Some longform thoughts on the art of ideals and higher principles ahead. To delineate (the astrological word for interpret) the themes of this New Moon I want to share a mood board of some of the things that have directly inspired my vision on Aquarius recently. We generally know a New Moon in Aquarius will be a new seed around Aquarian themes like freedom, breakthrough, community/friendship, and social networks, but how deep can this go? Follow me through a few show-and-tell’s on the way to our destination. The New Moon is on February 9, 2024 at 2:59 PM Pacific. You may already be feeling the themes I’ll be sharing below, but these themes will soon be the seeds of new stories.
Welcome back, or in case this is your first time here, I’m Sabrina Monarch and I’m a soul-centered astrologer. I love providing perspectives on the opportunities of transits and putting into words what the zeitgeist feels like at this moment in time, to support you on your path & open a dialogue between us and the cosmos. If you would like to receive these forecasts to your inbox and be notified of upcoming educational opportunities, sign up for my mailing list here.
The Salon, the Elevated Group Consciousness
My dear friend AS Katoch recently hosted a salon-style reading circle on Gaston Bachelard’s essay “Constellations” from Bachelard’s book Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement. It was a heightened experience. My attention was completely rapt, as though everyone’s words were dripping in the stars themselves. These electric group conversations or ‘think tank’ like experiences are highly Aquarian. Instead of one mind, we have many, and collaboratively new pathways of consciousness are formed.
One of the quotes that I highlighted to speak my thoughts on was the following. For context, Bachelard is speaking to the way that our direct experience of the stars and gnosis that comes directly from the stars is replaced by book knowledge and texts about the stars. I believe he is arguing for a return to direct experience. He goes, speaking of pointing out a star:
“Will you find him [the star in the night sky] again tomorrow? Point him out to your companion! Then there will be two of you to sketch him, to recognize him, and to talk to him as a friend. You will find that the two of you have the same vision, the same desire, and start even in the night, in the nocturnal solitude, you will see the same ghosts pass by. How much greater life becomes when dreams are bound together!” (Bachelard)
This quote reminded me of the star-gazing that was made possible in the night sky in Peru and the particular stars that I got to know with my companion at the time. I was filled with this numinous kind of longing, not only for stargazing but for the experiencing of sharing the sublime or the beyond with another person or a group of people. What if before there were texts on the stars and their meanings, astrology was discovered not just by individuals privately having visionary experiences but by the triangulation (or more) of multiple people sharing the same vision and dreams that came from the same star, the same planet?
AS affirmed after I shared this (to my recollection) that friendship is itself, a constellation. You can find AS’s work at his website and also his lively X (the app formerly called twitter) presence.
Do you see the Aquarian theme constellate here? We do not only gather in groups or with others simply to share an experience that we already had privately. We also gather because our friendship or our community becomes a radio dish that is capable of channeling more than we could on our own. I admit as a visionary I’m hungry for the shared vision. Some of my most cherished memories are about literal sleeping dreams I shared with other people (as in we had the same dream) or about the way ceremony brought me into deep connection with the other people who were in the ceremonial container. Though we each had our own experience, we also shared something that was made possible by our combined presences.
Before we become sentimental and idealistic about friendship and community, I also recognize that this is not a simple and cheery domain of life alone. This is also a place of isolation, of loneliness, and trauma. Many people have “group trauma” that comes from excommunication, ridicule, exclusion, and many people also heal their traumas in groups and communities. Groups are not spared complexity or shadow. Groups do not save us. We still have to be in relationship with our own inner work and inner compass and be discerning about what groups we wish to ally with or participate in, and how to hold ourselves through the process of doing so. I love community, and I’m also not naively idealistic about “community” every time it appears. My favorite communities are the ones I’ve helped create, and the ones facilitated by people I trust and resonate with.
As someone who facilitates groups regularly (my Evolutionary Astrology Intensives or my alumni programs like DIVINER and METEORITE) I was inspired by my favorite grad school classes taught by Carolyn Cooke and Brian Swimme. Our studies were held in a profoundly cosmic universal context, as Carolyn taught literature and Brian taught cosmology — so our stories that we were reading, writing, and living were aspects of the Universe discovering itself. The warmth of my professors and the wide context of our approach made for an extremely lively and inspired class. It always felt like something was *happening* when we met. Since I teach astrology, which also holds people in a vast context, I was inspired to do something similar. I craft the invitation and structure of my group spaces with the intention that it will be an elevated, expanded space. It is important to rise to the occasion of what astrology actually makes possible. The classroom can reflect these heights and depths.
