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New Moon in Cancer 2023: Alchemizing Grief

On Monday, July 17, at 11:31am Pacific, we have a new moon at 24°55 Cancer. Opposite Pluto in Capricorn and square the lunar nodes, this is a momentous moon. It's deeply initiatory — much more so than any other lunation this year — because this day marks the start of an 18-month nodal journey with cardinal signs Aries and Libra.

But it's also a closing. As the lunar nodes shift out of Taurus and Scorpio, we're ending a chapter of evolution that tested our attachments, our longings, our desire for control. Pluto's involvement in this lunation is the punctuation mark, emphasizing the importance of this moment, and reminding us of the shadow material we've dug up throughout this journey.

Below, I'll share the major themes of this lunation from my perspective, along with a three-card tarot pull to root us in the energy for the next two weeks and beyond. But first, here's a New Moon in Cancer playlist to sway to as you read.

The final lessons of North Node in Taurus and South Node in Scorpio

Many of us have experienced excruciating change since January 2022, when the lunar nodes officially entered Taurus and Scorpio. I say "excruciating" because the fixed signs are not known for their fondness of change. It challenges the sacred structures they've built their lives within — the material and immaterial constants they've relied upon to make sense of the world.

But the combination of Taurus-Scorpio eclipses and Uranus in Taurus has created a ripple effect of instability the past 18 months, putting the fixies in deep contact with their base instincts — and asking them to respond differently. The analogy that comes to mind is the plucking of a guitar string, which sends a reverberation down the neck of the instrument, creating a ripple of sound from within. You can't stop the ripple without slamming your hand on the strings, creating an ending.

Taurus and Scorpio, in particular, place huge value on what lasts. And they'll often go to great lengths to preserve what they see as valuable, even (and often) at their own expense. But cross them one too many times, and you may never hear from them again. That's the black-and-white nature of the fixed signs — it's go big or go home. And with Uranus's presence in Taurus since 2018, we've seen a unique shade of radicalism within them. They can stick with something (or someone) for years and then decide in a moment that it's time to tear it all down.

Over the last 18 months, we've learned what's truly worth our material and emotional investment. That may have led to many a personal tear-down. For lots of us, these shifts were massive and noticeable, like moving homes, changing jobs, and ending relationships. But just as many shifts were subterranean and soul-level — the kind you whisper about in a sacred language only you and your guides understand. Maybe you received a painful but freeing truth, or cut a long-standing cord, or faced a once-unconscious shadow. These shifts are just as significant. And all of them likely came with some level of grief.

Transitioning with the help of Pluto and Neptune

For each rupture, there's an equivalent renewal — a clearing of emotional space (Scorpio) that makes room for material growth (Taurus). Each time we've plucked something from within or without, we've prepared the hole where the next seed will be planted. And as the nodes shift from 0° Taurus and Scorpio to 29° Aries and Libra, we're eyeing the hole we've dug with the seed in hand.

This new moon in Cancer marks the entry point into this new beginning. But it's not a moment of celebration and ardor for what's to come. Instead, it's a moment of silence for what we've sacrificed to get here. For most of us, it's been an outdated way of engaging with the physical and spiritual world. For some of us, it's been an entire way of life.

Pluto in Capricorn opposite the Sun and Moon in Cancer reminds us of what's left to be done here before we can truly move on. You might notice acute lessons surfacing outwardly and inwardly — stale relationships gasping their final breaths, old ideas falling flatter than ever, and deeply engrained patterns screaming to be uprooted. Trust that you have what it takes. Anything that surfaces now is the compounded impact of the last 18 months. You can let go of the load. It's not meant to be carried into this next chapter.

Neptune in Pisces is acting as a spiritual facilitator, inviting us to connect with the divine as we alchemize the deep emotions we've been carrying around like a nap-sac. Trine the luminaries and sextile Pluto, Neptune is wiping the sweat from their faces and holding water to their lips as they engage in a tug of war that's creating the friction for necessary change. It's a productive show-down. It doesn't feel contemptuous or evil — more like planetary bodies throwing their weight against each other in an effort to wake up some sacred energy that will catapult us into our new beginning.

