Full Moon in Libra — March 21, 2019, 01:43 UT

On March 20, 2019, the Sun entered Aries, which marks the Vernal Equinox. It is a day when the length of day and night is equal everywhere on Earth. The Full Moon in Libra occurred a few hours later, on March 21, when the Moon opposed the Sun.

A new astrological year begins when the Sun enters Aries. Astrologers may use the equinox chart in determining the themes of the next twelve months. The first degree of Aries is called the Aries Point. It is a sensitive point, where the individual’s life and world events intersect.

The Sun is now in conjunction with centaur Chiron and one of the largest trans-Neptunian objects, 120347 Salacia.

In Greek mythology Chiron was the wisest and justest of all the centaurs. He was not a troublemaker like the rest of them. His lineage was different from other centaurs. Chiron was the son of the Titan Cronus and Philyra, one of the Oceanid nymphs, which were the personification of springs. Chiron had the upper body of a human and the lower body of a horse. His mother was so disgusted by how he looked that she abandoned him at birth.

Chiron was fostered by the Sun god Apollo, who was a god of medicine and healing, music, poetry, and more. Apollo was especially concerned with the health of children. Additionally, he was the protector of fugitives and refugees. Chiron learned numerous skills from Apollo and became a great healer. He was a teacher and a mentor for many of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology.

In astrology Chiron is usually referred as the wounded healer. However, I prefer Eric Francis’s description of Chiron as raising awareness. Because of the looks of the mythical centaur and the way his mother treated him as baby, Chiron could also be seen as representing ignored and disdained people, among other things.

120347 Salacia is named after the Roman goddess of salt water and the consort of Neptune. The god Neptune wanted to marry the beautiful nymph Salacia, but to preserve her virginity she fled as far as she could and hid from him in the Atlantic Ocean. Neptune sent a dolphin to look for her and persuade her to come back. She finally agreed, and so she became the goddess of the sea. Salacia was a bit overlooked goddess in mythology. She was diminished to represent an aspect of Neptune, the violent and gushing waters. Her Greek equivalent was Amphitrite, the wife of Poseidon. Only in one occasion she appears as a real goddess, namely at the birth of the Sun god Apollo.

March 22 is the World Water Day, an annual UN observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater. It is celebrated around the world with various events, which offer an opportunity to learn about water related issues and take action to make a difference. Water is a human right. No matter where on Earth we live, the one thing we all share is the ocean. Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. The ocean plays a fundamental role in the world’s water supply, and it is our mutual interest to take care of it. Marginalized groups — women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people — are often overlooked, and may face discrimination, as they try to access safe water. In 2019 the theme for the World Water Day is “Leaving no one behind”.

My interpretation today for the Sun at the Aries Point in conjunction with Chiron and Salacia is, that the aspect is raising our awareness about the condition of the ocean and encouraging us to take action in order to secure freshwater for everyone.

New Moon in Pisces — March 06, 2019, 16:04 UT

Mercury turned retrograde in the last degree of Pisces on March 05, 2019. The next day, on March 06, 2019, Uranus changes signs from Aries to Taurus, and later on the same day the New Moon takes place in mid-Pisces in conjunction with Neptune, the ruler of Pisces. Two minor planets, a main belt asteroid Vesta and a trans-Neptunian object 88611 Teharonhiawako, are in conjunction with the New Moon, too.

88611 Teharonhiawako was discovered in 2001 and its orbital period around the Sun is 290 years. It is actually a binary object. The companion is quite large and named Sawiskera. The names come from the Iroquois creation myth.

Teharonhiawako was the creator god of the Iroquois and Sawiskera was his evil twin, eventually conquered by his brother. Teharonhiawako planted the first maize plant. He also created the first people: the first from the bark of a tree, the second from the sea foam, the third from the black soil and the fourth from the red earth. The main diet of the Iroquois came from farming. Maize was considered as a special gift from the creator god.

