Every year, the time from the New Moon in Pisces to the New Moon in Aries can be seen as the 12th House phase, the Balsamic phase: Moondark of the entire zodiacal year. I was born at the very end of Moondark, with the Moon only three degrees behind the Sun, and both those Lights plus three other planets in the twelfth house of my horoscope.
So – twelfth house/Balsamic/Moondark phases of any month, year or indeed planetary cycle whether progressed or by transit affect me very deeply and interest me profoundly. I have learned over decades to live with those complex stages reasonably productively, so I hope that my musings in this post during the approaching Moondark of the whole year of 2019 will provide productive food for thought and appropriate contemplation!
Moondark describes the end of any cycle – the 12th house phase – whether we are contemplating the monthly Sun/Moon one or the epoch-defining 500 year long Neptune/Pluto cycle. It is the time of withdrawal and dissolution of energy – think of wintertime, the stripped trees, the cold, barren earth – a time of dark power in which the old order dies at a number of different levels, so that fertile energy can emerge from the womb of the night.
It occurred to me some years ago that this ancient astronomical pattern of the yearly phases of the Sun/Moon relationship and its attendant meaning in the yearly cycle had been taken up and overlaid – as with so many of the old pagan yearly traditions – by Christianity. Easter and Christ’s Resurrection could be roughly mapped onto the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere around the 20th of March each year, followed by the Aries New Moon and the beginning of Spring.
In Christianity, the forty days preceding Easter when Christ retreated into the wilderness to wrestle with various temptations, to fast and to pray, is known as Lent: a time of watching, waiting, self-denial, contemplation and prayer.
The March/April period each year is also observed at various times by other religious traditions including Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Judaism. The ancient longing, waiting for the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere and with it the renewal of Spring has deep roots: to a time when our ancestors’ whole existence was predicated closely upon the path of the Sun and the Sun/Moon relationship.
Thus, despite all the sophisticated technological trappings of 21st Century living, my feeling – based on observation of my own, my clients’ and students’ lives over several decades – is that at a deep psychological level these ancient patterns still affect us whether we are consciously aware of them or not.
That wonderfully poetic astrological writer Dana Gerhardt puts it beautifully:
“…Balsamic begins with the waning Sun/Moon semi-square. The Moon is a slim Crescent, forty-five degrees behind the Sun…Our physical energy is necessarily as low as our psychic energy is high. We’re at a threshold, ending one cycle while anticipating a new one round the corner. We might want to get into motion, but our bodies are tired. Our clarity and focus wane, like the Balsamic Moon herself, rising thinner and fainter each morning until she eventually disappears altogether, lost in the Sun’s glare. This is the Dark Moon.
Much of the time we won’t know whether we’re finishing up or leaning toward the future, whether we’re being truly psychic or simply dreaming – which is why this is a better period for introspection than for action. Without the dormancy of winter, spring’s (or the New Moon’s) seeds cannot mature…”(i)
Personally, I am experiencing a triple dose of what Dana so aptly summarises! My progressed Moon shifts into Aries in June 2019, thus ushering in a new 27 year cycle, the last of which started in the Spring of 1992 with the early beginnings of my travel from Glasgow to London by air to study with Liz Greene and the late Charles Harvey at the Centre for Psychological Astrology. I can still remember the excitement and stimulus of those early years.
For the last year especially, as this whole 27 year cycle draws to a close, I have been feeling that ennui, listlessness and need for new stimulus which is so characteristic of the Moondark phase of any cycle. So, if you add in this being the Moondark phase of the whole year about to begin with the Pisces New Moon, plus its being the Moondark phase of the whole month from the New Moon in Aquarius on 4th February 2019, I feel pretty amazed that I am able to get out of bed these days, never mind write a blog post!
So – it might be productive for you to think of those major cycles which we all share: the 11-12 year cycle of Jupiter, the 18-19 year cycle of the Moon’s Nodes, the 27-year cycle of the progressed Moon, the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn, and the 50 year cycle of Chiron.
What were you doing in the last year or so of each of those cycles? What had changed by the time the new cycle had begun to take shape after 1-2 years? Depending on your age, you may by now be able to look back through eg three or four or more cycles of Jupiter, or eg two cycles of Saturn? What themes can you detect which have unfolded through these cycles and repeats? I really enjoy working in this way with my clients, my students and mentorees – and myself. There is much understanding and learning to be gained therefrom.
There is already plenty of commentary of varying quality across the Web regarding the nature of this upcoming Pisces New Moon, and what we might expect it to bring. I’ll be sharing (on this blog’s Facebook Page) one or two of what I think are the best of those writings as the Pisces New Moon waxes. However, just from a quick glance at the chart, featured at the top of this post: Wow! It is going to be quite a month, with the New Moon conjunct Neptune, semi-square Uranus which re-enters Taurus on the same day ie Wednesday 6th March 2019. Mercury, currently stationary, turns retrograde at the end of Pisces, heading back towards Neptune by the end of March 2019…
You only have to look at the state of the UK, due ( supposedly) to leave the European Union on 29th of March 2019 with none of us from our unbelievably incompetent and divided politicians downwards having the faintest idea yet what’s to happen, to get a vivid picture of the fog of confusion, uncertainty, wishful thinking and unpredictable disruption which is likely to surround us at all levels in the upcoming month.
Uranus’ entry into Taurus is already heralded by a much more severe than usual tornado season gathering momentum in the USA. No doubt this combination of energies will bring floods of one kind or another, as well as other disruptions in the natural world. Will Trump’s USA state of emergency get blown up and swept away by Democratic opposition? I could go on…but will leave that to the many other commentators!
At a personal level, we will need to ‘go with the flow’, disruptive us it may well be, as much as we can. It’s a good time for letting things hang loose, not making any definite plans and expecting if we do, that things may very well not go smoothly. However, good old Saturn in Capricorn makes a calming, anchoring sextile to the New Moon/Neptune combination. So – let’s hope that we can all keep our heads above turbulent waters, and learn a bit more from whatever experiences come our way, as the month unfolds…
As ever, it would be great to have your feedback …this is how we all learn!
(i) from Dana’s Moonwatching series on Astrodienst: https://www.astro.com/info/in_dg_balsamic_e.htm
1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2019