have a connection with the Grand Cross. There is a tight quintile from Neptune to the Moon, a rare aspect that denotes creativity. This connection is another way to be open, to gaze from the Full Moon, through Neptune, into the realms beyond.
Venus, too, is part of this Full Moon. After experiencing her conjunction with the Sun, her Full Venus, she has pulled ahead to enter the sign of Cancer. She is still close enough to be considered conjunct the Sun and opposite the Moon. She lends her own creative harmony to the Full Moon, and also connects to the Grand Cross via another tight quintile to Jupiter. Now the system is larger.
To expand our system even more, this Full Moon is followed a few hours later by the Solstice, as the Sun enters Cancer. The name “solstice” means “sun stands still,” which it appears to do for three days. So our Sun, the fiery energy that fuels our world, is paused for emphasis, finding yet another way to focus our attention on this moment and its patterns. The Solstice is a threshold, a liminal time. This is a time when perceptions, ideas, and expressions can shift. Doors are opening.
The Full Moon, the Grand Cross, and the Solstice weave together to create a doorway into a new openness. Closed systems may feel safe for a time, but are inherently unstable because they reuse the same elements over and over. Adaptation is limited. Open systems can feel threatening. We don’t know what might come in, or go out. But how else can we flow with the changes in the world? How else can we learn and grow?
It’s time for each of us to check our systems. Where are we open? Where are we closed? Where are changes needed to create a better balance? These adjustments are not meant to be cold or clinical, but creative, harmonious, and beautiful. Also, they are ours. We can perceive, think, and know in our unique way and still be part of a larger system. In fact, we participate best when we are most true to our personal vision. This Full Moon illuminates where we might need to adjust to come closer to our own truth.