Lessons in Surrendering
When the Full Moon is in Virgo, the Sun is in Pisces. The Virgo-Pisces axis shows how we seek to understand and work with the the universe which seemingly goes on forever. How do you even wrap your head around that?? Well, you can go in two possible directions: macrocosm or microcosm.
To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.~ Alan Wilson Watts
FULL MOON in VIRGO
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Mar. 18, 2022, 3:17 AM EDT
Other America: Mar. 17, 2022
11:17 PM AKDT
10:17 PM HAST
Mar. 18, 2022, 7:17 AM GMT
Mar. 18, 2022, 6:17 PM AEDT
In the macrocosm, you could open your awareness out into the infinite, surrendering to its holistic vastness. In the microcosm, you may drill down into the ever-detailed specifics with the idea that if you know the parts, then you will eventually discover how it is greater than the sum of its parts.
The former is Pisces; the latter is Virgo. In this Full Moon, we have an infinite amount of both. And both signs seek to answer the question: Look at all of this! What do I do now?? Pisces tends to respond with, "There is nothing to do but go with it." But Virgo says, "Right. Let's get to work."
The Moon symbolizes our feelings and our need for belonging, approval and safety. When the Moon is in Virgo, our lunar nature is filtered through Virgo's pragmatic quest for perfection. On the difficult side, this can mess us up by triggering insecurity or anxiety if we buy into the fear that we're not good enough to deserve to have our needs fulfilled.
The tender Moon side of us can be very sensitive to the critical, perfectionist nature of Virgo. And when we know how it feels to be put under the exacting Virgo microscope, we may instinctively reach out to others to help them become better people and more resilient. This is especially pronounced, of course, if you have Virgo prominently in your chart.
On the up side, though, Virgo's demand for specifics can also be very grounding. It requires us to step back from the cliff edge where life's challenges feel endless, hopeless or overwhelming. Virgo's mission is to find practical answers that will solve problems. And in order to do that, you need to start with something specific and then one by one, connect the dots. By becoming crystal clear about where that cliff edge begins and ends, it can become easier to navigate around it and avoid falling over it.
So, this Full Moon in Virgo presents an instruction manual that pushes us to find concrete, clear solutions to what may otherwise be nebulous, confusing or overwhelming problems.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good... or the good enough.
~ Paraphrase of aphorism attributed to Voltaire
This lunar cycle began with the New Moon in Pisces (March 2nd), where we were challenged to find a way to find a way to balance the rational (Mercury conjunct Saturn in Aquarius) and the non-rational (600-or-so planets in intuitive Pisces). Now, we have arrived at similar themes but composed of slightly different building blocks. We still have 600-or-so planets in nebulous Pisces, which is offset by the Moon in no-nonsense Virgo.
At the New Moon in Pisces, Mercury was conjunct the straight-and-narrow Saturn, and obligated to focus on specifics and logic. Now he is conjunct Jupiter in Pisces, with its siren-call to faith, hope, inspiration and imagination. And since Mercury is the planetary ruler of the Virgo Full Moon, this is very significant.
Mercury is now in Pisces, the sign opposite its rulership (called the sign of its fall), which is an uncomfortable place for a planet to be. In this case, Mercury must shift from a rational, methodical, Left-Brain focus (in Airy Aquarius) over to an intuitive, go-with-the-flow, Right-Brain focus (now in Watery Pisces).
Despite being pretty adaptable, transplanting the Mercury part of us outside of its natural home might have some unexpected side effects. If you are normally a very Watery person (for example, with strong Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces in your chart), this may just feel like Normal to you; but if not, your brain may feel a bit foggy and blurred around the edges.
In any case, it's good to have a list of positive ways you can work with this energy, since the Virgo Full Moon is taking instructions from this dreamy, intuitive, imaginative and hazy Mercury. Both signs have a very utopian side to them – Pisces is idealistic and Virgo is perfectionistic. they both strive to make the world a better place, but can be so purist about it that its standards are hard if not impossible to meet.
