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Lunar New Year, Year of the Wooden Horse and Our Connections with the Moon

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This week is the beginning of the Lunar Year of the Wood Horse. A powerful time when we have crossed the threshold into a new lunar year, and when the light is growing in the North as days are shortening in the South. This week is a time when we move rapidly into the month of February, and the time when a number of great shifts occur in energy.

Sun in Aquarius continues to release a great deal of energy that had been pent up. With the new lunar year, the Year of the Horse, underway, we feel compelled and impelled forward with ideas, desires, and an intense need to push forward on whatever has been delayed, held back, or taken off the table. We have greater clarity about what we want, and have released much of what had been holding on or blocking our way. Taking ‘no’ for an answer is not an alternative for us now. The Sun in Aquarius calls us out to take the reins of our own lives, and to live from a place of fearlessness. The thought that comes to me during this transit is ‘burning through karmic and energy blocks’. We are making our way through a wall of beliefs, patterns, relationships, and perceptions that have managed to keep us prisoner in traps of our own making. Working through these blocks requires the spiritual release we get from forgiveness--of all persons, conditions, and of ourselves for whatever we need to be forgiven for. We need to release ourselves from the places where our energy is trapped--places where we not only hold ourselves back but also where we hold others back with our energy locks.

Mercury in Pisces. Mercury’s annual transit through Pisces, awakens both our conscious (Mercury) communication and thoughts with our subconscious and hidden forms of communication, feelings, intuition, dreams, illusions, and unformed ideas. Mercury allows us to transcend the intellect in the watery depths of Pisces--the hidden, the shadow or unexplored, and our spiritual connections. What we might want to consider while Mercury is in Pisces (and is about ready to retrograde) includes:

On what issues or ideas do we need greater clarity?

Which dreams, desires, expectations, and plans are viable, feasible, and in line with our highest good and best interests?

How can I prioritize my dreams and goals, and begin focusing on whatever it takes to bring those plans to fruition?

What does my intuition tell me about what others may or may not be saying, doing, or feeling in regard to my plans? Where am I sensing blocks, support, or challenges to my achieving my goals?

Venus in Capricorn until March 5. On January 31, Venus’ 40-day retrograde phase through Capricorn ended, just as the Lunar New Year of the Horse began. From now until March 5, Venus completes her transit of Capricorn. Venus’ recent journey to the depths where transformation has been taking place, now slowly begins to shine her light and energy into areas regarding social interaction, personal finances, creativity, and intimate relationships. What was vague and hidden, or unresolved, now begins to become clearer and to work into resolutions and reconfigured ideas about how things should be done, structured, or agreed upon. New boundaries and limits are set up as a way to more clearly define and support those relationships we have that propel our live--how we live, how we love, how we work, and how we create. This is a time when there is great potential of growth, accomplishment, fulfillment, and growth.

Long standing unresolved issues now rise up demanding resolution or closure, and decisions will be made regarding ending or modifying the structure, expectations, and rules that define our relationships. Foundations are being uprooted, transformed, and redefined. We can no longer depend on someone else’s ideas or needs to take precedent over our own needs and desires. Relationships, to be healthy and viable, must meet the needs of those involved. Any imbalances will now tip the scales and result in collapse, reformation, or the release of energy into new forms. Time to pray for Truth in all situations, and then the acknowledgment of whatever truth needs to be faced. We need to be willing and ready to receive what information has been coming to the surface. The truth of pragmatic Capricorn reveals itself in all areas and issues related to Venus’ journey through this part of our life and chart. When dealing with issues related to love, creativity, valuing of self and financial resources, it will be vital to become grounded in ideas and practices that practically relate to how we give and receive love, not just in some esoteric realm but in day-to-day communication, values, and interaction.

Mars in Libra. The planet of action and energy continues its journey through airy Libra, resulting in a great deal of ambiguity, wavering, and un-grounded plans and ideas. Unless actions are based on your true needs and desires, they are likely to be based on unsound foundations. Social situations are apt to be full of many awkward and uncomfortable situations as Mars in Libra is out of its element. Fiery Mars raging into the reserved and diplomatic realm of airy Libra, brings increased challenges into relationships where Libra’s accepting attitude runs up against the wall of competitive and combative Mars. Keeping score, fighting for one’s rights or voice, and argumentativeness of Mars creates an air of dissension in all types of relationships and partnerships.

