My friend Alice called me late one Friday afternoon. “I thought you’d be on your way to happy hour,” I said; it was her usual Friday post-work ritual to go for drinks with her co-workers. “Nah,” she said. “Ramona will be there.” Alice and Ramona had once been close friends, but the relationship soured when they became rivals for a coveted sales position in their company. In a twist that proved fortuitous for Ramona, Alice had been reprimanded (falsely, she insisted) for making a costly mistake. The sales position went to Ramona. Alice strongly suspected her rival had undermined her, but eventually decided to let bygones be bygones.
“I thought you’d sorted all that out,” I said.
“I thought I had, too. But lately, every time I look at her, all I can think is, ‘It’s bad enough that I have to work with her everyday, I’m not gonna drink with her, too!'”
The Aug. 11, 2022 Full Moon (6:36 pm PDT) is in Aquarius, a sign that represents casual friendships and group affiliations based on shared interests. We shake Aquarius’ convivial hand when we head off for Friday night drinks with co-workers, serve on the board of our local astrological organization, or bake cookies for a fundraiser. Some of us are “group” people—Aquarian by nature—and some of us are less so. But few of us can escape the web of sociability altogether.
The Aquarius Full Moon falls in the height of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s typically the time of year when we celebrate simple, sociable connections with others – a neighborhood cookout, an afternoon at the beach, or yes, happy hour with work friends. But this Full Moon chart is connected with Mars, the planet of competition, war, and aggression; Saturn, lord of restraint and boundaries; and Uranus, which craves freedom and independence. Frustration has been building since the Leo New Moon, cresting at the volatile July 31-August 1 conjunction of Mars, Uranus, and the Moon’s North Node. So in order to do what’s needed to maintain vibrant and satisfying social connections, we’ll have to pay alms to several frustrated planets as well.
In recent weeks, perhaps you’ve found yourself embroiled in some nasty social media disputes, testy interchanges with co-workers or customers, or – like Alice – found some old anger hidden deep in a dark corner of your psychic sock drawer. The embers of ancient disputes are often rekindled during Mars times, and the resulting conflagrations tend to emit noxious fumes. Mars may lately have taken hold of some group to which you belong, stirring a bubbling cauldron of harsh language and bitter rivalry; even if you manage to rise above the fray and call for a cease-fire, you can find yourself in hot water.
But in-group fighting doesn’t have to mean the end of valuable alliances. From time to time, all groups need to clear the air. Tensions build up; misunderstandings are swept under the rug; resentments fester. Just because traditionally “Aquarian” relationships tend to be optional ones doesn’t mean that they’re not important, or not worth the effort of working through the occasional rough patch. This is a Full Moon for reopening old business, settling some scores, and closing the books on enmity once and for all. But to do this well requires that we harness Mars’ best qualities: courage, and commitment to a fair fight.
The Sun and Moon connect with Saturn and Uranus at this Full Moon as well, exacerbating the Mars frustration factor and providing fertile ground for extreme reactions. Part of fighting fair means understanding that some things shouldn’t be taken personally (a tall order when the Sun is moving through Leo), and may simply mean that both parties are under pressure in other areas of life.
Aquarius celebrates collectivism, and at this Full Moon we celebrate ties with our like-minded compatriots. But it’s won’t be an easy, uncomplicated happy hour, or a sunny and congenial Saturday afternoon barbecue. To regain goodwill, productivity, and fraternity, we first need to clean out the dark corners of these relationships and address any conflicts that keep us from working together as a strong, cohesive group. When a group is stronger on the inside, it can achieve broader goals on the outside—so be brave, clear the air, and fight fair.
We can all get our feet on the ground and our hands in the earth at the upcoming Full Moon. Dig up something in your garden that’s overgrown or dead. Or, release old, stuck feelings to Mama Earth for recycling into a hole you have dug. If you work with this lunation consciously, you can jumpstart the process of loosening the bonds of habits that have plagued you for lifetimes.
This Full Moon comes at a desperately trying, heartbreaking, infuriating time.--a good time to remember Martin Luther King declaring in huge, thrilling tones that “the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” Or Bob Dylan’s keening wail: “How does it feel to be on your own, like a complete unknown, with no direction home.” Or John Kennedy’s famous, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Oh, friends, rhetoric and poetry can improve exquisitely upon silence. Let’s not lose their lyrical power to tell important truths so much better than mere hollering.
There is a snake rustling through the grasses of your garden. Something that wishes you ill, that wants you to fail, or just some free-floating spirit of malevolence that takes an impersonal delight in seeing a good person brought low. The work of this lunar eclipse is to stare that serpent down. To summon every unshakable, sensible, life-affirming impulse you possess. To call on that dragon you carry around, just behind your breastbone – the one that breathes fire, straight from your heart.
The Full Moon reminds us that we’re all part of a larger collaboration. That’s why our closest relationships are so important: they help us see past our blind spots. My family and friends were rightly skeptical of my early, bad relationship choices. Their negative thinking was a bummer and I didn’t always appreciate their perspectives. But as it turned out, they were right about what was good for me, and I was wrong.