October 6 2021
A month ago, at the dark of the Moon, I was walking along the sea on an island off the west coast of France. Somehow I had arrived at the exact moment of low tide, and the sand flats stretched a long way to the edge of the water. As I waded through the water I noticed something strange, all kinds of tiny, nearly transparent creatures swimming through the shallows. As I looked more closely I saw tiny shells with legs moving frantically into the waves. The shells were all different forms, round, conic or snail like, a centimeter or two at most. Some even had strange curved tails, propelling them forward. Fifteen minutes later they were mostly gone.
I had glimpsed something mysterious, and I only understood what I had seen when I got back to Paris and did some research. These were tiny zoea. They were the larval stages of crabs, borrowing the smallest shells to get back to the water as the tide left them uncovered. The prefix zo- comes form the Greek word for life, zōḗ. They were the beginning of new life, revealed, a gift from Neptune, who rules the sea. September’s new and full Moons were aspecting Neptune, and they brought me a moment of wonder. In front of me was a very pregnant woman in a bikini walking through the shallows with her two year old child. New life.
So much of our collective dialogue has been filled with fear. We step into the profusion of the internet, teeming with all kinds of images and beliefs. We soak in all of it, and the world around us becomes a source of sorrow, alien, unrecognizable, polluted, dangerous. Neptune dissolves our notions of what is solid, our sense of certainty. While every culture holds different truths, we are exhausted trying to hold them all in our minds at once, and many of us have fallen out of connection to one other. Neptune entered Pisces in 2011, at a moment when many warring cycles were beginning to pull our world apart. It will remain until 2025, and some of our old beliefs are falling away.
And yet Neptune is also a planet of the miraculous, connected to those moments, to paraphrase my friend Caroline Myss, when the ordinary coordinates of space and time are suspended. Earlier this year Jupiter briefly entered Pisces, reinforcing the power of the sign. The pandemic, for a time, seemed to be over, life rushed forward. We went to concerts and museums, gathered in groups. Then Delta came, and Jupiter retrograded out of the sign, mirroring our deflated hopes. Jupiter returns to Pisces on December 29, 2021. This time it will move quickly through Pisces rushing to meet Neptune on April 12, 2022. This meeting between the traditional and modern rulers of watery Pisces brings a rush of cosmic energy, very different from these past two years of tension and constraint. Oh, it can also bring bring even more confusion and distortion, more of anything, really. What interests me is how we can work with this combination in our charts for the best possible outcome.
I will be teaching a webinar for Astrology University on November 28 2021 (info posted soon), with just that intention. Last night I went to bed reflecting on the description for the webinar. And in a dream I came across a tidal pool among the rocks. It was teeming with life, small creatures of all kinds; squid and sea anemones, and a large silver fish. I even saw an imaginary sea centaur. It also happened to be the dark of the Moon. The cycle had come full round.
My birthday also coincided with the waning Moon this year, reflected in my solar return, and perhaps that’s why these moments have stood out. Sun Moon aspects are one of the keys to these ‘birthday’ charts. For those of you interested in exploring this often little understood technique I will be doing a series of three webinars on Solar Returns for Astrology University in early 2022.
For an idea of what zoea look like, here’s a video of an early larval stage taken by Dr. Richard Kirby.
October 6 2021