Lady Justice meets the Warrior as the fight for might or right takes center stage in relationships, particularly male and female relationships. Whatever the shadow side of each partner is will be making its way onto the battle field. Notice what comes up when you feel challenged, threatened, or somehow devalued. Between now and July, it is a valuable time to learn to find ways to cooperate, compromise, and become more tolerant in all areas of relationship, and in all battles between our need for freedom and independence.Time to learn the skills of diplomacy, tact, and tolerance, and to go deeper into your own basic motivations, foundational needs and urges. Acting without thinking or growing without being grounded in principles, values, and ethical standards, leads to relationships and partnerships which are likely to falter. Get a firm foundation, and find some unity between thought and action.

Saturn in Scorpio continues its transit into the realm of our unconscious. We are concerned with the dynamics of power in relationships of all kinds, and we question and explore our expressions of intimacy. In exploring these issues, we become more aware of our fears and suppressed anger, frustration, or unfulfilled desires and unmet needs. This is a powerful time when we can see more clearly how we have created our own blocks, challenges, and illusions. Saturn’s journey through Scorpio takes us on a journey to redefine what love is to us, and to explore our conceptions of commitment, communication, and connection.

Pluto in Capricorn continues the Great Transformer’s passage through Capricorn. This uprooting in our lives, is preparing us for whatever changes, alterations, and shifts our lives are taking. Past the mid-point in the cycle of Pluto-Uranus squares, we are in a period of lull before the next square in April. With many of the planets and the Sun having recently transited or completing their transits through Capricorn, there has been much activity, movement, and uprooting in this area of our lives recently. Later this week, when the Moon transits Taurus, we will feel a greater sense of calm and grounding.

Neptune and Chiron in Pisces in their transits of Pisces, continue to work on deep within us to unmask illusions, open up intuition and creativity, and work to help us heal and master our spiritual energies. Between 2011 and 2015 Neptune transits Pisces. This is a dynamic and powerful transit, for we can experience this transit with growing awareness and clarity, or from behind a veil of illusions and delusionary fantasies. Depending upon what we choose to believe and and act upon, we can find this a productive, creative, and enlightening time, or a time when we are swept up in they hysteria and delusions. Some have followed the ravings of mad men in the past during such times. We seek, en masse, to experience the Divine through direct experience. In and of itself that is not bad. However, when we allow ourselves to become deceived by either our own egotistical illusions of power and charisma, or by the manipulation and abuse of others who seek to control us, we are in grave danger of being swept up in this kind of fervor, fanaticism, and negative energy. It can be very destructive, both individually and collectively, if we abuse, misuse, or squander spiritual energy.

We can use this energy for good and for the betterment of all humans, but we need to exercise our powers of discernment during this period as at no other time before in human history. Because of the power that we have access to, we can do great harm or great good. We each need to be working on greater clarity, developing discernment, and practicing positive, well-balanced spiritual practices as we also seek to heal from our woundedness. Acting out of unhealed wounds or out of our unquenched thirst for power, is something we each must curtail; also something we must reject in those we choose to lead us and in those we look to for knowledge, wisdom, and clarity. For the first 8 years of Neptune’s transit through Pisces, she is transiting with Chiron, the Wounded Healer. It is a time when we can clarify, heal, and build strong foundations based on healing and clear thinking. Pisces is the symbolic unifying of our polarities, and we can choose to remain unconscious, bending at the will of whichever wind blows our way, or we can awaken and live more mindfully, in the Presence of the Divine, choosing to be awake, aware, and conscious of our choices.