The Sabian Symbol for the New Moon is Pisces 16, “The flow of inspiration”. This can be a time for special gifts.

Full Moon in Virgo — February 19, 2019, 15:53 UT

A rare visitor from the distant parts of our solar system is passing us. Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) on a highly elliptical orbit around the Sun is an extreme trans-Neptunian object (ETNO), “a cousin” of Sedna and the like. Comet Iwamoto’s next visit won’t happen until around 3390 AD, if ever.

The existence of the new category of ETNOs was revealed due to the search for Planet 9, a planet which nobody has observed yet, but which is at least ten times more massive than the Earth and with a diameter two to four times the Earth, orbiting the Sun somewhere in the darkness far beyond Neptune.

Comet Iwamoto was discovered in December 2018 by a Japanese amateur astronomer. It passed closest to Earth on February 13, 2019. It is a near-parabolic comet with an orbit of 1371 years. Non-periodic comets on near-parabolic orbits usually never return to the vicinity of the Sun. Now, when passing through the inner solar system, Comet Iwamoto is moving fast! It is traveling opposite direction to the planets.

Mark A. Holmes calculated Comet Iwamoto’s position at the Full Moon chart of February 19, 2019. Thank you, Mark. Comet Iwamoto is at 15+ degrees of Cancer in aspect to several planets, including the Sun and the Moon in the first degrees of Pisces and Virgo, respectively. It is opposite (180˚) Saturn and Venus in Capricorn, trine (120˚) Mercury and Neptune in Pisces, semisquare (45˚) the Moon in Virgo, sesquiquadrate (135˚) the Sun in Pisces and biseptile (103˚) Chiron in Aries.

The notable astrological event just recently was centaur Chiron’s sign change from Pisces to Aries on the day before the Full Moon, on February 18, 2019. The Moon in Virgo forms a quincunx (150˚) to Chiron at the Aries Point. The quincunx is a challenging aspect that requires adjustment. 95P/Chiron is a comet, too. Centaurs typically behave with characteristics of both asteroids and comets. Chiron was discovered in 1977 and initially designated as a minor planet, but in 1988 it brightened, developed a tail and got classified also as a comet.

Chiron was the first member of a new family of Chiron-type comets. Another member of this class is centaur Echeclus, which has showed cometary behavior more than once and now also has the cometary designation 174P/Echeclus. Any centaur getting close enough to the Sun is anticipated to become a comet. In the Full Moon chart Echeclus is in the last degree of Taurus, squaring the luminaries in Virgo and Pisces. Short period comets generally originate in the Kuiper belt whereas long period comets in the Oort cloud.

In astrology comets are seen as heralds of change. Erratic and disruptive energy can be sensed in other chart factors too, for example in the Mars-Uranus conjunction, although the luminaries form harmonious aspects to the conjunction. Pay attention (Chiron’s advice), stay focused and don’t get provoked.

New Moon in Aquarius — February 04, 2019, 21:03 UT

The Sun is in mid-Aquarius. Finland lies under a thick snow cover. January was cold, and when I look at the scenery, it is hard to believe that we are already halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This is the time of the pagan festival called Imbolc, which marks the beginning of spring.

Candlemas, one of the oldest Christian feasts, is traditionally celebrated on February 2. On Candlemas, many Christians bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

The Slavic feast of Dziewanna Gromniczna (Dziewanna of the Thunder Candle) is celebrated also on February 2. Traditionally the thunder candles were lighted in honor of the goddess. They were placed on windowsills as protection during storms – a custom still widely practiced in Poland. People believed that the thunder candles protected from wolf attacks, too.

Dziewanna is a pre-Christian goddess of spring and wild nature. Yellow mullein flowers (Polish: dziewanna) are her symbol. Mullein is an herb which has been used thousands of years in folk medicine. You can make tea from its leaves and use it to help with respiratory conditions. The flowers can be crushed and used as a paste to disinfect scrapes. The flowers can be used even as a hair dye. In ancient times dried stalks were dipped in wax and used as torches, especially in ceremonies held in honor of the goddess Dziewanna.

