The Circle and The Line - January's Full Moon in Cancer and The Cardinal Cross

Cancer and Capricorn are the proverbial parents of the zodiac. Both cardinal signs (meaning they begin a season,) these two are the polarity of the circle and the line. Capricorn, where the sun currently resides, is boundaried, stoic, stern, disciplined, ambitious and strategic. Warm, nurturing, familial, and empathic, Cancer, Capricorn’s opposite, rules the hearth and home. The moon in Cancer is in its own home and would like nothing better than to cuddle up cozy… but the astrology for Thursday’s full moon in Cancer is anything but.

The sun and moon occupying two opposing signs defines a full moon. This week the sun is also conjunct Pluto. Pluto has been in Capricorn since late 2008 and is slowly but surely bringing systematic transformation to systems of governance: in our countries, in our families, and in our bodies (Capricorn rules the bones, joints, skin and teeth – if you have strong Saturn/Capricorn influence in your chart I’m willing to bet you’ve been dealing with some kind of long-standing issue in one of these areas.) The Pluto in Capricorn era (2008-2024) will be one remembered for how it broke down all the barriers before it built them back again. Those of us with strong Saturn or Capricorn influences can attest to the trials the last eight years have brought. As we look forward to the next eight we can feel the profound enormity of what has been unearthed and changed, and what still has yet to surface.

The moon opposite Pluto and the sun forms the fourth point to what is called a Grand Cross, and/or a Grand Square. This configuration occurs when all four signs of the same zodiacal quality have planets moving through at the same degrees. The sun and moon are each respectively at 22° of Capricorn and Cancer (Pluto is at 17° Cap) while Jupiter is currently at 22° Libra opposite Uranus at 20° Aries.

This is an incredibly dynamic configuration. Four points opposing each other in Cardinal signs (think initiatory, aggressive, and intentional) form a structure of stability like gridlock. The two oppositions highlight a push/pull quality that either cooperate or antagonize. The full moon is just over a week away from inauguration weekend and if you’ve been following the news you know that the Trump administration is already one is inspiring gridlock and antagonization. This full moon and the coming two weeks are a time when there is the potential for a huge amount of movement and change to happen (think about the nature of a square, if you somehow get it up onto one if it’s points it can shift its alignment quickly,) but for that change to happen there has to be willingness of the opposing sides to combine forces.

While this kind of change is highly improbable in the US government (and given the circumstances we should probably hope that drastic change is not what's coming,) it is not at all impossible for you and whatever you’re trying to work through. Your horoscopes this week are affirmations of potential and prayers for breakthroughs. I know that you are working hard right now and I love you and thank you for it. Let's all keep showing up for each other when and where we can. Let's consider saving our fighting energy for where we really need it and resisting the urge to fight what/who is close by and easy to snap at. 

Learn more about the astrology for the Cancer full moon and coming two weeks by listening to the podcast.

Resist the urge to box yourself in and remember Cancer’s lessons of feeling and practice this meditation with me.

Are you interested in participating in community through shared dialogue, peer support, and a task-based approach to embodying ethics and creativity? Check out Doing Theory, an experimental, online learning community and expanded network of artists, activists, and seekers of a better, more equitable future. This year our topic is Learning To Love More. We are exploring the contemporary ethics of nonviolence through collaborative learning, personal practices and direct actions.

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These horoscopes are written partially as affirmations. Affirmative thinking and speaking are a form of magic that works through magnetism. If your horoscope affirmation resonates with you, print it out and place it somewhere visible for the next two weeks. Repeat it to yourself often and notice how the magic works. I suggest reading horoscopes for both your sun and rising signs. If you’re interested in a more personalized approach to your astrology you can schedule a reading here.

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Especially lately I’ve had to regularly remind myself about the nature of evolution and progress. I’ve found it helpful to remember the timeline of human innovation vs the timeline of Earth’s ages. In comparison to what has been, it’s totally miraculous that we are where we are. Our human lifespans don’t support a very expansive perspective however, and it’s easy to get caught up in frustration and urgency. It’s easy to give in to fears that we’re moving backwards, or that the future we want is impossible.

To remember this kind of perspective means a necessity of appreciation for change. It means an appreciation for disruption and upheaval, and a recognition that balance is always a conversation between mobility and stability, never a fixed point. To remember this kind of perspective takes the weight off of you personally. It means that you see yourself as part of time, and part of much larger forces that transform elements and shift environments.