Uranus in Aries from May 2010 until March, 2019. Author James Thurber wrote: “All men should strive to learn before they die: what they are running from, to and why.” Uranus’ journey through Aries brings us sudden, unexpected, and sometime shocking experiences to wake us up from our lethargy. We seem to want to remain in some fantastical state of balance, where nothing changes and all is ‘normal’. This of course, is not the nature of our Universe nor of our lives in that experience. We are here to remember who we are, each day, in each moment. We need to wake up to the fact that life is based on more than our own narrow vision and set of experiences. We are part of a bigger picture, a more dynamic plan and set of actions. Life is more than what our senses tell us, more than what our minds can comprehend, or our bodies can experience. Our journey on this earth is to awaken, explore, both the world and time we have been given, but also the inner gifts and knowledge that is within us. We learn through our experiences, relationships, and seeking. We learn through mistakes, challenges, and successes.

All of life is a learning experience, and to get the most from it, we are reminded, through dreams, unexpected experiences, our cognitive processes, our memories, and one another, that life is for living and learning in order to serve a higher purpose and fulfill a higher calling. Our job is to awaken to what that calling may be; what that service is that we are here to render. Uranus is the Great Awakener, reminding us with shocking clarity, with dramatic and chaotic dreams and symbols, that we have to look beneath the surface and go beyond the obvious to discover the gifts of life.Uranus in Aries represents where Spirit enters into Matter...where we awaken to our spiritual nature, and take in the Light--bringing that Light into the conscious creation here where we are. We are part of the ongoing Creation, and we need to be awake to do our part.

The Impact of the Moon on Our Lives.

“Before certain storms invade our garden, they send faint messages which, out of laziness, we ignore”--Paolo Coehle.

The same can be said of other energetic influences that fill our lives. By paying closer attention, observing over time, and learning what we can about how such energies ebb and flow in our lives, we can live in closer harmony with the life we are living and the world in which we live.

This week’s astrological influences are not as extreme or seemingly significant as some week’s influences have been. It is, however, a great time to look at one of the most powerful and significant influences we have and one that is quite easy to learn to understand and follow. I am referring to the Moon and her transits. The Moon affects us throughout every day, and we can watch the Moon’s movement across the sky and observe and feel her impact on the world around us and within our own bodies. We can watch the interaction of the Earth and the Moon as we observe the rising and falling of the tides. We feel the Moon’s impact on our own lives, through personal and collective moods, through our menses, and through the seasons and growing cycles.

The rising and falling of the tides is caused by the combined gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun in conjunction with the Earth’s rotation on her axis. The tides are determined by the alignment of the Sun and Moon, the amphidromic tidal patterns (patterns of movement in the oceans that vary between high and low tides), the shape of the earth and coastlines, and other weather and climate-related phenomena. While we are aware of the Moon’s effect on the waters of the Earth, we might also want to be aware of the Moon’s effect on the movement of the Earth’s land masses as well. The solid part of the Earth is affected by the tidal pulls, though they are not as easy to observe.

The Moon orbits the Earth in the same direction as the Earth orbits on her axis. In most locations, the largest constituent is the "principal lunar semi-diurnal", also known as the M2 (or M2) tidal constituent. Its period is about 12 hours and 25.2 minutes, exactly half a tidal lunar day, which is the average time separating one lunar zenith from the next, and thus is the time required for the Earth to rotate once relative to the Moon. Simple tide clocks track this constituent. The lunar day is longer than the Earth day because the Moon orbits in the same direction the Earth spins. This is analogous to the minute hand on a watch crossing the hour hand at 12:00 and then again at about 1:05½ (not at 1:00).
Understanding the basic relationship between the Earth and the Moon’s daily rotations, can help us understand the impact the Moon has on our lives, and can help us understand how the changes of tides and the subtle movement of the earth can affect us in our daily lives.
“The Moon orbits the Earth in the same direction as the Earth rotates on its axis, so it takes slightly more than a day—about 24 hours and 50 minutes—for the Moon to return to the same location in the sky. During this time, it has passed overhead (culmination) once and underfoot once (at an hour angle of 00:00 and 12:00 respectively), so in many places the period of strongest tidal forcing is the above mentioned, about 12 hours and 25 minutes. The moment of highest tide is not necessarily when the Moon is nearest to zenith or nadir, but the period of the forcing still determines the time between high tides.
Because the gravitational field created by the Moon weakens with distance from the Moon, it exerts a slightly stronger than average force on the side of the Earth facing the Moon, and a slightly weaker force on the opposite side. The Moon thus tends to "stretch" the Earth slightly along the line connecting the two bodies. The solid Earth deforms a bit, but ocean water, being fluid, is free to move much more in response to the tidal force, particularly horizontally. As the Earth rotates, the magnitude and direction of the tidal force at any particular point on the Earth's surface change constantly; although the ocean never reaches equilibrium—there is never time for the fluid to "catch up" to the state it would eventually reach if the tidal force were constant—the changing tidal force nonetheless causes rhythmic changes in sea surface height.”

