The chart of a New Moon gives us a look at the opportunities and challenges of the month ahead. This month, the New Moon in Leo asks us to focus our minds on our hearts.
This month, we’ll want to get our emotions working in tandem with our conscious, reasoning minds to steer a path through emotional minefields and attempts at gaslighting in a way that honors our personal values and spiritual beliefs.
If we can create honest, open communication based in compassion and empathy (and I remind you that you don’t need to accept someone’s actions or opinions to communicate honestly and with compassion), we can make great strides in improving our families, communities, and even the world.
But we also need to find the courage to stand up for our values and set personal boundaries. It is possible to extend compassion and empathy while drawing clear boundaries against those who cause harm. It’s just not easy to do. Discernment is key.
Cultivating discernment would be a good thing to focus on this month. We’ll be surrounded by deception, delusion, and illusion and it will be too easy for some of us to be manipulated, deceived, and even traumatized by people and events if we are not attentive to and aware of what’s going on around us.
Revolution is in the air all through this year and the next. The world is changing rapidly. Getting ourselves into shape — spirit, mind, body, home, and community — to whatever extent we can means we will be able to respond effectively to the rapid, often surprising, and even shocking changes that are in store for us.
I’ll take a couple of paragraphs for a dive into the astrology, then we’ll look a little more specifically at what we have to work with and what to look out for in the upcoming month.
(Astrologers: Here’s what I’m looking at. The chart is cast for August 8, 9:50 am EDT, Washington, DC. I use Equal Houses. Remember that the angles and houses are applicable to the USA, planetary placements and aspects are global.
The Leo New Moon is always a powerful one because Sun is in the sign it rules. Mercury is in a separating conjunction with the New Moon, still combust. The NM closely squares Uranus and, more widely, opposes Saturn.
Mercury rules the Ascendant and Midheaven in an approaching opposition to Jupiter, as well as a trine to Eris.
Venus tightly opposes Neptune and trines Pluto, and Pluto is in less than 20 arc-minutes of partile to its final square of Eris. And speaking of Eris…)
The Goddess of Discord
The dwarf planet Eris is prominent in this chart, and the myth of the goddess the planet was named for is remarkably relevant to the work and explorations we are called to this month.
(Short version of the myth: She is not invited to an important wedding, because she always brings discord. She shows up anyway, and tosses a golden apple engraved “For the Fairest” into the assembled crowd, which ends up starting the Trojan War.)
Her myth is presented as an illustration of the consequences of jealousy, revenge, and vanity, and it is. But it is also a fine lesson in projection and exclusion. Those who refused the Goddess of Discord found that they had discord aplenty in their own hearts, which, fueled by vanity — ego run amok — they then uploaded into the harsh reality of a devastating and deadly 10-year war.
This is a good time to investigate and call back our own projections, and to examine the role of conflict and ego in our own lives.
The Art of Living
Leo rules both the Self, the essence of who we are, and our creative nature. Here’s the thing: we can have all the creative inspirations we want, but if we don’t have a reasonably functional ego, we won’t be able to make those inspirations manifest in the world.
It’s the ego that allows us to maneuver and manage our lives within this realm of time and space. But when it is exposed to existential fears and trauma (as most of us are, to differing degrees, at a young age in this culture) it is likely to react in fear. A fearful ego, unlike a healthy ego that is strengthened by a sense of a greater Self and a connection to others, is on a quest to find safety and a place for itself in the world without considering the needs and feelings of others.
People who do not feel safe, who do not feel cared for or connected, either cower and attach themselves to anyone they perceive as stronger and a refuge, (though their perceptions are usually way off base) or they seek power and influence over others (usually the cowering ones) to insure their own safety. Either way, the result is discord, self-centeredness, and a sense of having to constantly fight for a place in the world.
This is why Leo is also known for a big heart and a generous nature. As the sign that honors the individual self, Leo knows that connection and caring is what heals both individuals and their cultures, and Leo’s dream is to have everyone feel secure in their Self and its creative nature. Leo is the sign of the artist and the performer, and the enlightened Leo honors their audience as fellow artists.
Giving the ego what it needs to function is essential to a creative, fulfilled life. It’s when we deprive it of the life-giving Sun of attention to its needs, when we are left in fear for our existence as an individual, that ego tries to run our life and degenerates into vanity and meaningless competition.
When that happens, instead of looking at a situation with an artist’s eye for perspective and insight, we simply try to outdo each other as a way of feeling worthy when our creative expression is blocked.
