Full Moon in Leo
Leo is bold and unapologetic in its radiant expression of self, style, substance, and strength. Like an amber caress of vivifying warmth, the Full Moon in Leo will embrace those risking the vulnerability of their creative expression. The pounding drums of the Leo Full Moon will mobilize ingenuity and inspired action in pursuit of far ranging goals in the months ahead. If you’ve felt blocked from fully implementing plans in recent months, stuck from overthinking or frozen with constraint, find ways to generate momentum with focused effort on smaller tasks that will build toward larger outcomes. As the Full Moon on 5 February 2023 will illuminate the sacred cross-quarter days that mark the turning of the season, let yourself turn toward the lodestar of your core purpose with committed dedication. The Lion of Luna longs to hear your song, witness your dance, and receive the revelation of your voice speaking the truth of your experience. It’s a sizzling syzygy that marks the end of hibernation and reflective retreat. The fiery light pouring down from the Moon will call for action and focusing the force of your will into participation with the immense changes rippling through the world.
The Leo Full Moon is separating from a jolting square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward a sobering opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. The Full Moon is also in the bounds of Saturn, increasing the influence of Saturn and necessitating confrontation with the limitations of your circumstances while Uranus simultaneously incites impulses of liberation. As Rollo May wrote in The Courage to Create, “creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations . . . forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work.” Forming a receptive relationship with the limits and forms of your life will catalyze as well as structure the creative potential available. Due to the Leo Full Moon clashing with Uranus, you may need to endure unexpected volatility and chaotic processes, yet by facing the complexity of your situation in all of its fullness, the blazing torch of the Leo Moon will bring awareness to the deeper purpose emerging from recent months of inner exploration.
The dramatic activation of Saturn and Uranus by the Leo Full Moon is the grand finale for their long-established square aspect that has dominated astrology in recent years and has correlated with immense breakthroughs and breakdowns in personal and collective events. As the final pieces of the Saturn and Uranus story fall into place under the light of the Leo Moon, you may gain deeper awareness of the lessons, losses, and overall metamorphosis you have experienced with Saturn and Uranus clashing in a square aspect since the beginning of 2021. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the periods of Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.” While we have traversed a cataclysmic collective period that has lived up to the billing of Tarnas, in our personal lives it has also brought opportunities to break free of past restraints into exciting new directions full of promise and risk. Though it’s been a devastating and difficult time period for many, there has likely been major elements of your life that have become cleared to make space for a new phase of growth to emerge now that we are finally coming to the end of the waning square between Saturn and Uranus. The Leo Full Moon will shed light on how you have been reshaped by Saturn and Uranus.
Adding to the tumultuous intensity of the Leo Full Moon, Venus in Pisces will be engaged in a heated relationship with Mars in Gemini that will enflame relationships with passionate exchanges. The waning square aspect between Venus in Pisces with Mars in Gemini will reveal key issues within relationship that need attention and mediation. Whether you experience conflict or enhanced ardor within relationship, pay attention for signs and insight into how your desires and needs are changing. With Venus in a stronger position compared to Mars, revelations may emerge regarding the values that are most important to build your life around as well as the trajectory of your creative direction. The tension between Venus and Mars can be directed toward dynamic developments in creativity and artistic performance, as Venus will also be applying toward a harmonious sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will become exact on 8 February. Listen for how Venus is guiding you toward experiencing more excitement and pleasure within your work and relationships.
Mercury in Capricorn will be increasing in speed in the light of the Full Moon, having recently reached maximum elongation as a Morning Star on 30 January. Mercury in Capricorn will be applying closely toward a creative sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on 6 February, the same day that Mercury will move beyond the degree where it stationed retrograde on 29 December 2022. As a result, the Leo Full Moon will serve as a catalyst for embodying whatever changes in perception and creative direction you experienced during the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn phase that lasted from 29 December 2022 until 18 January 2023. The sextile aspect between Mercury with Neptune is the third of a sequence, and so you may realize an important arc of development stretching back to 24 December 2022 and 1 January 2023 when Mercury previously formed sextile aspects with Neptune. The interplay between Mercury and Neptune has brought opportunities for exploring imagination and opening perception to new creative influences. It also may have corresponded with disillusioning experiences. If so, the light of the Leo Full Moon will illuminate the lessons that need to be learned and integrated.
Following the fireworks of the Full Moon in Leo, the waning half of the lunar cycle contains a series of pivotal aspects that will deepen understanding. In the week following the lunation, Mercury will be applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will become exact on 10 February while Mars in Gemini will be applying toward an activating sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries that will become exact on 11 February. Similar to the sextile between Mercury and Neptune forming during the lunation, both of these combinations possess a cyclical quality rooted in the recent past. Mercury stationed retrograde on 29 December in close proximity with Pluto, giving Pluto an overarching influence over its subsequent retrograde phase during the following three weeks. Now that Mercury will finally be forming its conjunction with Pluto, whatever process Mercury has been working within you since the end of December will come full circle with important realizations. Mercury and Pluto expose buried material, penetrating to the roots of dynamics and focused analysis. Their combination can also empower your voice and ability to confidently communicate whatever meaning you have been developing.
