Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
The Full Moon in Cancer invites us to stretch ourselves emotionally and psychologically, mentally and socially. Discover how to step beyond your usual familiar territory on multiple levels.
It’s not about getting out of your comfort zone to reach your goal. It's about widening your comfort zone so far that your goal fits comfortably inside.
~ Richie Norton
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Jan. 17, 2022, 6:48 PM EST
Jan. 17, 2022, 11:48 PM GMT
Jan. 18, 2022, 10:48 AM AEDT
Cancer is the sign of protection, comfort, nurturing and belonging. The Full Moon in Cancer brings the need to find more resilient and effective ways to embrace those qualities in our lives without losing the ability to also be daring, responsible and courageous.
As with all zodiac signs, there are two sides to this Cardinal Water sign. On one hand, the Inner Child in us might identify with the need to be cared for, cuddled, loved and cherished. On the other hand, there's nothing sweet or childlike about the Cancer side of us when it gets triggered into defense mode. Think mother bear protecting her cubs!
Right now, either or both the 'mother bear' and 'little cub' parts of you may be activated due to sensing a heaviness or harshness within or around you. The culprit is Pluto which is tightly conjunct the Sun and opposite the Moon, and is therefore increasing the level of intensity in our lives.
At the difficult end of the spectrum, this could be focused on something external (like a relationship of some kind having troubles, worry about the state of the pandemic, etc.) or internal (like depression, anxiety, or struggling with the knowledge that you must make a change you've been avoiding). However, at the more positive end of that spectrum, if you're ready for that change, Pluto can escort you into the Underworld of transformation and guide you through to the other side of it.
Either way, this journey is not likely to be a light and fluffy adventure, but it can be a useful, productive and even enlightening one.
Sometimes it is good to be in uncomfortable situations because it is in finding our way out of such difficulties that we learn valuable lessons.
~ Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability
There are several factors in the Full Moon chart that point to an opportunity to stretch yourself emotionally and psychologically. You may feel called to try new ways of coping that enable you to resist being swallowed up by discouragement or despair when faced with struggle. This is a chance to learn how to detach from an emotionally demanding situation so that you aren't trapped inside it.
One factor is that the Moon is Out of Bounds by declination, which is especially significant because, well, it's the Moon! And the Moon rules Cancer, the sign of the Full Moon. When the Moon goes OOB, it can invite us to step away from our connections with other people and adopt a more emotionally detached focus.
Notice I said "detached" and not "disconnected." Being detached in a healthy way means being grounded and centered from within, rather than needing all of your validation from other people, whereas being disconnected implies a kind of disinterest or even rejection. Depending on the context, of course, each frame of mind could be helpful or detrimental.
As an example, if you're prone to obsessive attachment to others, the OOB Moon could help you let go and discover ways to provide what you need to yourself instead of looking for it from others. And with Pluto tightly wound around the Full Moon axis right now, dealing with obsession and attachment might be a central theme.
Mars is also Out of Bounds, having just crossed the line on Jan. 12 and remaining in the outer limits until Feb. 10. Mars, being the planet of aggression, force, drive and courage, tends to become a bit amplified or erratic while OOB. During this period, you might notice increased controversy, dissension, resistance or defiance in the world around you, or even within yourself.
At the time of the Full Moon, Mars is in Sagittarius, just 2 degrees away from the Galactic Centre. You might feel like you are driven to push forward to fulfil some uplifting aspiration or dream. You may find it's not easy to take concrete steps until Mars moves into Capricorn on Jan. 24, so for now it might make more sense to just stay open to the inspiration or vision that has gripped you.
[diagram] That said, it might feel like that dream is out of your reach or that you're not sure how to connect your emotional heart to your inspired drive. The reason is that in the Full Moon chart, the Moon is quincunx Mars (150°), which can indicate a disconnect between them. You may need to take a step back from both—from your inner need for personal well-being, and from your inspired instinct to touch a transpersonal dream—until you can accept this seeming paradox and know that they can and do co-exist within you.
Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
Two other factors that suggest your way of dealing with feeling issues are not business-as-usual, are Mercury and Venus, both of which are currently retrograde. Venus in Capricorn has been retrograde since Dec. 21 and will continue until Jan. 29. This has tended to make interactions and relationships awkward, or at least require a different kind of approach with a different set of expectations. Being in practical Capricorn,
Mercury just recently went retrograde on Jan. 14 and stays that way until Feb. 3 – a shorter than usual journey through retro-land. Being retrograde in Aquarius, this can mess with your technology more than usual. If you haven't already, it might be wise to make a fresh backup of any files that would make you cry real tears if they bit the dust.