(And for those of you who think you aren’t an artist, keep in mind that life itself is a creative act. You can’t avoid creating — being an artist is a question of paying attention to what you are creating. And making magic is a creative endeavor. More about all that here.)
So how can we give ego the attention and fuel it needs to help us create our dreams without letting it degenerate into vanity and run the show from the well-lit dressing table of our fears? Eris’ myth is a cautionary tale for our times. Her action — tossing the golden apple into the crowd of the self-congratulatory celebrants who had excluded her — simply exposed the discord and vanity in their own hearts.
We are going to be seeing a lot of exposure of ego and vanity this month. We may even discover some of our own, if we dare to look. The question is, will its exposure lead to healing or to war, and how can we ensure that, in our own circles at least, there is healing?
(Astrologers: Note the opposition of Venus in Virgo to Neptune in Pisces, and Mars, also in Virgo, square the nodal axis)
Healing the Wound
There are people who live their whole lives caught up in their own small, fearful worlds, trying to prove their worth to themselves and others by forcing their opinions, needs, and desires on others, no matter the consequences.
The rest of us only get caught up sometimes. Feel worthless sometimes. Use force to get our needs met sometimes. But the very few people in this world who are enlightened enough to never fall prey to fear and small-mindedness are not reading (or writing) this post. Which means we all have things to learn this month.
The more we are cut off from each other, the more prone we are to fear and anxiety and all the othering that makes community unsustainable and starts wars.
Concerted efforts to develop compassion and empathy — even for those who are stuck in their own little world or dealing in bad faith — can help us find community-level solutions to our problems. (If you don’t know where to start developing compassion, try the Buddhist meditation technique of Metta).
At a time when we most need to nurture and care for each other, as illness and death and destruction from fires and floods and drought plague us, we are at each other’s throats. We demean, denigrate, and hurl insults at each other. We make ad hominem attacks, as though we could know someone else’s true motives.
We truly cannot even imagine the level of mental and emotional pain some people deal with every hour of every day. We don’t know if another person’s opinions and actions are based in responses to trauma. We don’t know what their soul hopes to accomplish in this lifetime. We don’t know what they would believe and how they would act if they were healed and unafraid.
We don’t know, and so it is impossible to judge them.
Sure, we can judge and condemn their words and actions and counter them as best we can, but taking every opportunity to find a way of communicating that opens a doorway to healing and connection can change our relationships, and changed relationships change the world.
Few of us are able to always react with compassion. But we can, at least, make a conscious effort to at least speak with civility, even when we disagree. We can work to understand the fears — our own and others’ — that drive conflict, which is the first step on the road to healing.
Over the next month, we’ll be seeing a lot of folks projecting their internal discord out into the world. There will be lies and corruption exposed. Golden apples will be tossed into various groups, and squabbling will ensue. We’ll see this in our personal lives and on a community level as well as nationally.
But remember it was not Eris’ golden apple that caused the discord at the wedding. It was the other gods’ reactions to it that began the Trojan War.
Own your reactions to others and to events, and consider what you are reacting to.
I’ve always thought that Eris was an enlightened being with a rather dark sense of humor. What she did exposed the underlying discord that existed in the room, and highlighted what happens to the human psyche when we deny and cast out parts of our selves. No longer whole, cut off from the Source, we start to live in fear, and our ego, which is meant to help us create from our soul, withers away into a beggar for crumbs from the tables of others to feed our little vanities.
So yes, it’s time for shadow work. It’s time for healing. It’s time to find and honor your unique contribution to this world, and make it manifest.
Compassion does not make you weak. Kindness will not make you a victim. Start by recognizing, then extending compassion and kindness to the parts of your self you have rejected. Work to understand them, transform them, integrate them into a whole, powerful human being who knows that they can make a better world through the choices they make.
Reach out to others knowing that they, too, have the ability to change, and that compassion is both a catalyst of transformation and a healing balm to divided and fearful hearts.
We are already in the midst of major transformations of the Earth itself, and all the life upon it. We need each other, and we need each other to be whole and healed. We all have something to contribute to the work ahead of us — that of finding a sustainable, creative, perhaps even joyful way for humans to live on this planet as part of the great Web of Life that sustains us.
We are all called to this work. It’s a good month to think about how you will answer the call. In this harvest season, honor the gifts of the Earth, and consider how you can give back.
Blessings of Lammastide to you!