With this Full Moon, we are encouraged to remain steadfast in our dedication to bringing light to the world.
As I contemplated the six planets in fire signs and five planets in fixed signs associated with this Full Moon, I was reminded an incident associated with my friend Peter Elayakim Taussig. Two notable things about Elayakim that pertain to this incident: between ages 2 and 5 he was in hiding from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia during WWII, and he is a concert pianist turned composer turned author.
The incident took place in September 2011. I was staying with him and his wife, Yatri, in their home a couple hours outside New York City. When the Twin Towers fell, Elyakim was in a building across the street from the World Trade Center recording a Bach concerto.
Like déjà vu, he found himself in hiding, underneath a desk, wondering if war had broken out and if he could keep himself safe. It was many hours before Yatri and I had news from him. Late in the afternoon, after wading ankle deep in ash, he made his way to a train station and had boarded a train towards home.
Three days later, at breakfast, he said he was heading back to the city to complete the recording. I was shocked. I asked if he was under a deadline. No, he wasn't. I told him there was so much trauma, death and ruin at “Ground Zero” and suggested he might want to keep some distance from it - perhaps wait another week. He responded, "What would you have me do? I am an artist. I create. This is what I do."
He then began telling me about a book he was reading on the life of Michelangelo. One chapter described a sculpture Michelangelo was wanting to complete that required a certain type of marble. The marble had not been able to arrive because Italy was at war and there was an embargo on ships coming in and out of ports. Unable to wait any longer, Michelangelo stormed the papal office at the Vatican and demanded that the pope take action so that the marble was delivered. The pope slammed his fist on the desk and said, “Michelangelo, there are more important matters at stake.”
Without missing a beat, Michelangelo raised his hand high in the air and retorted, “No, there are not!”
Elayakim paused. Then looking at me square in the eye, he said, “There were 8 popes during Michelangelo’s lifetime. Can you name one of them? Italy was embroiled in 3 different wars during his life. Do you know about any of those wars? Ah, but you know of Michelangelo’s David, yes?...So, I go play Bach!”
In this spirit of Elyakim, we are encouraged to give voice to our heart’s desire rather than give so much weight to current troubles that may be stirring anxiety, worry or feelings of powerlessness. More than ever, we are prompted to generously express the love, joy, inspiration and sense of play that the Sun, Moon and Venus exemplify in the sign of Leo.
The Aquarian Moon in opposition to the planets in Leo points to a dynamic tension. While Leo is personal expression and personal love, Aquarius is universal love, favoring detached objectivity with the intention of understanding the big picture and formulating a vision for what will serve the collective.
This Full Moon reminds us it is not just about expressing our spontaneity, joy and creative spirit, but about doing it in service to something larger than ourselves.
The thing about Aquarians is that as much as they live in service to the collective, they are often loners marching to the beat a drummer they alone may hear. They are the renegades and nonconformists of the zodiac. Yet, their vision and their actions tend to benefit those around them.
I think again of Elyakim. When nearly everyone in the vicinity of the World Trade Center was focused on meeting the needs of those traumatized, responding to family members who lost loved ones, wrapping their heads around the incredible devastation and need for cleanup, and contemplating how to respond to the source of the attack, Elyakim played Bach.
Now is the opportune time, in the face of prevalent injustice, crimes against humanity, imbalance of power and the threat to all life on our beautiful planet, to give ourselves fully to the joy of life and the beauty that lives within us.
Underlying this New Moon is the signature energy of 2019: a feeling of sweeping change we sense is on the horizon (Saturn/Pluto conjunction) which may have us on edge about what is around the corner. Some of us may say, “How can I be joyful when there are children ripped from their families and dying in detention centers.” Or, “How can I create and affirm beauty when there are more mass shootings in our country than there are days in the year?” Elayikim would say, “How can you not?!”
Some of us may be inspired to head down to the Texas detention centers, to join a nonprofit or even run for office to be directly address and find a solution to what ails us. For others of us who are not so inclined, there is a light that only we can shine to counter the dark forces casting a shadow across our planet. Each person, and the light only they can shine, is needed.
The Full Moon is aligned with "The Painter’s Easel"
This minor constellation is an apt image for the energetics and invitation of this month and Full Moon. We may not be Michelangelo, and many of us are not painters, musicians, activists, or sculptors, but we all create. We create a day, a life. When we meet someone for lunch, we create a conversation. We are always creating.
Our life is a canvas. What are the colors, images we want to spread on this canvas that is a unique expression of what lives in us? And if this canvas were to hang on the wall of a gallery or museum, what would we want it to evoke and inspire in another?
I have only taken a paint brush to canvas two times in my adult life. Both times, I remember staring at a blank canvas feeling something akin to mild panic. I had no idea what to paint. Then, invariably, I began, inspired to use a certain color and see the shape it wanted to make, still not knowing what wanted to be painted. Invariably, at some point, I didn’t like what I had painted. The great thing about paint is that if what I am creating does not make my heart sing, I can just paint over it! Part and parcel of the painting process, mistakes are made and easily reconciled. Once the overall design of the painting took shape, then came the intricate and time-consuming task of tending to the detail. This meticulous work will come later in August when the personal planets move into Virgo. Then, we can give rein to the meticulous. For now, we are to just paint, using broad and bold strokes to light our world with color and our version of the beauty we wish to see.
Key Words to Foster: Innovation and Dedication
The July 30 New Moon stoked the fire in our hearts, stirred enthusiasm, joy and creativity. With the Full Moon and 4 other planets in fixed signs, we are prodded to sustain that fire with dedicated effort. If we imagine building a campfire, Aries would be the ignition, the spark that gets the fire going. Tending the fire and have it burn in a sustained way to offer its warmth and light to those around, this is domain of the fixed fire of Leo.
Dedicated effort is further emphasized by the square asteroid Vesta makes to the Full Moon. Vesta is the Sacred Fire and refers to the Vestal Virgins who were devoted to the tending the sacred fire of Rome. Each gave a commitment of celibacy and thirty years of service to this effort. It was believed that if the fire went out, all Rome would burn. Similarly, we can look to the fire we tend that gives our life meaning and depth and our willingness to set aside some personal desire or immediate gratification to give ourselves fully to this great task.
Innovation is emphasized by the square between Mercury (mind) and Uranus (The Awakener). We may feel emboldened to speak some deep truth. We may have flashes of insight and discover creative solutions to issues that have perplexed us. Our mind may feel on fire with some idea, conversation, or opportunity. After Mercury’s sojourn through Cancer and its retrograde last month, we are ready to think bigger, speak courageously, and entertain something that we previously felt not quite up to. We are more likely to think, “Yes, I can. Why not? And I dare anyone who says otherwise.”
As we get closer to the end of August, Mars heads into Virgo, followed by the Sun, Venus and finally Mercury. The expansive and creative energy we are currently feeling will turn into a more focused, methodical approach to enacting plans and giving legs to what has been generated during this time. More on this in the next post when the New Moon is in Virgo on September 30.
For now, we are to give free rein to create, to bringing forth the gift only we can bring. No war, no religion, no political or familial tension is powerful enough to prevent us from generously offering our light to brighten an ever-darkening world. Together, let's paint the world in living color.