The reality is that you can gather strangers for lunch and give them no context or no invitation, or you can gather the same people and ask a series of opening questions that bring forth reflections that bond the group together. Groups do not just have shared vision, but they also have a shared purpose, a shared question, a shared set-and-setting to define the trip they will be taking. Groups do not just necessarily huddle together for company (maybe they do) — there is the option, with Aquarius, to present an IDEAL or a set of ideals that carries the group in a direction, that informs the quest of the hive-mind.
AS’s salon was so fantastic in the way that AS gathered us around an inspiring and challenging text, and invited all of us to participate with the text with certain prompts he gave us that allowed us to individually open to our genius, and then to share it and catalyze one another. It was a sparkling event, and also a teaching of what happens when people come together in a visionary way.
Taking a break for an announcement….
✨ An Overview of the Astrological Houses & the beginning of a series to explore the houses in an imaginal, mythic and expanded way ✨
February 9 at 3-5 PM Pacific
This workshop is for people who have a basic understanding of the houses and are familiar with the basic interpretive themes of the twelve houses. We will be going deeper into the texture, theory, and experiential quality of the houses.
In this class, we are unpacking the meaning of the angles (ascendant, midheaven, descendent, and IC), and the qualities of the angular, succedent and cadent houses. This allows us to understand individual houses through a systems-view of how various areas of life are essentially connected beyond what meets the eye.
We have reflected on the technical details and synthesized them with research, metaphor, and personal and professional experiences from years of astrological practice. We collect these many elements like bees drinking from flowers: to make honey. Our intention is to disseminate essentially enchanting perceptions of the houses so that the framework comes to life in exciting, generative ways out into beyond this workshop. 🍯
INTERMEDIATE class: this is perfect for practicing astrologers and astro-enthusiasts and students who already have some experience with the houses and their meanings. It is not a beginner class. This is perfect for people who want to open a deeper oracular conversation with the “places” – the distinct locations of life the cosmos touches down into represented by the houses in the natal chart.
Sign up here.
You will learn:
✨Evolutionary/Modern & Ancient/Hellenistic influenced perspectives on the astrological houses
✨Why the houses are the most earthly parts of an astrological chart
✨Basic astronomy and how the angles of the chart (ascendant, midheaven, descendant and IC) are formed, and what they symbolize
✨Ways to feel and imagine the particular frequencies of the angular, succedent, and cadent houses
Recording will be available to those who register. Sign up here!
The Third Decan of Aquarius
One of my favorite things to research in relationship to lunation is the decans. If you don’t already know, the astrology signs are each divided in three equal parts or decans, so your Sun sign for example is in one of three decans of its sign.
This New Moon occurs in the third decan of Aquarius which is described as “The Knot” in the book 36 Faces by Austin Coppock. It is described as a place that “illuminates karmic entanglements and oversees liberation from them.” The process is not quick or simple however, as the nature of the entanglement is that of attachment. There is a building frustration or sense of awareness of what is off. “On a spiritual level, this face represents disenchantment with the fabric of everyday life and its petty terrors.”
This frustration builds and can eventually galvanize an individual to the next difficult steps of change. Before we are able to actually cut free of these knots and entanglements, we must diligently go through the process of extracting ourselves from what we are complexly bound to, acknowledging what we wish to keep or need to keep, and cutting ourselves from the roots of our issues where we have even managed to find those roots.
One of the deepest attachments is that of the known world, because when we leave behind those things it is akin to the great beyond, the unknown, or even symbolically death itself. These might be the places we choose familiar and comfortable demons over really plunging into the great unknown and releasing ourselves. But essentially this is where we are also pushed to jump free.
The above is my understanding of the text, and I will extrapolate a few more things now:
Without the radicalism (an Aquarian word) of addressing root issues or root causes, we tend to recreate the exact same scenarios or patterns. Thus a type of emotional or situational freedom represented by the New Moon here would probably benefit from illumination at a depth level so that we are not just making surface changes.