Mullein in my garden last summer.
Photo: Copyright © Kirsti Melto.

The New Moon today at 15+ degrees Aquarius is square to the scattered disc object 471143 Dziewanna at 15+ degrees of Scorpio. 471143 Dziewanna is the latest named trans-Neptunian object. The orbital period is around 592 years, and the diameter about 470 kilometers, which makes it very likely a dwarf planet. It was discovered in 2010 by astronomers Andrzej Udalski, Scott Sheppard, Marcin Kubiak and Chad Trujillo during the Polish OGLE project of Warsaw University.

Hopefully Dziewanna brings us the spring.

Full Moon in Leo / Total Lunar Eclipse — January 21, 2019, 05:16 UT

The Full Moon in Leo on Jan. 21, 2019, is a spectacle. It is a Total Super Lunar Eclipse.

If the Moon is above the horizon in your location at the time of the eclipse, you are able to see a big red “blood” Moon. During a total lunar eclipse, the face of the Moon turns red. A supermoon appears big. The Earth, Moon and Sun are all in line, and the Moon is at its closest approach to Earth. The name supermoon was originally launched by astrologer Richard Nolle in the 70’s, and nowadays astronomers are also using it.

The astrological meaning of this eclipse is comparable in significance with its visible awesomeness. The Full Moon is always an opposition of the Sun and the Moon. The day before the eclipse the Sun entered Aquarius, where group consciousness is highlighted. The Moon is in Leo, in the sign of individuality. The Moon is in conjunction with Varuna.

20000 Varuna is a large trans-Neptunian object – highly likely a dwarf planet – discovered in 2000. The orbital period is around 282 years. It has an elongated shape due to its rapid rotation. This cubewano was named after one of the oldest of the Vedic deities, who had unlimited knowledge. Varuna was first associated with sky, later with waters as well as with justice and truth. Due to his association with the waters and the ocean he can be identified with Greek Poseidon and Roman Neptune. In astrology Varuna has been described as a vast energy behind everything, almost too large to comprehend.

Uranus in late Aries is squaring the Sun and the Moon. Uranus is associated with rebellion, invention and sudden flashes of insight. Venus and Jupiter, traditionally defined as the benefics, are in conjunction in Sagittarius. They are square to Neptune in Pisces. Venus-Neptune connections are often related to romantic idealism and illusions in love. Add Jupiter into the mix, and we may be talking about religious experiences. In spite of Jupiter’s often beneficial influence, its tendency to exaggerate can lead to an unfavorable outcome. The Moon forms a sesquiquadrate aspect (135 degrees) to the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius and another sesquiquadrate to Neptune in Pisces. The sesquiquadrate is not a weak aspect. It resembles the square and is a challenging aspect.

Now it is a great time to reach for your dreams and visions, as long as you are aware of the pitfalls, too.

New Moon in Capricorn / Partial solar eclipse — January 06, 2019, 01:28 UT

The New Moon at 15+ degrees Capricorn on Jan. 6, 2019, is the first eclipse of the year, a partial solar eclipse in Capricorn. The Sun and the Moon are in conjunction with Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn. Exactly at the eclipse degree is 55576 Amycus, a small centaur discovered in 2002 and given the name in 2005. At the next degree (16+ Capricorn) is Ultima Thule, the most distant world ever visited by a man-made spacecraft. Uranus is stationary direct in late degrees of Aries.

Ultima Thule is a nickname for 2014 MU69, a distant cubewano, which was targeted for the space probe New Horizons’ next destination after it would have completed flyby of Pluto, which happened in 2015. The name means a place beyond the borders of the known world. On Jan. 1, 2019, New Horizons spacecraft made a close pass of Ultima Thule. The photos it sent to Earth revealed, that Ultima Thule is a contact binary, consisting of two separate bodies joined together. The larger one is now called Ultima and the smaller one Thule. This binary is a primitive object, which is going to help scientists learn important things about the origins of our solar system.