This full moon, this month and this year, are all about building your courage. This courage is the kind it takes to put yourself ‘out there’ regardless of the fear of criticism… and really in spite of it, because no matter what you do, someone will find a fault, and that’s true no matter where you are or what you’re doing. This courage is the kind that accepts the impact of your personal decisions while remembering that the world will forget you in an instant. This courage is the kind that recognizes legacy as a continuum of vibration; as a note in the melody but not the whole song. Your full moon affirmation is, “I am grateful for what is unknown and what has shifted. Through this state of change I know myself more.”

This full moon has something to say about getting a grip. It has something to recognize about taking control of your mind. It has something to realize about internal steadiness and external stimulation. Remember that only you can decide where you focus. Only you can resolve to attend to the details that only you are responsible for. Only you can soothe your fears. Only you can know what you know, and only you can decide whether or not that’s enough.

This full moon is a learning moment. It is a moment of revelation. It is a moment of illumination. What has been quietly shifting and churning in the invisible recesses of your subconscious is manifesting as new habits. So trust them. The ways you have been humbled, and have willingly humbled yourself, are ready to be seen now as strength. So feel it. The line between teacher and student has become a circle, and there are no longer the same needs for deference and apology. So own it.

Let death and darkness be a comfort. Let the nature of what is unknown be a reminder of possibility and a doorway for magic to move through. Let yourself forget, and remember, and forget again. When your thoughts are loud, circular and distracting – remember the sound of your breath. See through your peripheral gaze. Hear the tone underneath the words. Feel the essence under the expectations. Your full moon mantra is, “Everything is revealed in its own time. I trust the richness of experience that comes from not knowing. I relax my need for answers and enjoy the questions.”

This full moon is a good time to consider the nature of possession. It is a good time to observe your attachments and convictions. It is an excellent time to examine your drive to attain and to achieve. Many people confuse their identities with ownership of objects. Many make the mistake of thinking their achievements will create a lasting legacy. In some ways that aren’t insignificant this is true. But in other ways that are more important, objects and achievements are meaningless. Especially when they are collected without reverence. Especially when hunger is never satisfied.

This full moon illuminates the nature of wanting. It emanates a lusty yearning for something that you can bring to the bank. This full moon lights up the part of your heart that wants satisfaction and security, but in doing so it also reveals the ways you cling and grasp. This full moon is a chorus of promises and a dance of detachment. This full moon is a signal to love what is here to love and to let go of the future.

The kind of change you are working with wants you to reap the benefits of anticipation. Your job now is to feel the potential and let go of the outcome. The pleasure of present experiences can’t determine your future, but it can determine your future fantasies, and give you fodder for fueling them into existence. Sometimes the wanting is better than the having. Sometimes the connections we make through desire are never meant to form concrete realities, but instead serve to light the fire of ambition and conviction. Your full moon affirmation is, “I am absolutely worthy of all that I desire.”

Often we think of caring as soft, sweet, and cuddly. But care can, and should, sometimes take the form of discipline and restraint. Often we think of nurturing as giving another what they desire. But nurturing can, and should, also include giving another what they need. As the symbol of the mother, and primary caregiver, your sign is one that is known for its capacity to care, to bond, to protect, and to defend. Cancer’s objective is to feel and to be felt. It is the sign associated with the language of emotions and the earliest imprints we have of what it means to be connected and safe.

This full moon brings awareness to the issue of balance between self and other. It calls attention to the ways you extend care and asks if you have what you need to continue. If you’ve been giving and not receiving, this is the time to acknowledge it. If your instinct for allowance has made space for abuse, this is the time to set a boundary. If you’ve been making changes and standing up for yourself more, this is the time to prove that you mean it.

The way you do relationships is transforming and must transform. This means that you must come to understand your own power and capacity in relating and draw back from the places where you’ve been overcompensating for anyone else’s laziness. This means that you make decisions that serve your own future and let others figure it out for themselves. This means that you are brave enough to go home alone. This means that you recognize your own company as a treat, not a trade-off, and it means that you love yourself first.

This is a full moon for you to commit to being 100% with you. No matter what anyone else is doing. No matter what kind of change that might bring. Remember that the future you want is dependent upon being the person who believed you could have it. Your full moon affirmation is, “My heart is powerful and bright. I attract partners and friends who value me and are pleased to pleasure me. I love fully and am fully loved.”

Discipline. Determination. Dedication. Do it once. Do it twice. Do it again. Get up. Do it again. Keep showing up for the tasks you’ve asked for. Keep showing up for the ones you haven’t but which asked for you. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and look back if you need to but don’t backtrack. Finish what you can finish and let it be done. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, let it be good enough. Don’t worry about regret, trust the future. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.

