New Moons offer us the opportunity for new beginnings, the start of a new cycle, and if we are aware of the energies that are embodied in this coming together of the Sun and Moon, we are more likely to make choices and decisions in alignment with what is beneficial, both individually and for the collective. This new Moon, or conjunction between the Sun and Moon, is in Sagittarius. This alone tells us a lot. The fact that Mars is co-present and that the Sun, Moon and Mars (and Mercury, during his retrograde) will be squared to Neptune at various times in the coming weeks, tells us even more.
Sagittarius is a Fire sign, of the Mutable type. Ruled by Jupiter, the energy here is big, positively focused, constantly looking for improvement, generous and having many talents. Fire signs are naturally focused on Self, and the mutable version of Fire is one that looks for transmutation of the self. This can be done through religion, spirituality, philosophy, engaging in the arts, higher education, travel, or anything that expands the mind and one's sense of self. The shadow of Sagittarius will express excessiveness, righteousness and the need to move away from difficult situations.
Simply stated, this new Moon in Sagittarius is inviting us to expand our sense of Self, whether by physically travelling and acquring knowledge of other cultures, experiencing the energies of other places, or by taking a course, joining a book club, starting a spiritual practice, or any endeavor that challenges the mind to expand into a greater version of itself.
Mars, the ruler of Aries (another Fire sign), is co-present with the Sun and Moon in Sagittarius. This accentuates the fiery quality of the new Moon, giving it an added boost to precipitate actions that could help expand our awareness and open our horizons to potentials we may have never considered possible in the past. It may also accentuate the shadow tendencies to over-party or engage in excess of some sort, which is easily done during this time of year. This particular dynamic may be compounded by each of the planets, first the Moon, followed by the Sun, Mercury and Mars, squaring Neptune, one after the next.
The day following this new Moon, on December 13th, Mercury will go retrograde in Capricorn, and make his way back into Sagittarius, where he will join Mars just after squaring Neptune, on December 27th. This will be an ideal time to revise and revision the past year, and set intentions for the coming one. Interestingly, Mercury goes direct just in time for the New Year, on January 1st, 2024! He decided to align himself with the Gregorian calendar this year - let's take full advantage of it and set our intentions for the best year ever!
On his journey "backwards", Mercury will meet up with Jupiter in a trine aspect. This happens on December 18th, while both planets are in retrograde motion. This will have a redemptive quality, allowing us to revise our beliefs so that they are practical. Contrasting with the almost fanatical or zealous quality of the Sagittarius/Pisces aspects playing out, this will enable us to ground our ideas and incorporate them into our physical practice, whatever that might be.
So let's look at the Neptune squares we've been talking about: why are they so important? Neptune has been in the sign of Pisces since February of 2012. He stays roughly 15 years in a sign, and will ingress into Aries in March of 2025. Pisces, the Mutable Water sign, is likely the most expansive place in the zodiac, with the exception of Sagittarius - both signs are ruled by Jupiter.
Neptune, the god of the Dream world and Universal connection, is very much at ease in this sign, and was given the rulership of it by modern astrologers (Ancient astrology does not use any of the outer planets as rulers, only the seven original planets, Sun thorugh Saturn.) In other words, Neptune's gifts of inner vision, universal connection and dreaming are enhanced and expanded in this sign. So when another planet comes into a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, its energies are expanded, sometimes in ways where the shadow sides become quite evident. One such shadow is the potential for fanatacism, especially when Mercury meets Mars just after his square to Neptune, and just prior to Mars' square to Neptune. It can also be translated as romantic zeal, or blind zealousness. Towards the end of the month, right in the middle of the holidays, we will be offered opportunities to balance our tendencies to completely let ourselves go into party-mode, with self-control and awareness. And if we have the opposite leaning, it could allow us to release pent-up energies and move from resistance to acceptance. In both cases, there is a feeling of enthusiasm and the opportunity to use our moral and spiritual compasses for growth and evolution. Just be aware of your tendencies and adjust your behavior appropriately to avoid unintended and/or unwanted consequences.
Venus will soon be in an opposition to Uranus, on December 20th. This could potentially be cathartic, facilitating freedom, liberation and growth, especially in love and relationships. Venus in Scorpio wants to deepen the bonds with her lover, who happens to be in the sign she rules. That being said, Uranus is all about sudden change and transformation, so Venus needs to be ready for anything! This can apply not only to relationships, but also to finances and resources, especially with Uranus in the earthy sign of Taurus. So be on the lookout for change, most likely for the better.
The overall picture of this new Moon is that of balancing our visions and ideals with vigilance and a practical attitude towards our belief systems. 'Tis the time to be merry, and yet we know that our unfettered actions can have major consequences, so let's just be vigilant and mindful of what is in our highest and greatest good. We can also look foward to revisiting the year that has passed, and revisioning our lives to receive the gifts of the year to come. The possibility of a major turn-around before the end of the year is very real, although it will look different for each of us. My wish for you is to spend a beautiful holiday time with your family and friends, and create the life you wish to live for the coming weeks, months and year.