As you step into the psychoanalyst's office you notice the smell of polished vinyl and the slightly unsettling sense of everything in the room being placed just-so. The analyst gestures to the couch, you sit and look up at him, nervously anticipating what comes next, wanting equally to trust and distrust him. He gives no hint as to his emotional state, only a professional demeanor that seems unshakable.
He asks you to lay back. You do so, feeling strangely vulnerable yet comfortable with the ease of your surrender. The analyst sits, pulls out his pen, and in his velvety smooth and eerily impersonal voice says: "Now. Tell me about your mother."
You close your eyes and think back to your days of childhood, of your strongest memories of your mother, both the loving and the painful moments. You begin to recount your experiences and feelings as the analyst casually jots down his notes. This goes on for a while and you begin to perceive those long past emotions still as present today as they were then. You realize your emotional memories still condition your responses to life, to your self care, personal expression and especially relationships. All this time you've been trapped in unresolved aspects of your childhood yet fully failed to notice. Eventually you have a sudden epiphany: you no longer need an analyst or a confessor or any surrogate father to process your past. You claim your fatherhood and motherhood for yourself, and in so doing you rise, thank your analyst for his help and walk back out into your life.
The analyst closes his notebook and leans back, smiling as he falls into inner reverie, knowing he has done his job, which is simply to provide a structure to contain and focus the emotional growth of his patients. The magic of watching a patient grow of their own natural means gives him his greatest satisfaction.
The Cancer Full Moon — exact Wednesday January 15th at 10:52pm central time — is a check in on how well we are handling our needs for emotional security. The Moon in Cancer, the planet of the mother in the sign of the mother, opposes the Sun in Capricorn, the planet of subjective identity in the sign of the father, asking us to be parents to ourselves. Wherever we put our emotional well being into the hands of others can be brought to our attention during this time. We're being reminded to take full responsibility for ourselves by balancing our own needs with the needs of our environment and society.
Symptoms of this full moon can include emotional exhaustion, feeling drained by the demands of others, frustration at not receiving the nurturing you think you deserve, or overworking yourself as you try to please some inner or outer authority. But if you have taken the time to maturely handle your emotional needs while setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, then this can be a time of feeling strong and secure, as an emotionally healthy, well nurtured being in and of yourself.
How do we nurture our own emotional growth? Like the psychoanalyst above, by creating a safe, stably structured environment within which we can allow our fluid emotions to have their expression, whether through explosive catharsis or gentle introspective thought. We must allow our emotions to educate us on how to adjust ourselves, rather than try to control them.
Whatever your experience this full moon, be careful not to self-judge, a common Capricorn pitfall. If the full moon brings up challenges, then that's your opportunity to grow by developing better tools for self care. How we experience the full moon is always dependent in part on the context of whatever is going on in our personal charts. Sometimes we get a break, sometimes we get more work. It's not about how "good" or "bad" we are at living, it's about learning how we can do it better.
"Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other."
- Carl Jung
One of the other major themes occurring during this full moon is Venus retrograde in Capricorn squaring Mars in Libra. This highlights relationships as the context within which we find the full moon lessons playing out. If we are expecting our relationship partners to take care of our emotions, or find them drawing too much nurturing from us, we can find ourselves feeling unsupported. We're being asked to look within ourselves to find what we need, and break through any illusions that either keep us in a childish state, wanting others to take care of our problems for us, or playing the parent for someone else.
The Mars/Venus square itself is asking us to look at how we balance self assertion with passivity in relationships. Too assertive ("power predominates") and you might find unexpected confrontation. Too passive ("love rules, no will to power") and you can find yourself being walked over and used. Venus in Capricorn wants you to find the center line, where lies integrity. Mars in Libra wants to penetrate through the polite outer layers and get to the juicy realness that's inside us. Can you get there without forcing yourself? There's a great deal of creative potential in this energy, and if we work it right we can have a great time.
Jupiter in Cancer also plays a part as it squares Mars and opposes Venus (t-square). He's there to add emphasis to the Moon, to remind us again that our emotional needs must be factored into the equation. We must feel secure before we can share our inner juiciness with others. Don't push yourself too far, honor your emotional limits.
There's a lot we can learn about ourselves during the Cancer Full Moon. By reflecting on our past, how we were treated by our parents and how we conditioned ourselves to react, we can understand how the past shapes our present. This helps us move into a stronger future shapable by our own hands. Build your structures to be fluid, so that they can bend with the winds of change.
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