So: if you're longing for life to be easier and simpler, but your To-Do list keeps growing, consider how you might do some things in a more creative, fun or easy-going way. Or add a few things to the list that will help you do the more important stuff in a different way that feeds your imagination – like rearrange or de-clutter parts of your home while/before you clean and tidy up; or use walks as a de-stressing measure by using Google Maps to plan out some new routes in areas you've never been before. You get the idea.
You know what? Maybe the cynics are right. Maybe everything in this dream existence is ultimately hopeless, depending on how you define it. So, what would it be like to live without hope? Without beliefs? Without mental machinations of any kind, including this ultimately hopeless and meaningless post?
Think about it until you find the "address" of that place that is neither despair nor hope, cynicism nor optimism, hate nor love. Hint: it is prior to thought and discernable "between" thoughts, between each breath. And it's all you ever were, are, or will be. It is HOME. Welcome back.
~ Richard Young
Mercury is far from alone! There is a 4-point Stellium in Pisces: Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune and the Sun. In fact, these 4 planets also form a Rolling Conjunction pattern. (Okay, the Virgo Moon insists I clarify that the Sun is not technically a planet, but that we astrologers often include the Sun and Moon when we refer generally to "planets." Let's face it, it saves time and Virgo loves few things better than efficiency. So there.)
Mercury is conjunct Jupiter (4:28 orb), Jupiter is conjunct Neptune (5:00 orb), and Neptune is conjunct the Sun (4:36 orb). So, although the orb is a bit too wide for Mercury and Neptune (9:29 orb) or Mercury and the Sun (14:06 orb) to be conjunct in their own right, the energy still swims together between all 4 of them, thanks to the in-between planetary bridge.
Having 4 planets essentially conjunct in Pisces, including both rulers of that sign, makes for A LOT of Pisces energy! So, what's that like? What does it mean to be up to our eyeballs in Pisces' Watery and Mutable energy?
Well, for starters, Pisces is about going with the flow, more than any other flowing Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio) and more than any other malleable Mutable sign (Gemini, Sagittarius and Virgo). We often associate Pisces and its ruling planets, Jupiter and Neptune, with surrendering to Something Greater Than Ourselves. Oh, easy peasy, right? Noooooo. Well, not for everyone, to be sure. But hard or soft, surrender is the key to unlocking Pisces energy.
At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
We can experience surrender in (at least) two ways – by choice or by circumstance. You may deliberately seek it out, for example, through meditation, music, dance, or spiritual devotion. And although not considered a healthy alternative, addiction can also give the experience of surrender. In fact, any form of escapism can (seem to) free you from restraint, discipline, responsibility, and focused intention, enabling you to give up control and let go of your worries and woes. The problem is that sooner or later the thing you're avoiding must be faced, which can also include added complications as a result of your method of escape (e.g. substance withdrawal, debt, weight gain, etc).
The other way is by being thrust into circumstances that are beyond your control, where you have little choice but to submit to what is. There may be things you can do to cope, resist, or protect yourself by minimizing the risk of harm, but ultimately in this kind of predicament your ability to change the situation as a whole is limited, at least in the short-run.
As an example of circumstantial surrender, we have been living in such a time for the last 2 years, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic which is an ongoing (albeit improving) crisis. It has required us to comply with rather acute life changes or risk serious illness or worse.
In other words, there is no magic wand we can wave that is certain to make it all vanish and return to our previous "normal" – not precautions, not vaccines or immune boosters, not even time. Certainly these things will help immensely to avoid the worst case scenario, but in the end we can only do what we can do and the rest is in the hands of the Universe.
Another example in recent weeks is the cruel and senseless war in Ukraine. If you're there, then you're faced with having to fight or flee. If you've fled to a nearby country, you're probably worried sick about friends and loved ones you had to leave behind. And elsewhere in the world, you may feel quite helpless to do much about it. Sure, you can donate money or goods, other countries can send reinforcements and apply pressure on Russia, and all of these are important, even crucial. But in the end all we can do is to do what we can and then wait and watch.
This is made even harder by deception, fake news, and obscured information, which is happening in Russia regarding the truth about the war in Ukraine. All of this can often be typical when dealing with Pisces, and part of Virgo's job is to clarify it all and separate the fact from fiction.