I know your mind is feeling tired and full. I know you are at your capacity. I know you just want a break. Don’t worry. Your worry takes the time you don’t have, the energy you don’t have, the attention you don’t have. Your worry is useless – it is the future that you can’t know; it is another’s choice not yours; it is the timing of everything involved, not just your calendar. Don’t worry about what you can’t take in, just keep attending to what you’ve begun. And trust…

This full moon glows with the heat of frustration and unseen effort. It is the productive churning of internal forces shaping a future you can’t see. This full moon is a reminder that all the great finished products, projects, and finish lines didn’t arise from nothing. It is a reminder that testing, trying, and failing are what makes success. This full moon is an invitation to forgive yourself for all that hasn’t happened yet. This full moon is a proclamation of faith, and a dedication to practice.

Your affirmation is, “I trust the instincts that have led me to this point. I trust my choices. I trust my commitments. I am absolutely unwavering and determined.”

The last few years have been a gradual but determined progression towards Life. Not just life in terms of what happens, and the fact that you are in it right now. But Life as in the choice and the responsibility. In some key ways you have gone from being a participant to being an author, from taking what you could get to taking what you want. And like everything in life, there are always checks and balances. The intensity of focus that is required for leadership means that what’s peripheral gets obscured; the tenacity of decisive empowerment can also mean that receptivity is forgotten.

This full moon is a reminder of the bigger picture. It is the call of your future. It is the communities and collectives you are held by. This full moon wants you to remember that the individuals are never really alone. It wants you to remember that the performer needs the audience, before the audience the needs the performer.

Something that will serve you well right now is contentment. If what you have right now isn’t enough, than nothing ever will be, no matter what it is. To be content is also to accept – that your expression is valuable, that your output is admirable, that the examples you set are inspiring, that the attention you give is enough. Don’t hold yourself hostage to yesterday’s ambition. Part of what it means to be human is to evolve. If you can appreciate the desires that got you here, then you can appreciate how many others and what kinds of circumstances have aided in the journey. Don’t be so consumed with what isn’t yet that you fail to appreciate what is. Your full moon affirmation is, “I give thanks for all that I have. I have plenty. I offer everything I do now for the benefit and happiness of all.”

The nature of control is a paradox. When we try to control others, we end up being wardens – constantly vigilant and mistrusting another’s adherence and intent. When we try to control our environments we become neurotic and fearful. If we are overly controlling with ourselves and don’t allow for periodic indulgence, we cease to enjoy anything. To control something is to imprison it, to dictate its growth, to restrict its freedom. When we exert control upon another, we agree to to monitor them, and therefore lose the opportunity to pursue our own freedoms. Very often, the measures we take to ensure our own safety and comfort end up being exactly what makes us feel unsafe and unmet. That said, discipline gives way to freedom, boundaries provide confirmation, and restriction builds strength.

Your full moon chart is the image of the open palm. It is the promise that if you let something go and it stays, it’s yours. But if it leaves, it was never yours to begin with. This full moon speaks to the abundant generosity you know you are capable of – that you can give to others, and that you can give to yourself. It is reassurance that you don’t need to hold so tightly now, that you can relax, breathe, and enjoy. It is the remembering of rich emptiness and the decision to embrace change.

Where you are going and what you are doing will only be possible with this kind of power. So let yourself have it. Let yourself have the power of letting go. Your full moon affirmation is, “I am competent, clear, and courageous. I am unafraid of the future or past. My heart is open and I am strong.”

What has been gradually shifting underneath the surface is now emerging. This feels something like a splinter or tiny shard of glass which was buried long ago and is now pushing through to the skin in order to come out. There’s pain, but it’s not unproductive. There’s an edge but it’s a good one. You’re now close enough to something that you can see it, and therefore remove it. Sensation which was encompassing but un-locatable before has now become exquisitely focused and the focus overrides the sensation.

Extracting splinters of negativity, fear, and control takes time and discipline. It is a process of systematically sorting through your vocabulary of innate instincts and learned responses. It is a daily decision to choose health and sustainability, especially in the moments when destruction satisfies your immediate desire for intensity.

How you are transforming your mind right now has everything to do with increasing your capacity to be caring, and to allow yourself to be cared for. Understanding care and nurturance as a guiding philosophy is an agreement you make to be honest with yourself about your own projections and assumptions as to what caring should look like. If your version of care holds you or anyone else hostage to living in ways that aren’t authentic, then it’s not the kind of care that will ultimately serve you. Your full moon affirmation is, “I see the ways my beliefs shape my actions. I take responsibility for my present and future current condition. My mental capacity is enriched with faith.”

