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Courage Under Pressure

Updated: Dec 14, 2023



Astro Notes for New Moon in Scorpio Cycle (November 13-December 12)


(Note: My apologies for this cycle’s Astro Notes coming out later than usual — I was working last week on an essay about the astrological outlook for the remainder of the decade and it took longer than I expected to complete. If you're interested in that longer-term outlook, you can find that essay here: Navigating the Storm of Global Change: An astrological update.)


Mars is the dominant actor for at least the first half of this extremely intense and volatile monthly cycle. Mars is very strong in its home sign of Scorpio until November 24, bringing an energy of intense focus and determination to get what it wants. The new moon in Scorpio on November 13 was conjunct Mars. The full moon on November 27 is opposite Mars. Sun and Mars move together in a conjunction until the end of the month, meeting in an exact conjunction on November 17-18, initiating a new 2 year Mars cycle (when a planet transits between 0-1 degrees of the Sun, it is known as 'cazimi'). All this Mars energy makes this period extremely enlivening and energizing, but also highly intense, volatile, explosive, and fast-paced.


Mars in its home sign of Scorpio gets to express itself in its pure, unadulterated form. Mars is about our drive, energy, focus, will, and courage. These qualities thus become more easily accessible to us while Mars is in Scorpio. Mars in Scorpio is also strategic and calculating, liking to plan ahead with a sense of great determination to achieve its goals.


The new moon in Scorpio on November 13 was not only conjunct Mars but also opposite Uranus. Uranus is the great awakener, bringing sudden, unexpected developments that disrupt the status quo. Uranus opposite Mars and the new moon created an electrifying but highly unstable energy that could have brought sudden shocking developments. Personally I felt as though I were zapped by a kind of cosmic Zen stick, telling me firmly (but not unlovingly) to ‘wake the bleep up’!




The intensity continued all through the next week, culminating in the Sun-Mars cazimi on November 17 and 18. Mars in the fixed sign of Scorpio tends to stubbornly resist change. But when a planet is exactly conjunct the Sun, it gets a chance to be recharged and renewed. Thus with the Mars cazimi, we have the chance to make a true and powerful change of heart in a way that is conducive to our long-term personal improvement and transformation.


The cazimi also represents the beginning of a new 2 year Sun-Mars cycle, a new hero’s journey in a certain area of our lives (which will be indicated by which house 24 degrees of Scorpio lies in your chart). It can be a good time to set intentions for that journey, with bravery to face into our shadows in that particular area of life and determination to persevere to success (Mars in Scorpio will help with this). The Mars cazimi being in Scorpio does indicate that the 2 year cycle ahead for the world is likely to be extremely intense. (See my essay above though for the surprisingly optimistic turn we can expect in the second half of this decade.)


On a personal level, this transit can be used in very powerful ways to set a positive new direction in our lives. On a collective level, where the expression is often reduced to the lowest common denominator, it indicates the likelihood of extremely challenging events.


By November 23 and 24, when first Sun then Mars move into Sagittarius, the atmosphere of searing intensity and focused directionality will noticeably shift. Sagittarius is the rebirth — the resurrection — that takes place after our intense encounter with death during Scorpio season. Something in us died over the last four weeks, and now we get a chance to be reborn, with renewed energy and optimism. A spirit of hope can be rekindled, along with the possibility of a new adventure and an expansion in our horizons.


There is a constraint, however, to our sense of freedom because when Sun and Mars enter Sagittarius, both will be in a tight square to Saturn in Pisces. We may experience a sense of emotional heaviness that dampens our enthusiasm, a frustrating limit placed on our desire to expand. Not so fast, the universe seems to be saying, yet more maturity and reality-testing is needed before we can come fully up for air.


This dynamic comes to a head at the full moon in Gemini on November 27. With the full moon in Gemini, there is an emphasis on gathering facts, data, information. The media may be in the spotlight, with new facts emerging that illuminate the truth of a situation. But the full moon is opposite Mars in Sagittarius, a sign not shy of bloviating opinions based less on facts than religious or ideological dogma. So this period could see a clash between those voices calling attention to facts and those aggressively opining dogmatic belief. While we might easily observe this dynamic playing out in the wider world, it may be more challenging to acknowledge how it takes place between different parts of our own psyche.


The full moon in Gemini is also square to Saturn, which could manifest in the world as further attempts to censor or control the flow of information in the media and social media, as well as potential limitations on the freedom to travel or freedom of speech. On an individual level, we are being asked to show discipline and to reality-test our ideas before spouting off (for American readers — if only this had come before Thanksgiving).




On December 5, Neptune turns direct. Since June (when Neptune went retrograde), we’ve faced some harsh realities and ideally dealt with them head-on. Now with Neptune moving forward again in Pisces, we get to allow our consciousness to expand once again into the realm of day-dreams, visions, fantasies, and intuitions about our future. Our faith and spirituality can deepen, and we can more easily access the healing balm of universal compassion—a blessed and necessary comfort as we continue to navigate intensely choppy waters.

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