In this lunar cycle, we embark on an adventure. We’ve booked passage and suddenly find ourselves in strange waters. Or we’ve stowed away, desperate to leave our past behind, never expecting the mysteries we encounter. Or we’ve been kidnapped, unwilling and unwitting, into a weird landscape.
There were clues along the way. The Full Moon in Leo of February 5 squaring Uranus gave us a heads up. The pace of change accelerated. Mercury’s conjunction with Pluto on February 10 pulled back the curtain, revealing depths we did not expect. One of Saturn’s last acts in Aquarius on February 16 is a conjunction with the Sun, a recharge and renewal for the Lord of Time before entering a timeless place.
Our journey begins with the New Moon in Pisces on February 20, an initiation into magical ways of knowing. The next day, Venus enters Aries, a pirate queen to lead us. Mercury enters Pisces and a child speaks prophecy, heralding change. At the Full Moon in Virgo, Saturn enters Pisces. Spiders spin webs over a wizard’s eyes as he slips into a dreamscape.
The Sun and Mercury each conjunct Neptune, initiating us into deeper mysteries, not long before the Mercury cazimi: Sun and Mercury ignite as visions take on new meanings. Venus enters Taurus, ready to plant seeds gathered from strange forests. The New Moon in Aries arrives and we are born anew with the equinox, the Aries ingress. We are new indeed, and so is the landscape. I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Every culture has tales of journeys that do not go as planned, in which we veer far from the known to find ourselves deep in the weird. As we embark on the journey of this lunar cycle, it’s good to remember the original “wryd” meant fate or destiny. Patterns in the sky point the way.
New Moon in Pisces to Full Moon in Virgo
The New Moon in Pisces (1º21’) arrives in the nighttime space between February 19–20, offering strong dreaming. This will be a wonderful night to keep a journal, pen, and small flashlight under your pillow to record your visions.
The Sun and Moon separate from a strong but out-of-sign conjunction with Saturn at 28º10’ Aquarius. At first glance, Saturn in cold, logical air might seem to hold the Sun and Moon back, preventing them from going off to sea, or at least insisting they first make a plan.
But Saturn at the end of Aquarius is disillusioned with the realm of fixed air. In the first decan of Pisces, we look for a way out of the maze of our current limitations. As Saturn enters Pisces during this cycle, it will join the Sun, Moon, and other planets therein, all searching for new ways to expand and dream.
Venus in the third decan of Pisces (29º57’) is in its exaltation. Unafraid to confront great depths in the search for transformation, Venus is in partile sextile to Pluto. This is Persephone as Queen of the Underworld, embracing the riches to be found in Shadow.
Mercury the messenger is busy, sextiling Chiron while applying to square Uranus and trine Mars. All three aspects will perfect during the New Moon phase.
Mars still moves slowly and remains out of bounds, as it has for months. Mercury asks what needs to be healed (Chiron at 13º25’ Aries) before we can accept the changes that are coming (Uranus at 15º17’ Taurus) and move forward (Mars at 15º50’ Gemini).
Venus enters Aries less than an hour after the New Moon is exact. Now we have our beacon, our bright goddess as pioneer. Venus in Aries is an explorer and warrior, intrepid and passionate. This is the light in dark places when all other lights go out.
The Crescent phase opens February 23 with the Moon at 19º42’ Aries. This is a place of kingship, of claiming sovereignty. The Moon has separated enough from the Sun to reflect light back to us. Even though the landscape is unfamiliar, we can still make plans. It’s time to set goals for this cycle, even if one goal is to remain flexible.
The First Quarter of February 27 is a time for skill building. What do we need for this journey? Let’s learn about that. The Moon at 8º27’ Gemini has lots of ideas as it moves to conjunct Mars, an aspect that will perfect on the same day. Gemini is clever, quick, and not too interested in the rules. Sleight of hand magicians are good at picking pockets.
Yet Mercury, ruler of Gemini, remains in late Aquarius, the fixed air sign of lofty ideals and commitments. Mercury applies to conjunct Saturn, traditional ruler of this sign. The planning process just got a little heavy-handed. The Moon and Mars in Gemini might feel micromanaged, but remain ready to act.
