New moons are times to bend back, root down, reflect and prepare before launching. In this week’s new moon in Scorpio, that backbend also means visiting the dead and reviewing what’s passed into the underground. William Blake writes, “joy impregnates and sorrow brings forth,” and before the bliss of conception, there’s the thrilling angst of courtship; awakening worlds of want and need that lie dormant. This week personifies those awakenings as a torch singer in a silk gown behind two black veils, taking us on a tour of bloody carcasses in the back alley behind the stage. She sits on top of each corpse, arousing and resurrecting them. Some of these bodies are nice; some nasty, even evil. The sultry singer tells us if we’re serving her and walking along, we can request particular desire-carcasses for her to rejuvenate, and also tell her which ones to sidestep, knowing they’ll go around killing everyone if she brings them to life.
Scorpio new moons are for confronting the shadows with grit, honesty and spicy mischief, as well as planting the seeds of intuition in the ground to manifest the future aims we’re currently hiding or leaving unsaid. This especially relates to how we transform the way we use our power so that it serves life-giving desires instead of those that have rotted into greed and cruelty. This week, then, leads us into that intensive seed-planting by readying the soil and clearing out the weeds. What desires are unwilling to budge, and which ones are ready to rejuvenate by being flexible about the time and place in which their demands are met? These are signature questions of a Scorpio new moon.
But it’s a little different every time. This is, after all, a year when plutocratic politics and national nightmares, and infections, too, descend upon the populace in an escalating rhythm. Echoing these fearsome events, 2020’s dark moon in Scorpio coincides with its ambassador, Mars, stationing direct, and a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto. Mars is determined in Scorpio and impulsive in Aries, the sign where he’s currently backing up to retrace his steps and then launching himself farther like a slingshot slathered in crude oil. Mars’ fresh forward motion gives our week, and this new moon, a martial flare: we are warlike, raging, lusting for flesh and battle. Asteroid goddess Pallas Athena underscores this bloodthirsty vibe, striding forward in Capricorn right along with Jupiter and Pluto.
An exceptional myth from Ovid retells the births of Mars, god of war, and Athena, goddess of wisdom, in a way that bears some relevant lessons for the week. Jupiter mates with Metis (Thought) and swallows her for fear that their offspring will overthrow him. Before long, Athena—strategy, justice, wise council— springs out of his thinking head. Meanwhile, Hera, furious with Jupiter for conceiving the goddess of wisdom without her, storms through mountains, oceans and hells, searching for a drug to relieve her anguish, before finally begging Flora for an antidote. Flora plucks a flower from her garden and touches Hera with it, and—ping!—the goddess of marriage conceives Mars. Athena’s birth from Jupiter tells of liberated sovereignty born of the intellect as well as the clarifying thought born of passionate choice. Mars, on the other hand, born of Hera’s distress touched by a potent flower, tells us of the growth found when we bitterly walk away from seeing clever thought alone as the supreme power.
This tale is relevant because mythologically, both representatives of war, Athena and Mars, resonate strongly in the week’s celestial and social events. Pallas Athena embodies the strategic side of war; Mars is the inflamed passion in bloodshed. Whereas Athena wants war as a process of differentiating the sovereign powers of mind that form justice, Mars wants the swelling of courage and determination in the breast. In their most elevated expressions, Athena and Mars together would carry us forward into the majestic courts of boldness and reason. But in 2020, caution is necessary, for conniving dystopia lurks nearby, potentially signaling literal war, with ourselves and each other, on a new scale. The dying weight of corrupt plutocracy can easily convert boldness, reason and an awareness of over-greedy desires into its own likeness, feeding a sadistic parasite that drains our ability to live spontaneously on our own terms. What is Ovid’s tale of the births of Athena and Mars about, if not the integrity of self-sovereign choice and emotional spontaneity nourished by nature’s fragrance? Both births demonstrate levels of autonomy in emotions and actions as shown by divine forces traditionally united, needing to give birth to powers they can only create when divided and divorced from the status quo.
These realizations of the week signal that we’re neither stuck in vigilant caution, nor are we slaves to the angry, lusty passions. But navigating the underworld forest of our desires is key so that we can discern which ones have become toxic minefields through their inflexibility or greed. Can we listen to the clearest thoughts that rise up from big-picture stillness, and also to the instincts to turn away from the authorities we normally depend on to make our choices? Can we go inward, feeling the spoiled circumstances that no longer bring fulfillment of desire the way they did in the past, and ask nature for a gift? Can we starve the parasites that feed off of terror, rage and control? That is where sovereignty lies—buried underneath the trauma of false idols and expired orders.