To delineate here, it is likely that leading up to this New Moon and in the lunation cycle to proceed, we will face some of our own personal knots: the places we are bound and not free, and essentially because of attachment to something. These are places of fundamental discontent with a repeating way of life, way that things go, our own personal, relational, social patterns — but when it comes to brainstorming ways out or beyond, resistant patterns come up like “no that’s too much,” “I can’t”, “what will people think?” “Who would I even be?” Thus, the knot.
In my experience, I have been able to dissolve knots, but first I am confronted with their simple existence. Then begins the living prayer of dissolution and freedom.
Hexagram 49 of the I Ching, Revolution
Last week I felt the presence of a personal knot so deep (before I’d read the 36 Faces piece on knots… it was already underway) I asked the I Ching for support unraveling it and making my way to what I really truly desire for this domain of my life I was inquiring about. I was struggling with deep resentment, dwelling on past misfortunes, and the fear that “it will never work out for me”. The I Ching has this perfect way of strengthening me and consoling me at my darkest hours. It is a divination tool I work with when I truly need wisdom.
The hexagram I received has been turning in my mind and heart since, and I felt so deeply inspired by the text. (I recommend the new I Ching, the Oracle by Benebell Wen, an author who AS Katoch turned me on to a little while back. She wrote my favorite ever translation of the I Ching, and actually the only translation that has made this Oracle system feel readily accessible to me. Before this amazing book, there was an I Ching course from Benebell Wen that had a translation I’d been using the last few years. She was a guest on Magic of the Spheres podcast a little while ago, here)
Then my friend Samantha of Hands of Mercury and I were hanging out here in Portland and I was telling her about this hexagram reading. She said it was actually the gate in the human design system where the New Moon would be occurring in, and she pointed out to me that the hexagram itself had very Aquarian messages to it.
The oracle reads:
“Revolution to rectify injustice begins with a revolution of the heart. First change inner misalignments before seeking a transformation of others. It is your responsibility to affirm that a call for change is for the better, and not for a different form of the same. Thus, true change comes when you are aligned with Heaven’s Will. What you seek requires momentum, and to drum up that momentum, live and abide by higher principles. Those who see you embody the higher principles will be attracted to you, and you will gain momentum. Having that majority support is the authority you need for a just revolution.” (Benebell Wen, page 649 of I Ching, the Oracle)
While I want to cite the whole chapter because I’m obsessed now with reflecting on this hexagram and each and every line of it, that would be little excessive of me! I suggest researching this hexagram if you are so inclined to reflect on it as an Aquarian read, and highly recommend this particular translation from Benebell Wen.
What I will say…
- Revolution and social change are Aquarian themes. This oracle suggesting that first an inner misalignment needs to be adjusted before transforming others is incredibly wise. Negative revolutions in history are often led by deeply wounded people who are able to tap into the collective fear and painbody. If we think about a just revolution, it appears the Leo part of the Leo-Aquarius polarity is constellated here when we speak of a revolution of the heart first and foremost.
- “A call for change is for the better, and not for just a different form of the same” connects with the radical element of Aquarius. If the transformation is not deep or radical enough, the new thing is just the old energy dressed up in different clothes. The revolution of the heart, perhaps, would allow for the center to change its vibrational orientation, allowing for different fruits to come from that center than before.
- Personally receiving this hexagram has had me in deep reflections and prayers about what my higher principles are, the ones I already live by and have not defined (as though in a mission statement) for a while, as well as the places perhaps I am not living up to these principles because of lower inertia patterns. When I tap into this, I find hope and faith and realize that ‘higher principles’ literally allow you to get to higher ground or higher places. You elevate your conduct to elevate your life. One of my favorite contemporary thinkers/channels is Eli Markus and he is often speaking about spiritual law. He happens to be an Aquarius, too! His teachings have a lot to do with elevating your life through character development. He was also on Magic of the Spheres here.
- I have personally also been disillusioned of “higher principles” in the past, that were either not correct or that they were just behavior modifications as opposed to truths down into my bones and soul. I realize that higher principles, like Aquarius, are a matter of profound authenticity. They have to be coherent with who you are. It might mean sacrificing some lesser behaviors or ego loops, but we still have to be in touch with our humanity. My skepticism in recent years of idealism has come from recognizing that idealism can make people hate their own humanity, never want to touch down and feel themselves, because the reality is never as good as the ideal. Higher principles, to work, have to be integrated and livable.
