Tag Archives: Dana Gerhardt

The Pisces New Moon: a time for contemplation, not action…

Every year, the time from the New Moon in Pisces to the New Moon in Aries can be seen as the zodiacal year’s 12th House phase, its Balsamic phase: Moondark of the entire annual zodiacal cycle.

I was born at the very end of Moondark, with the Moon only three degrees behind the Sun, and both those Lights plus three other planets in the twelfth house of my horoscope. So – twelfth house/Balsamic/Moondark phases of any month, year or indeed planetary cycle whether progressed or by transit affect me very deeply and interest me profoundly.

I have learned over decades to live with those complex stages reasonably productively, so I hope that my musings in this post during the approaching Moondark of the whole year of 2020/21 will  provide productive food for thought and appropriate contemplation!

Moondark describes the end of any cycle – the 12th house phase – whether we are contemplating the monthly Sun/Moon one or the epoch-defining 500 year long Neptune/Pluto cycle. It is the time of withdrawal and dissolution of energy – think of wintertime, the stripped trees, the cold, barren earth – a time of dark power in which the old order dies at a number of different levels, so that fertile energy can emerge from the womb of the night.

It occurred to me some years ago that this ancient astronomical pattern of the yearly phases of the Sun/Moon relationship and its attendant meaning in the yearly cycle had been taken up and overlaid – as with so many of the old pagan yearly traditions – by Christianity. Easter and Christ’s Resurrection could be roughly mapped onto the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere around the 20th of March each year, followed by the Aries New Moon and the beginning of Spring.

In Christianity, the forty days preceding Easter when Christ retreated into the wilderness to wrestle with various temptations, to fast and to pray, is known as Lent: a time of watching, waiting, self-denial, contemplation and prayer.

The March/April period each year is also observed at various times by other religious traditions including Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Judaism. The  ancient longing, waiting for the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere and with it the renewal of Spring has deep roots: to a time when our ancestors’ whole existence was predicated closely upon the path of the Sun and the Sun/Moon relationship.

Thus, despite all the sophisticated technological trappings of 21st Century living, my feeling based on observation of my own, my clients’ and students’ lives over several decades is that at a deep psychological level these ancient patterns still affect us whether we are consciously aware of them or not.

That wonderfully poetic astrological writer Dana Gerhardt puts it beautifully:

“…Balsamic begins with the waning Sun/Moon semi-square. The Moon is a slim Crescent, forty-five degrees behind the Sun…Our physical energy is necessarily as low as our psychic energy is high. We’re at a threshold, ending one cycle while anticipating a new one round the corner. We might want to get into motion, but our bodies are tired. Our clarity and focus wane, like the Balsamic Moon herself, rising thinner and fainter each morning until she eventually disappears altogether, lost in the Sun’s glare. This is the Dark Moon.

Much of the time we won’t know whether we’re finishing up or leaning toward the future, whether we’re being truly psychic or simply dreaming – which is why this is a better period for introspection than for action. Without the dormancy of winter, spring’s (or the New Moon’s) seeds cannot mature…”(i)

So – this is the Moondark phase of the whole of 2020/21 about to begin with the Pisces New Moon on Saturday 13th March. And –  right now is the Moondark phase of the whole month from the New Moon in Aquarius on 11 February 2021.  I feel pretty amazed that I was able to get out of bed today, never mind write a blog post! as Dana Gerhardt wisely says:

‘…this is a better period for introspection than for action…’

So – it might be productive for us to spend some time just now and over the upcoming Pisces New Moon period in reflecting on the ending phases of those major cycles which we all share: the 11-12 year cycle of Jupiter, the 18-19 year cycle of the Moon’s Nodes, the 27-year cycle of the progressed Moon, the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn, and the 50 year cycle of Chiron.

What were you doing in the last year or so – the Moondark period –   of each of those cycles? What had changed by the time the new cycle had begun to take shape after 1-2 years? Depending on your age, you may by now be able to look back through eg three or four or more cycles of Jupiter, or eg two cycles of Saturn? What themes can you detect which have unfolded through these cycles and repeats? I have really enjoyed working in this way over many years with my clients, students and mentorees – and myself. There is much understanding and learning to be gained from such reflection.

