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Hello Invisible Friend, April here, and the date today is Nov. 13th, 2023. Welcome to Episode 208 of the Big Sky Astrology Podcast. This week, the Scorpio New Moon calls us to stand up for our convictions and to disobey the rules if necessary. The Sun comes together with Mars and makes a rebellious opposition to Uranus. Mars connects with Neptune with more calls to action in a spiritual sense. Mercury makes a comforting aspect with Venus. And, I answer a listener question about whether it’s okay to use more than one house system when you’re interpreting your birth chart.
New Moon in Scorpio (Nov. 13, 2023, 1:27 am PST)
The week begins with the Moon Report and that New Moon in Scorpio on Nov. 13, 2023 at 1:27 am Pacific Time. The New Moon is at 20º 43’ Scorpio on the Sabian symbol 21 Scorpio, A soldier derelict in duty. This point is in a conjunction with Mars and in opposition with Uranus, and most of the major aspects that are coming together in this chart are things that I’ll be talking about in this episode, and part of the New Moon cycle that will unfold over the next 28 days and also, over the next three years.
Given the conjunction of the Sun and Moon with Mars, the warrior planet, the Sabian symbol for this New Moon is very appropriate. The soldier certainly represents the Sun with Mars. But the opposition to Uranus emphasizes the rebelliousness and unwillingness to go along with the status quo.
This symbol is sometimes written, Obeying their conscience, a soldier resists an order. I think of Scorpio as one of the very most conscientious signs. It has very strong convictions and the opposition to Uranus is very congruent with this soldier who is resisting orders because possibly they go against his conscience.
This could be a New Moon when we have to take a look at the orders and the rules that we live by, and they could be determined by our family, our community, the country we live in, the company we work for. And give some thought to if there are ways in which you don’t agree with those rules, how you can most effectively resist them and go in a way that really is in accord with your individual ethics and conscience.
This New Moon initiates a Lunar Phase Family cycle. The First Quarter in this cycle will be on Aug. 12, 2024, the Full Moon on May 12, 2025, and the Last Quarter on Feb. 9, 2026. These are good dates to note, and I include them also in my Working with the Moon workbook, which is available to all subscribers to my mailing list. You can find out more about that by going to BigSkyAstrology.com, but I intentionally include these dates at the end of the workbook to help you track your progress with this particular New Moon cycle. Because it is the beginning of a story that unfolds over one month, and then over six months until there is a Full Moon in this same sign, but also over this three-year period where we have first the New Moon, then nine months later, the First Quarter, 9 months later, the Full Moon, and 9 months after that, the Last Quarter Moon, all near the same degree of this New Moon, so very close to 20º 43’ Scorpio.
Void-of-Course Moon Periods
Let’s look at the Void-of-Course Moon periods for this week. On Nov. 13, the Moon in Scorpio sextiles Pluto at 3:03 pm Pacific Time. It’s void of course then for about three and one quarter hours, and then enters Sagittarius at 6:22 pm. Again, the Void-of-Course Moon periods occur when the moon makes its last major aspect to another planet while it is in its sign, and then it is void of course, without a course, until it moves into the next sign.
And these Void-of-Course Moon periods, I believe, give us an opportunity to really reflect on the themes of that final aspect that the Moon makes in its sign. It’s an opportunity for breaking habits, for creating new habits, and for letting things go.
This combination of the Moon and Scorpio with Pluto speaks to me of containing our emotions in order to attain power. There is the challenge to overcome the emotional heaviness that can sometimes be associated with the Moon in Scorpio. It is also an opportunity to break habits of resentment or of holding on to grudges or bitterness about the past. So, not just hiding it so that nobody sees it, but truly trying to release it.
The sextile aspect of Pluto in Capricorn is the opportunity – always with the sextile – to gain more empowerment to the extent that we are in control of our feelings and to some degree our thoughts. We have power that can’t be taken away from us.
On Nov. 15th, the Moon in Sagittarius squares Neptune at 2:56 pm Pacific Time. It’s void of course for a pretty long time, about eight-and-three-quarter hours, before it enters Capricorn at 11:41 p.m. This Void of Course period is about coming to a deeper understanding about the difference between what we know, which is symbolized by the Moon in Sagittarius, and what we have faith in, which is represented by Neptune. And when the two come together in a square aspect, it’s the kind of aspect that forces us to take a different point of view. This aspect in this Void-of-Course Moon period is an invitation to get out of your head and into your heart. Understanding not just our own ideas and opinions, but the feelings that they can bring up, or even the feelings that they sometimes cover.
So let go of the need to always be right, which can be a little bit of a problem for planets in Sagittarius sometimes – letting go of that and surrendering to the possibility that there might be more in a particular situation than we can fully be aware of.