We must surrender to the fact that the outcome is still unknown, and our ability to influence it is limited. Although there is much we can do and are doing, there is still much that is beyond our control. In the end, we must surrender to what is.
It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face.' But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?
~ Isaac Asimov, I, Robot
This is the realm of Pisces, which is about as far from the Saturnian world of matter and control as one can get, astrologically. And right now about half the solar system is in Pisces, polarized by the Full Moon in the opposite sign, Virgo.
So: we have a massive call to surrender to intuitive, non-rational Pisces, counter-balanced by the Moon in analytical, highly-calibrated Virgo. How do you reconcile the contradictory nature of that tight-rope, where one end is tied to a cloud and the other end to a billion grains of sand?
Believe it or not, sometimes it helps to resolve a conundrum not by simplifying it but by making it a bit more complex. Providing more dimensions can sometimes allow you to gain a different, fresh perspective.
So, say hello to the Arrowhead Kite aspect pattern. It starts with the Sun-Moon opposition and adds Venus on one side and Uranus on the other side. This figure is composed of aspects from the Octile family (dividing the circle into 8 equal segments), which is an extension of the Square family (circle divided by 4). These are centered on conflict, stress, and a call to action.
The Moon is in a tri-octile aspect to both Venus and Uranus (135°, a.k.a. sesquiquadrate or "one-and-a-half squares"). The Sun is octile to both planets (45°, a.k.a. semisquare or "half-a-square"). And Venus and Uranus are square each other (90°). This is a bit like a T-square aspect pattern in the sense that it's all made from square family of aspects, but different kinds of aspects. This energy is stressful and conflict-oriented, but also motivates us to get up off the couch and find solutions to the problems.
Octile aspects are distressing, but also tend to have a sharper edge than the more blunt-force, in-yer-face square or opposition. Think of it this way: squares are like having rocks in your bed, but octiles are like laying down on a bed of nails – prickly and painful. It can be done but it tends to require a lot more discipline and concentration to master it.
Also, the discomfort may feel pervasive and inescapable, so it's tempting to believe this is "just the way it is," and that trying to fix the problem may be even worse than just toughing it out. Archetypally, octile aspects correspond to Fixed sign energy, so its energy can feel immovable and hard to change, and takes equally immovable concentration and dedication to override the discouragement and inertia. The alternative is to work with the inertia so that it becomes a meditation or even a healing treatment (like acupuncture or acupressure).
We often need to lose sight of our priorities in order to see them.
~ John Irving, Trying to Save Piggy Sneed
So, the Arrowhead Kite figure presents the Moon and Sun with two alternative ways to work with the stress of the Virgo-Pisces opposition. One is Venus and Mars in Aquarius, and the other is Uranus in Taurus. (Quick note: although in this particular case the octile planets happen to be in Fixed signs, they could be in Cardinal or Mutable signs instead. It all depends on what sign and degree the opposing planets are in.)
Venus in Aquarius suggests that to resolve the tension of the Virgo-Pisces dilemma, we could try invoking a kind of universal love that is somewhat detached from our own personal needs but more connected to humanity as a whole. In other words, instead of melting into the Piscean ocean of existence, and instead of trying to micromanage the Virgoan struggle, take a step back from the conflict in a conscious way and look beyond your immediate experience. Venus is still conjunct Mars, also in Aquarius, so Mars' aggression, action and drive may work better in a battle of wits or war of principles.
Uranus in Taurus recommends that resolving the Virgo-Pisces conflict be treated as an opportunity for revolution that can (ironically) strengthen stability. In other words, go further than just trying to find a state of balance within the Virgo-Pisces opposition, but use the disruption to rearrange your priorities and clear out the parts of your situation that are impeding your progress.
For example: feeling like you're fighting a losing battle by having to fix a million little problems? Ask yourself if there's a way to tackle the situation by working with the Big Picture instead of the minutia. Or, instead of just solving the problems for the short-run, consider the possibilities for the long-run and plot a course to get from here to there. Or, rather than trying to manage the situation through problem-solving, try just letting it happen naturally and just be spontaneous – you might be surprised by how well you can handle the unexpected results, and how much better those results could be without you having to "be prepared."