There is already plenty of commentary of varying quality across the Web regarding the nature of this upcoming Pisces New Moon, and what we might expect it to bring. I’ll be sharing (on this blog’s Facebook Page) one or two of what I think are the best of those writings as the Pisces New Moon waxes.

At a personal level, we will need to ‘go with the flow’, disruptive though it may well be, as much as we can. It’s a good time for letting things hang loose, not making any definite plans and expecting if we do, that things may very well not go smoothly.

At a collective level, what strikes me most powerfully as this zodiacal year ends is how weary we all are now of the lockdowns and restrictions necessitated since last March 2020 by attempts with varying degrees of success to control the Covid pandemic sweeping the world. There is increasing hope, as Spring gathers pace, that we will gain some freedom at last as the pace of vaccination speeds up, and the rates of infection gradually diminish.

So – let’s hope that we can all keep our heads above turbulent waters, and learn a bit more from whatever experiences come our way, as the month unfolds prior to the Aries New Moon on 12th April, the true beginning of the astrological New Year…

Endnotes:

(i) from Dana’s Moonwatching series on Astrodienst: https://www.astro.com/info/in_dg_balsamic_e.htm

1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2021

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

An autumnal treat from ‘The Mountain Astrologer’ magazine

A real treat awaited me on my return from holiday today. In my office mail was the first of  six free issues of “The Mountain Astrologer” – recognised as the world’s leading astrology magazine – and a free CD of  The Mountain Astrologer’s “Editor’s Choice” : 43 previously out-of-print articles from TMA in the 1990s, now available on CD. What had I done to deserve this largesse? My 1997 article on “The Saturn Cycles” had been included in the pick.

And what a treat it is! The blurb on the CD tells us that the articles are written by ….” Rob Hand, Dana Gerhardt, Bruce Scofield, Donna Cunningham, Bill Herbst, Jessica Murray….and other leading writers”….

Having had a very quick skim through the articles list, and an appetite-whetting dip into some of them, the great strength of this collection is immediately evident. It demonstrates that the astrological paradigm can usefully illuminate the whole range and depth of human experience, way beyond the shallow scope of the Sun Sign columns.

The Mountain Astrologer : Oct/Nov 2010

The Mountain Astrologer : Oct/Nov 2010

www.mountainastrologer.com

Article titles reveal this range, from Michael Thurman’s brilliant Big Picture exploration of  overlaps between “Astrology and the New Physics” , through Bill Herbst’s careful and constructive tackling of  the not uncontentious combination of “Astrology and Psychotherapy”, right down to what happens (or should happen!) in “The Astrological Consultation”– seen through the lens of the long experience, expertise and professionalism of Jane Ridder-Patrick.

The history of astrology is also explored, as is symbolism and synchronicity, creativity, questions of fate and free will, Vedic astrology, traditional methods, different astrological techniques, interviews with influential astrologers – even astrological gardening. In short, this is a collection which no serious astrologer can afford to be without.

Importantly, many of the articles will also hold value and interest for the open-minded general reader.

At a practical level, the CD works in an entirely easy manner: I stuck it in my Macbook, and off it went without a hitch. Contributors are listed in alphabetical order of first names, which pleased this “Anne” no end! And the final treat in an unmissable collection is the front page of the very first issue : for December 1987/January 1988, featuring ” Astrology explained” by Tem Tarriktar  – still with us, both of you, after all these years!

To order this wonderful collection, go to www.mountainastrologer.com (using the back issue order form and typing in “I want the CD”  instead of back issue numbers.)

Introductory prices through December 31, 2010 : $19 for current TMA subscribers, and $26 for non-subscribers.

The Mountain Astrologer : Oct/Nov 2010

The Mountain Astrologer : Oct/Nov 2010

450 words copyright Anne Whitaker/The Mountain Astrologer Oct/Nov 2010
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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