The defining aspect of this phase, the Sun–Moon square, reminds us we’re in a magical space. The deft flexibility of the Gemini Moon helps us learn how to navigate this bewildering Piscean place.
There are boons to be found. Venus will conjunct Jupiter at 12º08’ Aries. The greater and lesser benefics conjoin. The pirate queen meets the wizard king. Together they weave a vision for a bright future. These two have the power to create together.
The First Quarter closes as Mercury enters Pisces. This is the prophet as child speaking riddles in rhyme. Our minds open to new ways of knowing. Mercury acts as herald for Saturn, who will enter Pisces with the Full Moon in Virgo.
The Gibbous phase of March 3 presents a final challenge before the Full Moon, often an unexpected one. Here we find ourselves face to face with Pluto. The Moon at 27º34’ Cancer opposes Pluto at 29º33’ Capricorn. We’re in the underdark.
One shadow quality of Pisces is the tendency to lose our way, and ourselves, as we’re entranced by elusive, enticing spells. It can be difficult to stay focused. It becomes easy to avoid what is challenging, unpleasant, and uncomfortable.
The Moon in Cancer would prefer to stay cozy and warm at home. But we’re not at home, not any more. The Gibbous questions are: Can we gaze into the darkness and face what we see there? Can we change what needs to be changed and accept what cannot be altered?
Full Moon in Virgo to New Moon in Aries
At the Full Moon in Virgo of March 7, we confront any anxieties we have about the strange new world forming around us.
The Moon at 16º40’ Virgo opposes the Sun at 16º40’ Pisces. The Sun keeps company with Mercury and Neptune, and will soon welcome Saturn into the Piscean mists. The Moon, on the other hand, is alone in Virgo and not well supported.
The Sun and Moon form a sextile and trine to Uranus at 15º44’ Taurus. The stable earth of Taurus might feel good to the Virgo Moon, but Uranus the revolutionary does not. Quick, unexpected change is anathema to the quiet, detailed-oriented Virgo Moon.
The Sun and Moon apply to square Mars at 21º48’ Gemini. Ordinarily, a square to Mars might cause friction despite it being a mutable t-square. Yet Mars and the Moon are both in Mercury’s signs, and Mercury is not too available.
At 7º58’ Pisces, Mercury is in its sign of detriment and fall — a double-whammy that happens because Mercury both rules and is exalted in Virgo. In addition, Mercury is combust, within 9º of the Sun. This Mercury is lost in a dreamscape of its own, unable to support the Moon or Mars.
Less than an hour after the exact Full Moon, Saturn enters Pisces. This is a sea change. Saturn has been so powerful, so influential for the last six years. The emphasis has been on reality, the hard kind. Now Saturn leaves its favorite domiciles behind to lose itself in ambiguity.
A big source of pressure leaves the fixed signs. There will be relief, and also possibly confusion. What do we do now to create structure?
In the second decan of Virgo, this Full Moon is a maker. What does the craftsperson, the seamstress, the artist do when everything is dissolving and reforming itself endlessly?
We can give in to anxiety, an emotion the Virgo Moon knows well. We can hunker down, hiding under our own fabrications, hoping a more firm and consistent reality emerges soon. (It won’t, by the way.)
Or we can use our hands, tools, and skills to create beauty from mystery. Think of the reliquaries created during the Middle Ages to house sacred remains of saints. A beautiful chest of gold and silver, set with precious jewels, might house a saint’s finger bone and become a blessing.
Think of talismans made at elected times, using incantations, fumigations with the appropriate herbs and resins, beautifully designed, artfully crafted to hold the magic of a particular moment, some small part of the power of a planet or a star.
Using the eye for detail and delicate skills of Virgo, how might we capture some of the power of this Piscean time?
The Disseminating phase of March 11 finds the Moon still in difficulty. This phase opens with a sesquiquadrate (135º) between the Sun and Moon, a challenging angle. But we find the Moon at the apex of an aspect pattern called Thor’s Hammer.
The Moon (5º34’ Scorpio) forms a sesquiquadrate to Mars (23º29’ Gemini) as well as the Sun, as the Sun and Mars square each other. Thor’s Hammer makes this Moon a target.