Mercury in Aquarius encourages us to adopt a more cerebral frame of mind that can explore the more conceptual implications of what is happening around us. In other words, step back a bit from having a tender, feeling focus.
Mercury and Venus crossed paths by parallel declination when Mercury turned retrograde, and are still tightly parallel at the Full Moon. (See diagram above.) Normally, a Mercury-Venus parallel can encourage creative ideas, charismatic communication, social interaction, or debating negotiation. In this case, there's an extra twist because both planets are retrograde, so the effect might be more like reconsidering previous creative ideas, or renegotiating agreements, or talking with someone you haven't heard from for a long time.
Mercury and Venus are in different signs that are both ruled by Saturn, which is involved with both of them by a regular aspect as well as widely parallel to them. Mercury stationed just 3° shy of conjoining Saturn and they are still closely conjunct (4:40 orb apart). Saturn-Mercury encourages us to incorporate more discipline, responsibility and maturity in how we choose to view events and frame our experiences.
Saturn is also precisely semi-sextile Venus (30° with a mere 0:05 orb). This aspect sets up a subtle connection between perhaps re-evaluating social or relationship commitments and the need to prevent those commitments from having a stranglehold on your expectations of others. As an example, you might be challenged to assess whether a relationship with a friend or lover is a bit overly controlled (and needs to lighten up a bit) or needs some clarified or firmer boundaries.
You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.
~ Roy T. Bennett
Saturn is still closely square Uranus after being exact on Dec. 24, and although that was their final exact pass, the conjunction remains active throughout 2022. This transit struggles to find common ground between the need for stability, order and discipline that keeps the present functioning well, versus the urge to throw off the shackles of that order for the sake of freedom, growth and renewal that speaks to the potential of the future.
When Mercury stationed retrograde on Jan. 14, he was barely half-a-degree shy of squaring Uranus, and at the Full Moon they are still tightly square. This may have evoked the need to reconsider or renegotiate agreements, decisions or choices that had been previously put in place, relating to the freedom-and-liberation versus law-and-order dynamic. Since Mercury is still retrograde for another 2½ weeks, this debate about which direction to take is still playing out.
On the other hand, Uranus is in a cooperative trine to Venus, which is also part of a longer story. Venus only makes one exact trine to Uranus, which was back on Nov. 19. However, when she stations direct on Jan. 29, she will be a mere 0:12 shy of making another exact trine again with Uranus; in fact, they hover within a tight 1-degree orb for almost 2 weeks, from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4. It's very possible that negotiations, options and possibilities in Venus-related areas could be a bit unstable during that time, as circumstances settle into a workable fit between controlled expectations and ever-shifting changes. In the meantime, the Full Moon is a time when you are busy evaluating the changing possibilities.
Just to put one final spin on things, Uranus is also stationary, going direct just hours after the exact moment of the Full Moon. This gives Uranus' role in the square with Saturn, as well as the Mercury-Venus dramas, some extra thunder. That which is likely to be unpredictable, dissenting or visionary could lean toward being a bit fickle, reckless or misleading.
Even the smallest changes in our daily routine can create incredible ripple effects that expand our vision of what is possible.
~ Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain: The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life
There's one more factor that invites you to try taking a different route through the fluidity of your feelings, intuition and inner needs. Jupiter is unaspected in terms of major aspects to other planets. However, Jupiter has an abundance of minor aspects and midpoints in the chart, so his presence in the chart is more subtle or ethereal than direct and upfront.
Most of Jupiter's aspects are in the Quintile/Decile family, based on dividing the circle by 5 or 10. In general, these aspects are about natural creativity often expressed in artistic or intellectual forms (music, art, mathematics, etc). Since Jupiter is involved, this brings in a sense of enlightened inspiration or even genius. I discussed this in the New Moon in Capricorn article as well.
Jupiter is biquintile the Moon (144°) and decile the Sun (36°), forming a kind of Quintile Wedge aspect figure with the Full Moon axis. Jupiter is also decile both Pluto and Chiron, and sits at the midpoint between them, thus forming a kind of Mini-Quintile triangle figure.
