by April Elliott Kent I was about seven years old when I made my initial foray into the world of business. Intrigued by an advertisement in my Archie comic book, I sent off for packets of seeds that the ad strongly suggested could be parlayed into significant wealth. In due time, the seeds arrived, in packets decorated with beautiful sketches of the lush flowers and vegetables that these seeds would someday become. Enthused, I immediately began trying to sell them to friends and family; who could resist, I figured?
But in my youthful enthusiasm, I had overlooked one important point: I lived in a farm community, and seeds were not exactly in short supply. So, my career in horticultural commerce was short-lived. The seed of the idea – sell an appealing, inexpensive product to lots of people – was a fine one. But the soil and growing conditions were not hospitable, and so the “seed” of my youthful entrepreneurialism withered without bearing fruit.
Any gardening book will tell you how to produce the best results with a given seed – what kind of soil to plant it in, how much light and water it needs. But there is no guarantee that what is planted and nourished in a particular way will flower as expected. Even nature cannot make solid predictions that a plant will end up looking like the picture on the seed packet. As scholar Edith Hamilton once put it, “The seed never explains the flower.” Two gardeners plant seeds from the same zucchini, and tend them with care; one ends up with a garden full of green, the other with a shriveled vine. What made the difference? Neither can say.
And then there are those mysterious plants that flourish despite harsh conditions. My husband tells the story of a rose bush that once flourished on his property. He didn’t want a rose bush; he understood them to be “high maintenance,” needing lots of water, food, and attention that he didn’t have time to give. So he systematically deprived the shrub of all water and ran over it repeatedly with a lawn mower. It responded by growing stronger and healthier, producing beautiful, fragrant flowers. Some ideas, like hardy plants, have the strength of the zeitgeist on their side. In the words of Victor Hugo, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”
As in gardening, making predictions based on beginnings is what astrology is all about. The whole system, from charts of people to charts of countries, marriages, business ventures, buying a car – is based on moments of beginning. Astrology works, we reason, because moments in time, like seeds, contain the prescription for what they will become. But even gardeners and farmers, with a wisdom borne of years negotiating with nature, acknowledge that at some point, all the planning and care and preparation in the world won’t ensure the outcome of their crops. Nature and life have a way of surprising us; but the lore of both gardening and astrology can serve as guides to supervise our humble efforts to undertake new beginnings.
The New Moon Seed
Each month, the New Moon’s longitudinal point falls in one of twelve houses of your chart. Think of this point as a seed that wants to be planted, an idea for a new venture, the picture on your seed packet. The house of your chart where the New Moon falls describes the “soil” you have available for planting. Is it sandy, rocky, heavy or light? How can you make the soil ready to receive the seed of a new beginning and give it the best chance to grow? And is this the right moment to plant this particular seed – or might your yield be increased if you planted during a different month?
At each New Moon, a new seed is given to you with instructions to plant it in a particular area of your chart. Two weeks later, in the light of the Full Moon, the decision to plant this seed is reevaluated. How is it faring in the place where it’s planted – does it need more light, more air, more water? This quick, Full-Moon glance over your shoulder will help you evaluate whether you’re on the right track, and whether you need to adjust or change your direction. But you won’t know for sure whether your planting has been successful until six months from now, when the New Moon falls in the opposite house of your chart. Then, from the other side of the garden, you can get a good view of the first buds of new growth.
New Moon Astrology through the Houses of the Birth Chart
Not sure how to find which house of your chart the New Moon falls in? This blog post should help.
New Moon in the First House
When the New Moon energizes the first house of your chart, you will not lack enthusiasm for new undertakings. But like my seed packet adventure, begun with a child’s naïve enthusiasm, your latest scheme may prove less than fully developed when viewed in the light of the full moon. You have much work to do this month simply plowing your soil, which is still a bit hard from winter’s frost. New seeds planted this month won’t take root easily unless they are especially hardy. But like my husband’s scrappy rosebush, you are ready for the bite of the plow’s blade; and whether it is a change of job, appearance, or address, this is probably the best month all year to undertake a radical new beginning in your life.
New Moon in the Second House
If you spent all your energy last month in one furious sprint, you may have to overcome considerable inertia now. But if you can, whatever you begin this month will have real staying power – so as much as possible, avoid filling your days with joyless obligations. Plant seeds of enjoyment, filling your days with people and activities that give you pleasure. In the light of the Full Moon, consider whether you are planting enough to cushion you against life’s inevitable lean times. You may have fewer options for growth when the New Moon falls in your eighth house, six months from now. So plant a few extra seeds – more friends, a job with more money – as a cosmic insurance policy.
New Moon in the Third House
So many ideas interest you now; how to commit to just one? Don’t: rather, scatter your seeds like wildflowers, and leave pollination to the birds and bees. Your job this month is to explore as many new ideas you can. Talk to people, read books, get in your car and drive; you need a crazy quilt of ideas, opinions, and scenery this month. At the Full Moon, others may urge you to commit to a single idea, but your garden is not really ready for careful planting. Later you will need to do some weeding, but don’t worry about that now. There will be plenty of time, when the New Moon falls in your ninth house, to choose a favorite from among the many ideas and seedlings that you germinated this month.
New Moon in the Fourth House
It is time to irrigate your garden, and you must dig deep in search of water. Perhaps the hidden wellspring that nourishes you is conviction, or creativity, or kindness; almost certainly it includes sensitivity to your environment. What are the things you notice that nobody else seems to? Your particular sensitivity to the world is what you will carry into the fifth house next month and turn into art. So this month, tap into those inner reserves and drink at the well. Meditate. Sleep. Chant. Get centered. The emotional authenticity you cultivate this month will carry forward, six months from now, into the tenth house world at large.