- With the invitation to think about higher principles coming back to me personally through this Oracle, I realized it was time to think bigger and dream once again, that the personal revolution I seek DOES require momentum and the oracle gave me the gift of understanding what causes momentum.
- Can you see any connection between your deepest knots (and the stagnation there) and the call for a more expansive, ‘higher’ reality? Let us remember that the path to freedom requires effort and intention.
Closing thoughts on the New Moon in Aquarius, to synthesize this mood board
The New Moon in Aquarius immediately becomes a void-of-course moon for 14 hours (that means the Moon is no longer applying to any aspects to other planets until it enters the next sign). It will enter Pisces the following day, and its next applying aspect is to Saturn in Pisces.
To me this feels like a seed of hanging out in zero-gravity space. Void-of-course moons are noted for being times where there is less traction for events to occur, things are floatier and more aimless. If we think about the knot or the revolution themes, it could symbolize that space where we feel stuck in the knot, with little traction to get out yet. Over the years I have become more tolerant personally of that space. I used to rage against it or try to end it as soon as possible. But breakthroughs require something to break through. When I feel stuck, I know a breakthrough is coming and I point myself toward that prayer.
The Full Moon on February 24 will feature the Sun conjunct Saturn with the Moon opposite Saturn. Saturn is a major player in this lunation cycle, if we also consider that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius. Saturn not only rules the New Moon, it is the first applying aspect of the New Moon & it will be present during the Full. With Saturn in Pisces, we are being asked to dream better. We are being asked to shape our reality with higher ideals. (I shared a video at the beginning of the transit called Saturn in Pisces: Maturing the Dream & Sobriety from Illusion.)
Integration is also key, as higher ideals without groundedness is just talk. It is the frequency of self-proclaimed “high vibration” people who won’t touch their own depths or shadow because it’s not high vibe enough. But when we go to the opposite side of the pendulum and insist on “reality” and refuse to dream, we stagnate and we cease to be creators and we end up only accepting what is given to us.
There is a balance to strike and a wisdom to discover, about how to dream efficaciously. Our ideals, in an Aquarian sense, are the things that enable us to shape our lives, to turn our concepts into action. Ideals may be the boundaries that allow us to make wiser decisions when the temptation is be seduced by the comforts or perks of the known world and the past.
I intuit there will be something about meaningful sacrifice with Saturn in Pisces presence here. I do not relate with “sacrifice” as it is known in a more Christian ‘good person’ sense. I do not sacrifice my own wellbeing to serve others because this leaves me unable to truly serve, and creates relational dynamics I have no wish to be a part of. I serve others because I nourish myself and fill up my own cup. That being said, my little comfort zone patterns and lesser behaviors that I kind of like and am attached to, I am willing to “sacrifice” to the altar of my transformation and to the altar of my dreams. These are things that compromise my momentum. I encourage you to consider something similar around your actual ideals and what you are willing to sacrifice for them.
I personally hate to see people sacrifice things that are fundamentally important to them in the name of that somehow being noble (and of course, people do sacrifice their actual lives in combat, and sometimes that is noble… so I cannot make sweeping generalizations.) I like to see people’s value truly invested into something creative and enduring, instead of it being killed. While a sacrifice of something that is valuable and that we cherish is harder or seems like a better offering to the gods, I hope it’s not trite that I’m offering that people sacrifice truly pointless/petty stuff that they are holding onto to defend their own mediocrity and limitations. Sacrifice the ego for the higher Self. The sacrifice I speak of here itself is not a gift – it’s more like the gift of making space!
Perhaps we think “sacrifice” means something valuable, but I want to encourage you to discover what is simply comfortable attachment. And where if you were to sacrifice these comfortable “the demon that I know” attachments to the altar of real revolution and transformation, you would be catapulted into the great unknown that Aquarius beckons. It’s a little bit of this release, and a lot of looking up at the stars so to say, to the higher dream.
Thank you for spending time with me here to reflect on this week’s transits. If you have anything you want to share, please write in the comments. You can find me on instagram @sabrinamonarch (be mindful of scammer/impersonator accounts) and tune into my podcast Magic of the Spheres where you listen to podcasts. Sign up for my mailing list to be in the know about forecasts like this as well as upcoming opportunities for readings or studying astrology with me. A big announcement is coming soon.