Venus transitions from North Node ruler to South Node ruler

Alongside this massive nodal shift and new moon, we're also gearing up for the most talked-about transit of the year: Venus retrograde in Leo, beginning July 22. What's interesting about this week in particular is that we'll see Venus transition from the North Node ruler (Taurus) to the South Node ruler (Libra) as the lunar nodes shift signs. This adds to the feeling of emptying out, like lifting the stopper on a drain.

Venus is connected to our values, what we hold near and dear. And as she shifts from North Node to South Node ruler, just days before stationing retrograde, it feels like we're sweeping the dust from our altars and preparing our sacred spaces before we enter the lion's den. This shift takes us from the sensuous side of Venus (Taurus) to the relational side (Libra). We're now invited to apply what we've learned about pleasure and care to our connections, noticing what fits and what falls flat.

Here are a few questions I'd strongly encourage you to ask of yourself in this middle-space between July 17 and July 22:

  • What qualities have I come to value most in myself these past 18 months?

  • How have I compromised these parts of myself for the sake of connection in the past?

  • Am I ready to commit to living in wholeness?

  • How will I recommit to myself when I falter?

The new moon in Cancer prepares us for an underworld journey

Once Venus stations retrograde on July 22, we'll be ushered into a 40-day cycle of confrontation and healing, where we'll explore themes around loving and living true to ourselves. We may notice old patterns surfacing. Or even old loves. We may come face to face with shadow material we thought we'd integrated. Or wounds we thought we'd healed.

This new moon is a catalyst for emotional catharsis, preparing us for what's to come. Use it wisely. Consider what you've let go of and why. Remind yourself of the roots you've dug up these past 18 months. Imagine what can be planted there instead. Re-affirm the personal values that guided you toward purging the old. Let them guide you toward planting the new.

A three-card tarot spread for the New Moon in Cancer

Every new and full moon, I ask three questions: What is the anchor? What is the challenge? What is the gift? Below, you can see the tarot's answers, channeled with the help of my guides.

If you'd like to listen to an extended audio reading for this spread, you can become a patron for as little as $6/month. Patrons get access to all new moon and full moon audio readings, plus lots of other juicy benefits.

A three-card tarot spread for the Full Moon in Capricorn
Deck: Next World Tarot by Cristy C. Road

The Anchor: The Empress (Reversed)

Connected to Venus (and, in turn, Taurus and Libra), the Empress is the perfect anchor for us as we experience this nodal shift. The reversal reminds me of the move from North Node to South Node, and our impending dive into the Venusian depths as we enter this retrograde. It also reminds of me of the necessary lifting of emotional labor — the return to self that happens when we remind ourselves of our worth outside of any relationship or role. How would you define yourself if you couldn't do it through another?

The Challenge: Judgment

A penetrating awareness arrives at our doorstep as we enter this lunar cycle. It might be connected to the anchor above, pushing us to examine the ways we've hinged our self-worth to someone else's validation. Or it might be an awakening that frees us from outdated limitations, like societally imposed gender roles that we're unconsciously upholding. Whatever the case, something is becoming clear. It might hurt at first. But by going toward the discomfort, we can free ourselves of a burden.

The Gift: The Page of Wands (Reversed)

This deck calls the Page of Wands "The Home of Fire." It brings to mind Hestia (Greek), or Vesta (Roman), goddess of the hearth, keeper of the sacred fire, who long acted as a sort of gatekeeper for ritual. Before honoring any gods and goddesses, the ancient Greeks and Romans would first make a sacrifice to Hestia, because she tended the flames that supported all life. With the reversed Page of Wands, there's a gift in sacrifice. And the sacrifice might be something we've long valued, but that we recognize can't join us on the next leg of our journey. What will you lay on the fire? Do it with reverence and you'll receive blessings.

Have a beautiful new moon 🌕

This lunation brings incredible opportunities for release and integration. Consider ritualizing the process. Call in your unseen helpers to assist you as you transition into a new phase of evolution. And remember that you're not alone in your aches and your awe. We're all in it with you, experiencing varying degrees of grief for what's gone and wonder at what's to come.

At collectively significant moments like this, it can be cathartic to place your hands on your heart and imagine all the witches holding sacred ceremony around the world. However alone or disconnected you feel right now, know that you can always reach out and tap in.

If you're interested in the personal themes that are coming up for you this lunation, you can book a live tarot reading or purchase a recorded reading (under Services). I'd love to help you navigate the moment and discover the personal meaning this Full Moon is bringing up for you.

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