Venus/Mars and Uranus are in a square aspect, so it might seem like you must make an impossible choice between these alternate coping mechanisms. And will they actually help matters or just make things more complicated and stressful? Mars square Uranus might feel more chaotic than beneficial, but they can also energize your motivation, courage and drive.
Venus square Uranus may seem to disturb the peaceful balance you seek, but they could also keep you from getting lulled into a state of mind that you think is peace and balance, but is more like escapism dressed up to look like it. Venus and Uranus are also in Mutual Reception – in other words, they're in the sign that the other rules (Venus in Aquarius ruled by Uranus, and Uranus in Taurus ruled by Venus). This can help to bridge the gap between them. At a certain level, it might not matter which one you choose, since they draw ideas, values and priorities from each other anyway. So, don't sweat the small stuff.
I don't just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms...
~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain
Pluto, surprisingly, is your ally in this Full Moon chart. Pluto is in an easy-going trine the Moon and sextile the Sun, forming a Wedge aspect pattern. Among other things, Pluto shows us the gruelling side of life and the ugly side of human nature, but his end-game is always to transform these in a way that enables us to be stronger, and more authentic to the deepest parts of who we are.
Pluto's message may be to remind us that conflict, struggle and discord are, at a deeper level, an opportunity for a healing crisis. You've got to feel it to heal it, as the saying goes. You can't resolve what you don't acknowledge. And although acknowledging problems might be painful, scary or overwhelming, it is the most effective way to get past them so you can get unstuck and move on with your life.
So, if you're falling into despair or floating on a haze of disconnection, Pluto could help by reminding you that (a) things won't always be or feel this way; live moves on and change is inevitable. (b) Transformation takes time, so give it time. And, (c) find creative, healing ways to work with your struggle – explore what you're feeling through writing or art; sing or listen to songs that give a voice to what you're going through; or do something physical that can open up the flow of energy in your body, like yoga, dance, walking, working out, or decluttering and rearranging the space around you.
It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Sabian Symbol for the Full Moon in Virgo is Virgo 28: A bald-headed man (who has seized power).
I'm telling you, you can't make this stuff up! During this time when war is being waged against Ukraine by the (balding) Russian President Vladimir Putin, this is a striking Sabian Symbol image. The extra wording added by Dane Rudhyar (An Astrological Mandala) makes an even more jaw-dropping image for our times. Rudhyar interprets this in terms of "The sheer power of personality in times that call for decision." Yup, sounds about right for what's happening in the world right now.
According to Brittanica, "the most important function of hair in mammals is that of insulating against cold by conserving body heat." Therefore, the image of a bald(ing) man may also symbolize the idea of the mind being unprotected and vulnerable (hairless) , or perhaps simply not needing extra protection at all. Or it might refer to having a cold mental perspective, or maybe an over-emphasis on mental faculties.
In terms of what this might mean for you as an individual, ask yourself if you're being overly analytical in reaction to feeling overwhelmed or depressed or lost. Or, perhaps you are (or could be) drawing on your personality and charisma to navigate through a situation that is receptive, impressionable or in need of focus – and the next question should be: Am I doing this with integrity or simply to take advantage?
This is a time when you are challenged to examine your assumptions, your values, your practices, and the actions you take as a result of what you believe about the Universe. You're a work in progress, ever evolving, ever expanding, ever connected, ever separate. At a certain level, life can be summed up as: All of the Above.
So, stay safe. Stay sane. Stay awesome. The world needs you.
What is a leaf? Just the fact that a single thing exists is a miracle beyond all words. For if you look at a leaf very very closely, you will see that it is filled with wondrous planets brilliant stars and endless space.
~ Leland Lewis, Random Molecular Mirroring
The next update will be for the New Moon in Aries on April 1, 2022, which is tightly conjunct Chiron and Mercury. Jupiter and Neptune become exactly conjunct shortly after the New Moon, and Venus and Mars are still conjunct in Aquarius with Saturn in the middle.
© 2022-03-18 Wendy Guy, all rights reserved. Astrological diagrams and charts by Wendy Guy. Divider by Gordon Johnson via Pixabay. Photo of Sabian Symbol, Vladimir Putin, provided by the Kremlin via WikiCommons.