Has anyone here seen Jonathan Demme’s emotional slugfest Rachel Getting Married? What about any of Noah Baumbach’s movies which so aptly chronicle dysfunctional families in bohemian Brooklyn brownstones? If you haven’t gotten around to these studies in resentment and uneasy reconciliation, no worries: the Zodiac will be staging its own family drama between Mum (Moon) and Dad (Sun) on the 17th of January. That’s when we have a highly emotional Full Moon in Cancer opposing the Sun and mysterious Pluto in Capricorn. It could be a tear-jerker of a transit for us. Why?
A few reasons, really. The first has to do with the nature of Full Moons in general. Technically all Full Moons represent an astrological kerfuffle between maternal/Moon and paternal/Sun vibes since they occur when the two planets are diametrically opposed to each other in the sky in relation to Earth. This opposition prompted suspicion among Ancient Astrologers who went so far as to view any loggerheads solar/lunar energy (oppositions, squares, or conjunctions) as an inauspicious placement generating strife.
Of all these placements, though, the Full Moon transit was the most problematic, as it was said to lead to strange sublunar behavior—people going mad, lunacy, reversals of fortune, accidents, etc. Even today amongst police departments and emergency medical personnel, it’s the common sentiment that Full Moons are the busiest times of the month, despite statistical studies that forever tsk tsk the felt truth of our feelings with boring facts.
There is, then, a kind of inherent cosmic tension between maternal and paternal energies on Full Moons. What's more, however, they tend to boost our maternal side. Indeed the Moon is the emotional centre of our chart. When well placed, it stands for depth of feeling, maternal care, nourishment, and tenderness. As the Moon waxes each month toward its culmination, these qualities increase, and we, like the tides, are pulled by the power of this maternal qua lunar force.
Full Moons, in general, then, are emotional times, but the one on January 18th will be particularly so. It will be cresting in sensitive Cancer, the sign it rules. When a ruling planet is in its sign, both entities get super-charged, amplifying each other, like feedback or resonance in the acoustic world. Since the Crab is characterised by the feminine, the maternal, and the transitory, we should prepare ourselves for a double dose of feelings on this Full Moon. About what?
We should bring Pluto into the mix to answer this question. Along with the Sun, Pluto will be opposing the Moon on the 18th. Mythologically Pluto or Hades governs the Underworld. Its function is to bury, conceal, or hide away. It lays unpleasant memories, uncomfortable truths, or darker thoughts deep in the ground of our psyche. It's subterranean but, interestingly, it can also uncover hidden treasures of self-understanding or insight.
Given that the Full Moon is brightest at its peak, we will be experiencing a contrast between light and dark energies--Plutonic and lunar. More specifically, the 18th might be thought of as a day to shine light into recesses of our hearts concealed by Pluto. It’s a transit to confront, look at, or come to terms with issues that we may keep underground particularly around the mother and father.
Moon+Cancer+Pluto, in particular, could manifest as emotional release, outpouring, or catharsis–bringing secrets, baggage, or hang-ups into the open with Mom. Speaking to or thinking about her might be a way to find inner calm and understanding.
Because you could also be feeling Cancer-sensitive, have some compassion for Dad. The Capricorn Sun, ruled by Saturn, isn’t the most warm and you could over-react to perceived slights from paternal figures.
Another possible manifestation of this Full Moon could be that you feel uncomfortably lodged between long standing Father/Mother dynamics in real life.
A few simple ways to deal with the Full Moon. First, talking with a friend as you walk by moonlight, if you’re feeling weighty. Second, mothering yourself. Have a self-care routine on hand. Cancer governs the sea, rivers, but also spas. Check one out for a sense of comfort and immersion: Crab energy is about feeling at home near water. Third, don't need to wander far from your hearth on the Full Moon. Instead wrap yourself in a blanket for comfort, while watching Mike Leigh’s “Secret and Lies,’ a very Plutonic film about a family digging deep into the past to move forward.
One of the most underrated cards in Tarot is “The 6 of Swords,” which depicts a mother and child in a boat crossing a choppy river with smoother water in the distance. Their backs are to the viewer and there are no belongings on board. The card is about letting go of something. If, like the mother and child, we can leave some sort of emotional cargo behind, it’ll have been a worthwhile Full Moon transit.