A recent study done in Basel, Switzerland at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Switzerland Centre for Sleep Medicine. The Study showed that the Moon had some effect on sleep patterns and the production of melatonin in the brain. Whether or not scientific proof can pinpoint the effect of the Moon on our bodies, we know that 80% of our body is composed of water, and is affected by the tides in a number of ways. Without going into great detail about the validity or lack thereof of the Lunar Effect, we can observe for ourselves how the Moon may affect our own lives, moods, sleep, and cycles.

This week the Moon is one of the strongest astrological influences. The Moon metaphorically and perhaps physiologically, relates to our emotional temperament and stability. In your astrological chart/life, notice where your Natal Moon is. This tends to indicate where you feel most at home emotionally. It also indicates what area of your life has the greatest influence on your emotional well being. Your progressed Moon indicates the area of life and the emotional needs you are learning to integrate into your life and behavior patterns. For example, if your Natal Moon was in Virgo, and your Progressed Moon is in Pisces, you are probably in the process of learning how to unite opposites between your need for emotional order and a need for organization and logical order in your emotional temperement (Virgo Moon) and your need to allow your intuitive, creative, and imaginative senses to guide and order your life. Or you might have your Natal Moon in the late degrees of Virgo and your Progressed Moon in the early degrees of Taurus. This would indicate your finding a grounded, and practical way to find emotional stability and to complete areas of your development that are either karmic in nature or somehow deal with unfinished business and/or the need to learn how to cope with beginnings and endings.

This week you have a perfect opportunity to observe how the Moon affects you and your life. We begin the week out with the Moon in Aries. If you have animals, you might have noticed how late last night when the Moon left the sign of Pisces and entered the sign of Aries, the animals got more playful or agitated. You might also have noticed a burst of late-night energy, making it hard to settle down. The Moon in Aries energizes us, and activates our emotional vitality. That’s a nice way of saying we feel high as a kite and want to act on our desires. We get edgier, more spontaneous, and a bit loony and talkative. Aries being the first sign of the zodiac, energizes us to get things started. We may take more risks, be willing to face our fears, or take our first steps in a new direction. This cycle lasts about 2 1/2 days, so observe how your own emotional tides seem to be affected. This may be a good time to do something physically that allows for full expression of your physical energy.

The Moon in Aries tends to open us to expressing whatever is bottled up inside. Releasing pent up emotions, speaking our minds, or reacting rather than thinking before we speak may be the norm. Keep in mind, however, that you are not the only one feeling this emotional need, so watch what you feel so compelled to speak out against or for as you will surely get a response. Make sure you’re ready for battle, otherwise, find channels for expression that allow your emotions a safe and healthy outlet (write, draw, paint, sculpt, spin, dance, sing, run, swim, build, go fishing). Good time to display your creativity, art, and to market your work. When the Moon is in Aries, it’s a good time to dream up new plans, build castles in the sky, or imagine how life, work, relationships could be different.

On Monday evening, the Moon in Aries will make several square aspects to Jupiter, Pluto, and that order. Beginning about 8:00 PM, the first square to Jupiter in Cancer may put a damper on or set off an argument with someone over differences of how we find pleasure, safety, or peace of mind. About an hour later, the Moon squares Pluto in Capricorn, making us more aware than ever of those areas where we are transforming, and how we need to act upon that which is truly in our best interests. We may through disagreement, disruption, or dissatisfaction, come to a profound realization. Later before just before midnight, the Moon will square Venus, reminding us of what we have learned about ourselves in relation to love. We are reminded of our need for being grounded in love. We also recognize our absolute need to be ourselves in whatever kind of exchange of love we are engaged in. Relationships that are not mutually fulfilling are falling apart at this time, and the truth is out there. You will know it when the time comes.