And finally, on Nov. 18th, the Moon in Capricorn makes a conjunction with Pluto at 12:27 am Pacific Time. It’s Void of Course for three hours and then enters Aquarius at 3:27 am. Very much like the Moon in Scorpio, the Moon in Capricorn wants to be in control of its feelings. But the Moon in Capricorn, particularly as it makes this conjunction with Pluto, also has the potential to lose track of feelings in favor of taking care of business on a practical level. Here is an opportunity To bring empathy and intuition to your work, because the Moon may be in Capricorn, which likes to handle its feelings in a fairly practical way, by setting goals or getting things done, but it’s still the Moon. And the Moon is that lovely, empathetic, intuitive presence. as it comes together with Pluto, it’s not always easy to acknowledge all of the feelings that we have. And in fact, it can be a little bit overwhelming. So it’s okay to do your Capricorn thing And attend to some work, a checklist, whatever it is that you like to do. But don’t lose track altogether of that beautiful lunar ability to be guided through your day instead of just working through a checklist.
Sun opposed Uranus (Nov. 13, 2023, 9:20 am PST)
The Sun opposes Uranus on Nov. 13 at 9:20 am Pacific Time, at 21º 3’ Scorpio and Taurus. This is one of the aspects from that New Moon chart that speaks so much of the rebelliousness and the willingness to go against what we are being told to do in order to follow our conscience.
The Sun’s Sabian symbol at the opposition is Hunters starting out for ducks. And this is the degree that follows that soldier derelict of duty symbol. Now, we see the soldier, the hunter, going out to capture ducks. To me, the sun on this symbol signifies a fixity of purpose, starting out for a particular purpose. But the opposition to Uranus still offers the opportunity to abandon that purpose, that objective, in favor of a peaceful outcome, which we see in Uranus’ Sabian symbol, 22 Taurus, White dove over troubled waters, which is one we’ve been seeing for the last couple of weeks. We’re still waiting to see the peace that can come out of this, but I think the Sun’s opposition to Uranus is key because it requires sometimes thinking outside the box or being willing to veer from the acceptable path and look at things in a new way.
Mercury sextile Venus (Nov. 15, 2023, 4:48 am PST)
On Nov. 15 at 4:48 am Pacific Time, Mercury sextiles Venus at 7º 52’ Sagittarius and Libra. The Sabian symbol for Mercury is 8 Sagittarius, Rocks and things forming therein, which of course makes us think, hmm, Mercury on that symbol, do we have rocks in our heads? And Venus is on 8 Libra, A blazing fireplace in a deserted home.
I think Mercury’s Sabian symbol reflects that opinionated quality that we can sometimes see with Mercury in Sagittarius. And there is the reminder here to keep an open mind. Venus symbol is such a gracious and comforting one. And I’m reminded of the feeling that you get when you come home from a long trip, and maybe a friend has left the porch light on for you, or some loving person in your home has started a fire to warm things up for you. I like to envision our rocky minds being softened by the cordiality of conversation by that fire. With Mercury in Sagittarius, it reflects the desire to be right. And I think the sextile to Venus says, isn’t it a little more important to find a rapport with others?
It’s a very fleeting aspect between two fast moving planets, so we really feel its influence pretty much just on that day, but I think it could be a really pivotal one during a week where there is a lot of friction and people working out big issues. This is an opportunity to just talk things out with people that we like.
Mars trine Neptune (Nov. 17, 2023, 12:36 am PST)
On Nov. 17th at 12:36 am Pacific Time, Mars trines Neptune, at 24º59’ Scorpio and Pisces. And later that morning, at 6:52 am, the Sun trines Neptune at precisely the same degrees of the same signs. Mars and the Sun are on the Sabian symbol 25 Scorpio, An x-ray. And Neptune is on Sabian symbol 25 Pisces, The purging of the priesthood.
Neptune symbolizes our desire for clarity and for purity. Mars, on the x ray degree, helps with both of those things and makes it possible to rid ourselves of those who claim to be spiritual leaders but are proven to be false. There’s a reason we have this X-ray Sabian symbol here, that sees very deep and sees through people and situations to see what’s not on the up and up. And we have both the Sun and Mars here – a lot of power directed toward this pursuit of the truth. Since Mars is such an action-oriented planet, this can also be an aspect that calls us to take action toward matters of spiritual purpose, toward our beliefs.
Sun conjunct Mars (Nov. 17, 2023, 9:42 pm PST)
And of course, we know if the Sun and Mars were making that aspect to Neptune almost simultaneously, we know that they are coming together in their exact conjunction. That happens on Nov. 17 at 9:42 pm Pacific Time, at 25º 36’ Scorpio. And this is on the next Sabian symbol, 26 Scorpio, Indians making camp. With this full force of the powerful Sun and Mars, in one of its strongest signs, we set forth to achieve a goal or to conquer new territory.