Let’s add some aspects. The Moon is separating from a conjunction with the South Node (4º41’ Scorpio) and opposition to the North Node (4º41 Taurus). This happens to be the location of the final eclipse of 2023, a partial lunar eclipse at the Full Moon (5º09’ Taurus) of October 28.
The Sun is conjunct Mercury (15º05’) and Neptune (24º56’) in Pisces. Both are combust. Our journey through a mist-filled and mystical landscape continues.
But there’s more than a bit of honey badger about a Moon in Scorpio. This highly intuitive and insightful Moon is content to watch what happens, reading the room and saying nothing to nobody. Conflict aimed at this Moon is just more data. Honey badger don’t care.
We enter the Last Quarter phase March 14 with another Moon–Mars–Sun t-square, arranged differently. The Moon at 24º13’ Sagittarius squares the Sun at 24º13’ Pisces and opposes Mars at 25º07’ Gemini.
The Last Quarter is the pivot between the Full and New Moons, time to make good on what we’ve learned during this cycle, before preparing for the next. The Pisces Sun may be content to float, but the Moon and Mars want to move.
Mars remains disadvantaged, moving slowly and ruled by a combust Mercury. This Moon, though, has agency. Ruled by Jupiter in Aries, there’s fire energy we can use to go adventuring.
Just don’t expect a clear path. This Last Quarter is filled with pivotal moments that deepen the creative, spiritual, and mystical intensity of this time.
On March 15, the Sun conjuncts Neptune at 25º06’ Pisces. This is Neptune’s moment on the throne of the Sun, a recharge and revelation. Neptune is very much at home in Pisces and can be a powerful catalyst here.
March 16, Mercury is conjunct Neptune while also in partile conjunction with the Sun. The planet of the mind has entered the Sun’s palace, communing first with Neptune before reaching the Sun’s throne.
Also on March 16, Venus enters Taurus, its own night domicile. In this fixed earth sign, Venus can begin helping us find solid ground.
March 17, Mercury reaches cazimi. This is Mercury’s superior conjunction, with the planet moving direct and on the far side of the Sun. Mercury is collecting information from great distances. This is the “full” phase, as Mercury will now begin moving closer to Earth.
We’re in a liminal space, crossing a series of thresholds. We can open our minds and hearts to absorb impressions but may not be able to sort them all out yet.
Within the Balsamic phase that begins March 18, a shift in energy takes place.
The Balsamic Moon at 12º34’ Aquarius has the clarity to survey the current landscape and make decisions. We can see what will be useful going forward and what can be released. This is the task at hand.
March 19, Mercury enters Aries. This is a big boost in energy for Mercury, especially since it is now in mutual reception with Mars. Mercury in Mars’s sign of Aries offers new, direct support to Mars in Mercury’s sign of Gemini.
March 20, the Sun enters Aries. This is the moment of the spring equinox, the beginning of the zodiacal year. The Sun has completed its annual journey through the twelve signs and is made new in the sign of its exaltation. This is a stronger Sun, energized and awake.
March 21 is the New Moon with the Sun and Moon at 00º49’ Aries. The balance tips from water to fire, from the flexibility of mutable signs to the determined focus of cardinal ones.
The Moon is not at its best in Aries, but the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter are all fine, thank you very much. We have gained much during our strange journeys through uncharted territory. We’ve looked into dark places, been lost in mist and fog, and received illuminations.
It’s been a wild ride. We’ll need time to sort it all out. Right now, it feels like a new year and new chance to take direct action toward our goals. It’s time to move.
(Editor’s note: Daylight Savings Time begins in different parts of the world in this lunar cycle. The date mentioned that an aspects perfects may change slightly, but the degrees remain the same.)
Mary Pat Lynch is a consulting astrologer based in the mountains of western North Carolina. Her background includes psychological astrology, as well as mythic, magical, and archetypal perspectives. She publishes a blog focused on the lunar cycle, with podcast episodes for each New and Full Moon.
Contact: risingmoonastrology.com or @risingmoonastrology on Instagram and most podcast outlets.