New Moon in the Fifth House
This month, you begin to parlay your fourth house nourishment into a creative act. But the fifth house act of creation requires some element of courage and risk. Fifth house soil is the sand on the beach, damp from the waves of the fourth house and perfect for forming into sandcastles. At the full moon, a crowd gathers to look at your handiwork. Some are dazzled, and spur you on to even greater heights. Others are indifferent; why, they wonder, would you spend so much time and effort building something that a wave will wash away tomorrow? But their opinions, which will prove valuable when the New Moon falls in your eleventh house, are not as important just now as the joy you invested in building that sandcastle.
New Moon in the Sixth House
Building sandcastles may be creatively fulfilling, but of what practical use are they? Even as a creative act, the medium is too temporal to be of long-term inspiration. With the New Moon in your sixth house, your creative efforts are pressed into the service of some higher good, urging you toward a practical use for your creativity. No seed can flourish in sixth house soil unless it serves humanity or the planet. Perhaps the skills you used to build sandcastles can be used to help build houses for people with low incomes. Or, you could take underprivileged kids to the beach to build sandcastles of their own. If you find a way to make your art useful, if you can combine work and love, then in six months, with the New Moon in your twelfth house, you will have found nirvana.
New Moon in the Seventh House
Standing in a gown, in front of an altar and a group of loved ones, the bride fulfills the promise of the New Moon in the seventh house: she begins a new life with another person. Life, death, parenthood, marriage – these are common transitions that mark you as significantly changed, initiates in a sorority or fraternity previously closed to you. As the New Moon falls in your seventh house, you join one of these groups, sowing the seed of a new way of relating with the world. What you learned about yourself with the New Moon in your first house is parlayed now into a better understanding of who you are in relation to others. Through careful companion planting – making room in your life for others – you become stronger.
New Moon in the Eighth House
Eighth house soil has been heaped with compost, and when the New Moon falls in this house you must turn that compost into the soil. It’s unpleasant work, because the smell of the fertilizer is not enjoyable. But it is necessary work, to turn what has died and decayed into food for something yet to come. With the New Moon in your eighth house, you are planting seeds of investment in the future. It takes faith to spend time turning your compost heap when others around you are scattering seeds or enjoying the fruits of their harvest. Your faith is in the invisible, the vision waiting to be fulfilled. Your faith is that the uncomfortable work of this month will contribute to a bountiful return, when the New Moon next falls in your second house.
New Moon in the Ninth House
Weed through what you have sown in the past nine months, and choose just one kind of plant you can commit to. It may not be the tallest flower, or the juiciest tomato – but whatever you choose will have the best chance to succeed, because it has the full measure of your enthusiasm behind it. This is the month to begin actively believing in something. Six months ago, when the New Moon fell in your third house, you had a lot of interesting ideas; which of them still sounds interesting to you today? It’s time to take a leap of faith toward the path with heart. sow the seeds of hope this New Moon, and at the full moon you will find even more ideas to fuel your enthusiasm.
New Moon in the Tenth House
When the New Moon is in the tenth house, it is time to take authority over your life. Last month you took a risk and hitched your star to some person, idea, belief, or course of action; this month, you are called to stand up for that idea. Your level of success will depend on your ability to draw from the well that you dug when the New Moon was in your fourth house, and present yourself as a voice of credibility and integrity. It is one of the hardest months for sowing seeds, because the tenth house craves what is already fully-grown. But if this month you are not yet in a position to be the boss, sow the seed of ambition to someday hold that honor.
New Moon in the Eleventh House
A few years ago I was reunited with a friend from high school. She is an artist now, and the first time I visited her home, I was overwhelmed by the ravishing color and whimsy of her décor. Over the years I have borrowed shamelessly from her treasure trove of ideas, painting my living room in bold colors and hanging my windows with valances of fairy lights. Of course, I’ve brought my own ideas and preferences, but my friend provided the inspiration. The eleventh is a house of friends, of politics and groups, of joining together with like-minded people. When the New Moon is here, borrow seeds of inspiration from these friendly souls. They will round out your garden of ideas – especially the seeds of creativity sown when the New Moon fell in your fifth house – in unexpected and delightful ways.
New Moon in the Twelfth House
A couple of years ago, a friend gave us a shy little plant in a small, blue, enamel pot: a moonflower, which only blooms at night. When the New Moon is in your twelfth house, plant seeds that bloom in private, in the dark. They can be seeds of spiritual awakening, whose flowers only bloom when you meditate. They might be seeds that you plant and tend for others as a loving gift, behind the scenes, without seeking honor for doing so. This month, you are a quiet farmer in a secret garden, behind high walls covered in morning glories and hibiscus. This is no time for practical planting of roots and vegetables; instead, sow moonflower seeds of beauty and inspiration.
At each New Moon, we feel the urge to begin something new. But just as in gardening, New Moon beginnings have an element of brave guesswork and trust about them. It is worth remembering that the New Moon is a dark time; wander around outdoors on the night of a New Moon, and you’d better bring a flashlight with you. Otherwise, the light of the Full Moon might reveal that you’ve traveled quite far afield of your original destination. Fortunately, astrology can be just the flashlight you need, shedding light on the symbolism of the New Moon as it germinates seeds of change in your chart, and in your life.
© 2005 April Elliott Kent.
Originally published in Llewellyn’s 2006 Moon Sign Book.