Overall, these aspects to Jupiter suggest that in your effort to find a way to find better ways to deal with feelings, intuition and the need for safety, there is an opportunity to reach beyond the usual ways of meeting these needs to find innovative or visionary new perspectives. In other words, be open to fresh ideas and ways of understanding things.
Jupiter is still square the Lunar Nodes, after making the exact pass on Jan. 3. They've been lingering within a 6° orb from Dec. 3 to Jan. 23, with Jupiter squaring first from Aquarius, up to Dec. 28, and then from Pisces thereafter.
In general, Jupiter square the Nodes poses a question about whether we are reaching out to manifest our highest potential – is this the best we can do, can imagine for ourselves, can aspire to? While in Aquarius, the answers, fears and hopes that occurred to us were likely more intellectual or focused on how the collective was/wasn't reflecting what we hoped to achieve.
With Jupiter in Pisces, our answers may be more intuitive, emotional or existential, where we seek to place ourselves and our potential within a universal context – am I living up to the highest promise granted by the Universe? And how can I incorporate a vision of ultimate love and wisdom into how I understand and respond to the crazy world around me?
But these questions continue to evolve, as the Lunar Nodes are changing signs from Gemini/Sagittarius (North/South) to Taurus/Scorpio on Jan. 18. (Note that I'm using the True Lunar Nodes, whereas the Mean Lunar Nodes changed signs back on Dec. 22, 2021.) In general, the South Node represents "where we've been" or the issues, questions and challenges that we've worked through in the past and taken as far as we could go. The North Node beacons us to move on from there, to leave the past behind or to place those issues on the back burner, allowing us to focus on the next step in our evolutionary process.
The Nodes in Gemini/Sagittarius (since May 2020) have invited us to move away from trying to find The Ultimate Meaning In Everything (Sagittarius) and just concentrate on the facts and essential information in front of us (Gemini). With the Nodes moving into Taurus/Scorpio, we are challenged to let go of the compulsion to plumb the ultimate depths of every experience (Scorpio), so that we can enjoy life's simple pleasures just for what they are (Taurus), without needing to suss out hidden agendas or motives. This also invites us to create stability and consistency in our lives and in our daily routines, which can help to balance out any emotional intensity or overwhelm we might experience.
Like the meaning of my name, questions follow me wherever I go.
~ Joseph Bruchac, Pocahontas
The Sabian Symbol for Cancer 28 is "A modern Pocahontas" (original 1920s wording) or "An Indian girl introduces her white lover to her assembled tribe" (rewording by Dane Rudhyar). This is an awkward image to interpret, at best, all the controversy and inaccuracies surrounding the actual story of "Pocahontas" starting with the fact that her real name was Amonute (or Matoaka in private). Indeed, there are secrets and hidden truths emerging now about the painful reality that Indigenous people have endured, which were far from common knowledge in the early 20th century. (Note: Content on the websites of these links may be disturbing.)
How this Symbol can or should be interpreted depends on how you look at it. Indeed, an entire article could be written about it. Perhaps it could help to start in a place of uncertainty about whether there is any absolute or singular meaning in the events of this time – everything has an aspect of shifting interpretation depending on how you look at it.
The originators of the Sabian Symbols (medium Elsie Wheeler and astrologer Marc Edmund Jones) would have viewed this from a 1920s perspective. In that context, Jones felt this symbol focused on co-operation between different cultures. Therefore, for us this symbol might pose the question: If you reach out in cooperation with something or someone outside your comfort zone, be aware of whether you are revealing a truth or creating a convenient myth.
This being a degree in the sign of Cancer, which is about family, ancestry and belonging, perhaps the Full Moon can be a time to examine the deeper truths about your family's past, your childhood, or current home life. This seems to be supported, even encouraged, by Pluto opposing the Moon which can open the door to your emotional underworld if you are receptive to it. If it gets too intense or overwhelming, reach out to someone for some support or therapeutic help. That said, don't sell yourself short by assuming you're not up to the task to some extent. You may find you have more courage than you think.
As always, stay safe. Stay sane. Stay awesome. The world needs you!
You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
~ Brene Brown
The next update will be for the New Moon in Aquarius on Feb. 1, 2022, when the Sun and Moon are conjunct Saturn. This is just a couple of days after Venus goes direct and before Mercury goes direct. See you next time!