The sextile between Mars in Gemini with Chiron in Aries is also connected with previous aspects between Mars and Chiron due to the Mars retrograde period that stretched from the end of October until the middle of January. The first sextile between Mars and Chiron was on 17 September 2022 when Mars was direct and the second sextile was on 19 December 2022 when Mars was retrograde. The connection to last December with both aspects that Mars and Mercury will be making gives extra emphasis to whatever developments or difficulties you were facing around the time of the Capricorn solstice. With Chiron in the fiery home of Mars, the receptive sextile indicates that however your relationship with Mars has been sharpened and honed over the course of its recent retrograde can now be directed assertively through your work and creativity. Bring mindfulness to the ways in which old wounds were brought up to work through and how the tests and trials you passed through can now facilitate greater strength and empowerment in pursuing your core purpose.
After the Mercury-Pluto and Mars-Chiron combinations form, the following week of the waning Moon will contain two powerful alignments: Venus will form a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces on 15 February and the Sun will form a conjunction with Saturn on 16 February. Though the combinations of Venus with Neptune and Saturn with the Sun have drastically different meaning, they can come together through deep contemplation, exploring ways to bring dream into reality, and becoming aware of illusions you need to awaken from. At the same time, Mercury in Aquarius will be applying toward a coalescing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries that will become exact on 17 February. Mercury in Aquarius transmitting the fiery spirit of Jupiter in Aries can bring clarity for the creative direction to pursue in the months ahead, drawing from both the idealistic imaginal power of Venus and Neptune and the deep wisdom of Saturn and the Sun that can bring the otherworldliness of Venus and Neptune into pragmatic application through concrete forms.
Vitally, the Leo Full Moon demarcates not only the end of the Saturn’s current cycle with the Sun but also the final month of Saturn occupying its airy home of Aquarius. Saturn experienced its heliacal set into invisible darkness in the days leading up to the Leo Full Moon, placing Saturn in an underworld process of exploring deep mystery while it burns off its past cycle that began on 4 February 2022 at 15°56’ Aquarius. The days surrounding the conjunction between the Sun and Saturn on 16 February at 27°44’ Aquarius will be an ideal time to actively reflect upon what you have built and what you have had to let go of during Saturn’s journey through Aquarius. The works of Saturn take time to fully form yet can also endure as long lasting foundations of support. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon illuminate what needs to be emptied and shed from Saturn’s present cycle, revealing the essential meaning that can be deepened and developed within the cycle to come.
Leo 2 Decan
The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of triumphant victory, we see the strident champion being honored by an adoring crowd as well as a wreath of laurel. As laurel is of the nature of the Sun just like the gold medals pursued by competitors, there is potential within the second face of Leo for not only expression of soulful radiance and creative power but also reception of honors for it. Fittingly, Jupiter rules the second face of Leo, revealing the potency found within this decan for achievements that bring acclaim. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Six of Wands often correlates with becoming celebrated in public, yet the good fortune and powerful luck associated with this arcanum and decan is not based upon the moral quality of the recipient. Indeed, the image of blind Fortuna spinning her great wheel is resonant with this decan, as Chang wrote that “the Wheel of Fortune is fundamentally amoral.” Moreover, since acclaim and fortune will not necessarily last whether earned or unearned, the second face of Leo emphasizes the need to align with the constantly changing nature of life and fortune with its ceaseless upswings and downswings.
Some of the traditional images for the second decan of Leo emphasize the amoral quality of fortune found within this face. In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the second face of Leo has “the image of a man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head. [He has] the form of an angry and threatening man. In his right hand he has drawn a sword, and in his left a round shield. [This image] has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, of vile men, and over occasions of lawsuits and battles.” In Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius, the image for the second face of Leo is a “Naked man, sceptre in right hand, whip in left, crescent moon upon head.” Ibn Ezra as well as the Picatrix also fashioned images of a man crowned with myrtle holding a bow and arrow. The Yavanajataka gave the image of “a bold woman with loosened hair. She is on a mountain peak, proud in taking away the wealth of others . . .”
Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.” Yet similar to the amoral traditional images found within this face, Coppock wrote that the pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, declaring that “great works do not guarantee any greatness of character.” Coppock further noted that the second face of Leo can guide us toward realizing what elements of our public persona are out of alignment with our inner integrity, or instead how we may need to embody more humility within experiences of recent praise or glory. Coppock made the point that “recognition of one’s virtues does not dispel the reality of one’s vices,” since many images of the decan in traditional text show it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan.” Coppock declared that the promise and power of victory is so strong in this decan we must guard against becoming blinded by the solar light of success.
In contrast to other images found within traditional text, the great goddess Isis resides in the second face of Leo according to the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Isis became syncretized as the goddess containing all goddesses in the Hellenistic era, and just as she weaves many traditions together in her history, so does she weave a web of love through times of trauma to bring about an eventual retrieval and integration of wholeness. Isis in connection with the second face of Leo highlights the courage needed to resiliently persist on inner journeys to reanimate whatever aspects of your essential self have become fragmented. Similar to how Isis was able to re-member and re-animate her beloved Osiris, explore how the light of the Leo Full Moon illuminates desires and gifts that had become dismembered within your inner darkness and can now be regenerated through your creative work in the world.
Yet when doing the inner work needed to bring about empowered capacity to pursue ambitions, we need to remember the warnings found within the second face of Leo regarding the perils of power and privileged positions which also bring opportunity to harm others as much as they bring opportunities to reward ourselves with public acclaim and status. The strong influence of Jupiter upon the second face of Leo requires the generous and devotional qualities of Jupiter to remain in right relation with heart-centered focus. Under the light of the Leo Full Moon, may we commit to creative expression that inspires and uplifts others, sustaining alignment with the integrity of our core values.
Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.
Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.
May, Rollo. (1975). The Courage to Create. WW Norton & Company.
Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.