The degree of this Aries Full Moon (20.14 Aries) falls on the Sabian Symbol, A pugilist enters the ring – so even before looking at the Full Moon chart, we know the coming weeks will be marked by conflict, competition, and courage.
But that chart paints a full, stark portrait, with the Sun and Moon at 20.14 Libra and Aries, both square Pluto at 20.39 Capricorn. The collective social fabric – the Sun in Libra – is strained to tearing by the emerging needs of individuals (Moon in Aries); it’s time for a frank evaluation of what we’ve built together and whether it can survive.
Some relationships are toxic, unmendable ships that should be abandoned. Others are simply floundering a bit, undermined by each partner clinging to the satisfaction of making the other person wrong and themselves right. Ask your friends for relationship advice, and you’ll nearly always get a response that takes your side and encourages you to look out for yourself. But is that always the right approach?
Recently, I rewatched Ken Burns’ terrific documentary about the Roosevelts. A contemporary woman, I got angrier and angrier as the topic turned to FDR’s betrayal of his wife, Eleanor, with her own personal secretary. After his affair, theirs was more a political alliance than a marriage. But Eleanor never wavered in her public support of her husband, even after his death.
Considering the situation through modern eyes, I’d have rallied her to kick his cheating ass to the curb. But Eleanor had her reasons for staying, chief of which was that she believed her husband was America’s best hope for surviving the Great Depression and later WWII. The political reality of 1930s America meant that a divorce would have cost us everything this formidable political team did for us at a critical moment in history.
So she stayed, but she also made herself into a political force in her own right. A Libra with Venus square Pluto, she fought to have her own life and succeeded in making her individual mark on history. She didn’t have the marriage she’d hoped for – was grievously wronged, and had every right to claim the role of victim. Instead, after FDR’s death, she showed the depth of her respect for him—and for herself—when she wrote,
All human beings have failings. All human beings have needs and temptations and stresses. Men and women who live together through long years get to know one another’s failings, but they also come to know what is worthy of respect and admiration in those they live with, and in themselves. If at the end one can say, ‘This man used to the limit the powers that God granted him, he was worthy of love and respect, and of the sacrifices many people made in order that he might achieve what he deemed to be his task,’ then that life has been lived well. There are no regrets.
The Roosevelt marriage is an extreme case, and few of us must decide between our self-respect and a man who has been charged with rescuing an entire country. But all long-term relationships are a high-wire act of helping someone else live their best life without abandoning your own. It’s tricky work, and even the best-matched partners erupt from time to time over old hurts and resentments. This Full Moon squares the Moon’s South Node, symbolizing the need to release old patterns; in order for relationships to work, each partner has to be willing to let go of having their own way, must temper their ambitions. Every relationship requires that, to some extent, we sublimate our individual needs and hurts. This demands some complex algebra to calculate whether or not that is a sacrifice that we’re prepared to make, or even capable of making—and whether the relationship has earned such a sacrifice.
Romantic partnerships are by no means the only relationships that require this kind of calculation. Perhaps a close friend has suffered a tragic loss or a deliriously joyful life event. Most of us expect a fair and balanced give-and-take in our friendships, but there are times when, owing to extraordinary situations and a solid history of reciprocity, one or the other is granted tacit dispensation to dominate the conversation. Balance must eventually be restored, of course. But even the most equitable of relationships weathers occasional periods of inequality.
Relationships are a balancing act, and the Libran scales are rarely equally balanced. Often, balance is achieved sequentially, with first one person getting more support, then the other. Also, as a wise friend once observed, you can’t always expect another person to give the same things to a relationship that you give; you can only expect that they give all that they have to give.
Still, there is only so much we can give to another person while our own needs go unfulfilled. At one point do we fight back in defense of our own dignity? At what point has the relationship become impossibly one-sided? Aries energy serves a vital function of honoring and defending your right to be who you are. For some, this dynamic Full Moon will be a wake-up call to leave a relationship that is irretrievably broken; you cannot stay where there is no respect or no sense of shared purpose.
But for many of us, in generally solid relationships, it may simply be time to let go of the delicious grievances that allow us to shift some of the blame for the state of our lives onto someone else. This Full Moon reminds us that there are times when we have to let go of the need to make someone else wrong, and instead, appreciate what is right about both of us.