On Tuesday, the Moon remains in Aries, and goes Void of Course in the evening staying there throughout the night. This may send our psyches deep into a foggy area of our being that night. The day itself is full of some emotional encounters and a is marked with one disruption after another due to a string of semi-squares between the Moon and Mercury and then Uranus--communication may not be as smooth as you would like. On Tuesday evening, the Moon in Aries opposes Mars in Libra, creating a need to find some resolution, some balance, or some resolution between whatever issues you have with your need for relationships and your need for personal freedom and independence. The pull may be very strong to break free of anything that is constricting your sense of sanity and inner peace. Late at night the Moon semi-square Chiron may bring you to a revelation about what you need to do to heal old wounds or prevent new ones. What do you need to remember about how you got yourself into hurtful, demeaning, and destructive patterns of behavior in the past?

Wednesday there is a lovely trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Chiron, the Wounded Healer, in Pisces. You experience a deep, cathartic emotional release that allows healing to occur at a very deep level. Jupiter brings good news, more through your intuitive channels, but also through changes in communication particularly in the areas of your life/chart where Cancer and Pisces are. Your emotional security and spiritual needs are being met in a very special and lasting way. We are able to synthesize what we have experienced and learned about ourselves and our relationship and security needs in the past, with how we are making choices now. We have been releasing old behavior, habits, and patterns, and have been looking more closely at how we are being called to heal, alter our directions and behavior, and be more at peace with who we are, where we are.
Be open and receptive to signs, support, and wisdom that allows you to connect to your Divine nature and to move according to your life purpose and calling.

Early Thursday, the Moon moves into Taurus, and you will notice that the energy feels more grounded and stable. The desire to seek comfort, beauty, and peaceful ways of expressing yourself may be indicated. There are some lovely lunar sextiles to both Jupiter and Chiron in the night, and a beautiful trine between the Moon and Pluto early in the morning. Look for your dreams to be full of mystical and healing messages. The day begins with a lunar trine to Venus in Capricorn, starting the day off with a smile and a sense of harmony. Later in the day, Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces, taking us back into an introspective period of time and into the watery depths of our subconscious, shadow, and unconsciousness. Get your business taken care of before late afternoon if you can, and set aside time and space in your life for taking things a bit more slowly, watching for glitches and mistakes that may disrupt or disturb your daily routine.

Late that night, the Moon in Taurus opposes Saturn in Scorpio, perhaps bringing us to our knees about some ongoing emotional battle that we have not been able to resolve, cope with effectively, or release. Time for working on release and forgiveness as a way of letting ourselves detach ourselves emotionally from those areas of our life where we have no say, control, or immediate understanding. It may be difficult, but now is the time to rely on our spiritual practices to help us cope with troubled areas of our lives.

Friday begins with the Moon in the late degrees of Taurus, and then the Moon moves into Gemini.The transit of the Moon in Gemini heightens our awareness, raises our desire to communicate, and sparks our curiosity and thirst for knowledge. We seek answers, look into areas that provoke and stimulate our minds, and go after whatever happens to be of interest in the moment. Not necessarily a sign that looks deep into issues or bothers for long on any one subject, the Gemini Moon stimulates all forms of communication, the desire to get things done, and the need to organize and put the details of our lives in order. Coming as this does near the weekend, we may find that the upcoming weekend is a time when we finally get more accomplished than we have been able to for months.

Watch how the Moon affects your own experiences throughout the week. Notice your emotional ups and downs, and your energy levels. Notice how your body feels at different times and under different lunar influences, and see if you can determine the pattern your emotional temperament takes throughout the day, throughout the week, and then throughout the month. Some of us have watched our lunar cycles for years, and it doesn't hurt to slow down a bit and observe how our emotional, physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual experiences connect to the lunar cycles or not. See how you are in rhythm with the natural world or out of synch.

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