What sustains and nourishes you? How do you set up your life to get those things? How do you maintain them? How do you integrate and embody them? What brings you personal joy? What of your own joy becomes an offering for others? The next year continues on the trajectory you’ve been on for quite some time now. Themes of sustenance, sustainability, and satisfaction are front and center. You know that there are basic needs that must be met and beyond that you know that you need to feel alive. You know that the ways you earn and bring value into your life have to align with something larger. You know that who you are and what you love isn’t separate from the welfare of those you care about.

The ways you are transforming your own values and priorities have started to manifest in the outer world. No longer just frustrations and daydreams, your ponderings on empowered earning possibilities have begun to create new forms and structures for you to work with. This full moon brings a reflection of some sort in the area of shared resources. This could be an intimate other, this could be the person who pays you, this could be a familial avenue that wealth (or debt) passes through.

Let any challenges to your creativity, vibrancy, or pleasure only make them stronger. Let any question of your future, or worth to the greater whole serve to inspire further dedication and generosity. The movement in your chart right now suggestions that you have finished the foundation of whatever it is you are building. Don’t be dissuaded if the entire thing isn’t yet done. Look at where you’ve come since last year and consider the power of your intent. Your full moon affirmation is, “I trust there will be enough. I reflect that trust through confidence in my choices, joy in my pleasure, and integrity in my spending.”


Dear Capricorn friend, You’ve got so much going on that this week’s horoscope needed to be one big full moon affirmation: “I see through the veils of my own self-deception. I see the ways I have given myself to others because I was too insecure to give to myself. I see the ways my heart has led me to care for those who couldn’t return my care, but who could show my the power of my own tenderness. I see the ways I have loved and been loved that have healed me, held me, and elevated me.

I see the ways I have trusted, when I had no reason to trust. I see the times when my trust was rewarded just as much as I see the times it was not. I release these demons of the past and see them for what they are: confused humans suffering also. I release these demons of the future and see them for what they are: traps and chains of expectation. I confidently offer myself for accurate reflections through my relations. I know that when I trust my own best intent I will trust the best intent of others.

I give myself fully to the world. I give myself fully to my path. I am an instrument that spirit moves through. How I work is balanced and harmonious. The work I do supports beauty and equanimity. I am content with my work and I trust my inner guidance, even if I don’t always understand it.

Home is a place of freedom. Home is a place of awakening. Home is a place of exploration. I can be myself at home.”

You could title this full moon, “Sorting Through Details to Remember Priority.” Your chart for this moon (which extends its energy through the rest of the month and solidifies motion that will continue through the year) speaks of the balance between instinct and action, between what is learned and what is taught.

It’s true that there are no original ideas, and it’s true that that the universe is contained within the smallest pieces. Right now you are learning that huge and complex sensations express themselves in your simplest tasks, like the ways you care for your surroundings and attend to your chores. Right now you are learning that Knowledge is something to be remembered, and Learning is a gesture of devotion. Right now you are bearing witness to the ways that everything in its completeness has to reside in everything in its fragmentation. Right now you are transforming the ocean, and seeing how it shifts the sand.

Take note of the details that draw your attention. Remember that nothing is what it seems. Remember that blessings live in the mundane.

The circle and the line. The all and the nothing. You are this.

Let the the singular tasks remind you of cumulative power. Let the chores be an offering to future generations. Let each trial and test remind you that success is an internal state, not a reward.

Your full moon affirmation is, “I care for everything as I wish to be cared for.”

My teacher Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen often says, “Support precedes movement.” Over the years, the meaning of this phrase has shifted for me: At one point I focused on the meaning through my body as I realized that no amount of muscular strength would replace the clarity of my skeleton, and that without alignment in my bones my muscles would never be free to move with their greatest ease and capacity. At another point the meaning of this phrase was familial as I realized that layers of myself had been frozen in the times when I didn’t have the parental support to move past my own fear. Yet another moment of understanding occurred with a love as I felt how small acts of trustworthiness had cumulated over time into faith.

This full moon reflects the necessity of support underneath movement. It is a recognition of the ways we are held close so that we can journey far. It is a sensation of communal togetherness that allows for delight at individual expression. It is trusting that the power of authenticity can open doors of possibility. It is a commitment to inner light that manifests in future warmth.

This full moon wants you to see the support of your passion. It wants you to indulge in, and be nourished by, true love for what you create. This could be your art, this could be your progeny, this could be a moment of attraction that builds into the heat of desire. Your full moon affirmation is, “I am supported by my own interest and enjoyment. I see what I have made and know it is valuable. Whatever I give my attention to grows in strength and potency.”