55576 Amycus was named after a centaur, which had an important role in the Centauromachy, a famous myth telling about a battle between the Lapith people and the centaurs in Greek mythology. The centaurs were a bunch of troublemakers (except Chiron and Pholus), and Amycus was a member of his tribe.

The aforementioned battle took place during the wedding of the king of the Lapiths, Pirithous, and his bride Hippodameia. Amycus was responsible for the first death of one of the Lapiths. Amycus was killed, the centaurs were defeated, and those who kept their lives were forced to flee from Thessaly.

As human beings we have an ability to choose our actions. What we do, whether good or bad, affects other people. Also we are members of our tribe, namely humankind. It is difficult to be a truly human all by oneself. Society gives human beings their humanity. I think that the astrological meaning of Amycus has a great deal to do with this connectedness and with the choices we make, including their consequences.

This solar eclipse in Capricorn belongs to the Saros series 2 South. In “Predictive astrology: the eagle and the lark”, Bernadette Brady has delineated this eclipse family, based on the initial eclipse in the series, as follows:

“This eclipse is concerned with unusual groups and the individual’s involvement with those groups. This could be the time when the individual notices or suddenly desires to find a particular group whose concerns would be with healing, the arts, or the love of humanity. The individual will feel that, through involvement with such a group, he or she will gain a great deal.”

The Sabian symbol for the eclipse degree is Capricorn 16, Boys and girls in gymnasium suits, and it speaks about society and co-operation, too. According to Marc Edmund Jones, “This is a symbol of practical experience as at root a matter of developing self-competency, and of life as a never-ending adjustment of ideals and motives to the everyday potentials of human society. The individual is called on to co-operate in a continual estimation and re-estimation of his powers and capacities by his fellows, and to bring an aliveness of interest to everything in which he would participate. A disciplined self-responsibility is demanded for a common achievement. The keyword is animation.”

New Moon in Sagittarius — December 07, 2018, 07:20 UT

Mercury stationed direct on Dec. 6, and the next morning the New Moon at 15+ degrees of Sagittarius squared Mars-Neptune conjunction in Pisces.

The New Moon fell on the Sagittarius Sun of Finland, which celebrated its independence and 101st birthday on Dec. 6. Finland’s Sun is at 13+ degrees of Sagittarius, so it was tightly squared by the transiting Mars-Neptune conjunction. The conjunction of Mars and Neptune, two planets with quite a different nature, can manifest in various ways. The action of Mars can be weakened by Neptune, and it can lead to passive-aggressive behavior, among other things. The transit could also mean spiritual activity, drug problems, or infectious diseases, just to mention a few.

Transits don’t always manifest dramatically, however they can actualize in distinct and surprising ways.

I was celebrating the Independence Day in a typical Finnish way by lighting two candles in the evening, having a glass of bubbly, and watching the presidential reception and ball on television. I was not sleepy after the broadcast, so at midnight I was still at the computer, just amusing myself by reading news reports and Independence Day greetings. Mercury turning direct tends to bring hidden information out. For me it gave a nearly 70 year old photo, which the local brewery had just published on their Christmas advent calendar. It was a photo of workers of the old local steam brewery, and to my amazement I was looking at the young face of my dad among the group. I know that he had worked there while in his youth, but I had never seen this photo before, and I hadn’t known that such a photo had ever been taken. My dad had a Sagittarius Moon and his Sun was at 15+ degrees of Scorpio.

In traditional astrology the Moon rules beer, brewers and breweries. Neptune, one of the modern planets, is a co-ruler, and associated with alcohol and gases in general. Fiery Mars aided the brewing at this New Moon.