This is a very resourceful degree. The Indians making camp symbolize the knowledge and adaptability to survive in unfamiliar territory. Since this is part of the New Moon chart, this campaign for survival and progress will be part of what unfolds over the coming few years.
Listener Question: Looking at your chart in different house systems
In this week’s listener question, listener Sandra writes, “I am comparing my different natal results in two different house systems. I’m looking at whole sign and Placidus. I find more accurate interpretations for most planets in the Whole Sign system, while other signs are more accurate in Placidus. Is it acceptable to mix interpretations between the house systems to have a more accurate picture of the self? Thanks.”
Well, thank you for the question, Sandra. I think that I’ve made my attitude about house systems and astrology pretty clear on a number of occasions, including here on the podcast, but at the risk of repeating myself, I’ll just say that while astrologers have solid reasons for choosing the house system that they do, I think it’s wise to take houses with a grain of salt.
If you look into the sky, you will see the horizon representing the Ascendant and Descendant. But there are not lines in the sky to represent other house cusps, so there’s room to experiment with a variety of house systems, and I recommend doing that.
And just for a moment for those who might not be familiar with what house systems even are: They’re the way of drawing the 12 houses of the chart, the 12 sections, separated by lines that we call cusps, and there are a lot of different ways that astrologers can divide up the sky in these 12 sections. We call these house systems, and if you really want to make astrologers get very lively in any kind of gathering, introduce the topic of house systems, because people are very attached, usually, to the house system that they use.
As I say, there’s room to experiment with a variety of house systems. I really encourage people to do that. However, it is a little dangerous to choose a house system based on your subjective experience of your own chart. What you might perceive as a more accurate interpretation of something like, say, Jupiter in the 3rd house in one house system versus Jupiter in the 4th house of another could easily be due to other placements or aspects in your chart, say you have Jupiter in Gemini or in aspect to Mercury, or Sagittarius is on the cusp of the third house, and this is just for example.
Some astrologers, including those who have my utmost respect, suggest that a planet that’s very close to the boundary between two houses should be interpreted as kind of operating in both houses. I think maybe it’s just my Saturn in Capricorn, which likes boundaries, but I figure if you’ve chosen a house system that you trust, then I think it’s important to rely on it to show you that the planet is in one house and not the other, and that it chose that house for a very good reason.
When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time at my friend Alice’s house. A lot. For a few years, you could say that I almost lived there. But at the end of the day, I went home and slept at my family’s house. Now, fate could have made me a member of Alice’s family, but it didn’t, and however much time I spent at her house, and as much as I loved being there, it didn’t make me really part of that family. I was born into the Clan Elliott for a reason, with all the lessons and influences that suggests, and I look at planets and houses of the chart in a similar way.
So, as I said, I’m all for experimenting with house systems, but here is what I suggest to my students. When you’re first getting started in astrology, I think it’s most helpful to pick one house system and stick with it for some arbitrary amount of time, let’s say a couple of years.
And for a couple of years, watch as transits, especially fast-moving transits of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars move through the houses of your chart as calculated in that house system. So, for now, I would say kind of forget about the personality profile of a planet in one house or the other, and maybe focus on the transits, which will quickly tell the tale of which system really resonates with your chart.
As an astrologer in practice for more than 30 years, I’ve settled nicely into a single house system. But for years, I kept a spreadsheet with my house cusps in four different house systems Koch, Placidus, Whole Sign, and Porphyry. And made notes of anything important that happened that touched off one of those house cusps with a transiting planet. In the end, my friends, there was no one house system that had a 100 percent hit rate. And, ultimately, I’ve ended up sticking with Koch, the house system favored by my teacher, and which has served me well for all of these years.
But I will say that there are times when I’ve been looking at a client’s chart and it just seemed to work better in another system. And by that I mean the things they wrote about in their questionnaire, which all of my clients complete before we meet with each other, better reflected transits and progressions in another system than the one that I use. And so I used that system for them.
Until you’re really comfortable with astrology’s many moving parts, it can get very confusing to flip back and forth between house systems to find something that works in every case, and in my experience, there really isn’t a system that works in every case. So, I’d really encourage you to find one and stick with it for a while. Really study it and watch as it responds to the moving sky.
Thanks again very much for that question, Sandra!
And if you, Invisible Friend, have a question that you’d like me to answer on a future episode, just leave a message of one minute or less at SpeakPipe. com slash Big Sky Astrology Podcast. Or, you can email me at April(at)BigSkyAstrology(dot)com and put “podcast question” in the subject line.
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That’s it for this episode. Join me again bright and early next Monday. And until then, keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars!
Writing and images © 2017-23 by April Elliott Kent
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