In this series, author and artist Sarah Gottesdiener shares extracts from her Many Moons Workbook.
Full Moon in Leo: Friday 10th/Saturday 11th February
Full moon lunar eclipse: Fri 4.44pm PST | Fri 7.44pm EST | Sat 12.44am GMT. View times in your region.
Welcome to the the second Full Moon of this still fresh year. For many of us, it takes place on a Friday, ruled by Venus. This February Full Moon is also known as the Full Snow Moon, the Cold Moon, or the Hunger Moon.
Astrologically, this Full Moon is in Leo, and the Sun is in Aquarius. It is a lunar eclipse, kicking off the Leo/Aquarius eclipse two-year cycle. The solar eclipse, later this month in Pisces, is the last of the two-year Virgo/Pisces eclipse cycle. If you are interested in knowing more about this eclipse from your own astrological perspective, you can look to your personal chart, or consult an astrologer.
It is a penumbral eclipse, which means that the outermost part of the Earth’s shadow will be obscuring the Moon. Penumbral eclipses occur about a third of time. This celestial event takes place over four hours, and will be visible from Europe, some of Asia, Africa, and some of North America (though it might be subtle viewing, as it is in the outermost shadow).
Lunar eclipses generally encompass internal shifts and changes – they can help to catapult swift change in an emotional or psychological manner. Culmination is present. Doors can be opened, or closed. Themes of self and the others, the individual and the collective, may be highlighted at this time. There may be a new you being uncovered, that is linked back to a very core, very ancient, very knowing way of existing in the world. Maybe you haven’t let yourself express this for a long time, or even ever!
This Full Moon may bring up what must shift and change in order to bring this imperative being out into the open.
It might feel like dusting off a mirror and gazing into the loving reflection of a best friend from another realm, before you ever got cheated on, before the trauma that threatens to overtake the night, before someone uttered that sentence that acted like a crowbar over the opening of your most willing and precious heart.
What would that best friend resemble? And how much of that best friend is already inside?
How much space are you taking up? Do you want to take up more?
Do you believe you are receiving what you deserve in terms of recognition? How does your internal approval fit in with that? Do you approve of yourself? Is it time to try something different?
This time is the time to start the shift.
Any minute is an opportunity for growth and to move forward, and the energies of this time could feel more heightened, due to this Full Moon being an eclipse. I’ve described in my workshops that while working with the cycles, the New and the Full Moon periods are like the periods at the end of the sentence that the waning and waxing moon phases create. As this is an eclipse, the period might feel more like an exclamation point. (Or a question mark. Or a series of &%*@&!!!#$$^^. These are to be expected and are totally fine as well.) Some witches believe that doing spell work or practicing magic during an eclipse is not the best idea, that it would be better for rest. You can always do your work the day after. Do what feels right.
There is nothing inherently problematic, negative, or bad about eclipses. They can sometimes described in histrionic tones; similar to the dreaded ‘Mercury retrograde’, which has been almost comically vilified and blamed for just about anything overlapping with the regular malfunctions of life. Eclipses can be characterized, much as any other out of the ordinary natural occurrence, as a build of energy, a shift from the normal, an acceleration. This could be a time of illuminated messages about self, about those in your close community or intimate circles. Decisions may be made by you or AROUND you. Amazing situations could pop up for you in the week following this Full Moon. Remember, in times of potential upheaval, to try to be gentle elastic, to not react, to focus on the self. The legendary Audre Lorde, who was born this month (February 18th), wrote: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” (A Burst of Light: Essays).
We can also take this time to look back to six months ago. Perhaps you have notes in your workbook or a journal to reference. What was happening for you last August? What has changed? What is illuminated, still, from that time?
Full Moons have generally been an opportunity for gathering, celebrating, and coming together.
Magically, they are an opportune time for casting almost any kind of spell, though spells of actualization, protection, amplification, fertility, intuitive pursuits, creativity, prosperity, and love are especially potent. With the Leo of themes of vibrancy, showing up for one’s true self, taking up space, and showing more of yourself to the greater, external whole could be a good focus. What would that look like for you?
Collectively, we may be screaming and marching towards the outer crystallization of our identities. If this autumn felt a bit like being in the cocoon, working quietly behind the scenes on more private or personal works, now we are in a more public arena. This could be a time of putting forth new personas, of sharing yourself with others in a much more authentic way, one in alignment of who you have become. This could be the period of struggling out into a new form, pushing out into the materialization of a softer vehicle. One with wings.
This would be an excellent time to examine and dismantle any limiting Ego patterns you retain. When we live our life with our Ego leading the way, a lot of strain and effort is involved. In object-referral mode, we’ve attached to the external, not the self. In object- referral, there are so many webs of attachment, so much energy being drained. There’s our phone, and inside our phone, how many texts we’ve received, if we’ve been ignored, and for how long. There’s our career, what we’re making, and a whole other litany of other worries, expectations, and energy entanglements that attempt to swallow us whole. There’s how people respond to us, our relationships, another huge spectrum. In the realm of the Ego, our happiness, self-worth, and ability to keep going depend on primarily external things. There’s never enough. There’s always more! We can be satisfied for a day, for a particular accomplishment, then the itch kicks back in, the contentment diminishes. We’re forced to keep hunting for that next fix. The intimacy we have with ourselves and others is dependent and reliant.
To develop self-love that is not based upon external validation is a difficult task.
After all, we’ve been conditioned since birth to base our worth upon (‘good’) attention, votes, money, hierarchy. Think about how the ways in which you treat yourself and judge yourself depend on external circumstances. In the vein of Candide, we must cultivate our own gardens – examine our own resources, think about our own inspiration, devoid of what dominant culture, society, family, or peers have told us. Examine what enables flow. Define the essence of your purpose and spirit. Acknowledge that in spite of the external circumstances going on about you, around the noise, the chaos, the distraction, that you are confident in your imperfect beauty, that you will continue on, regardless of hurdles, setbacks, in spite of standing ovations, endless likes, or criticisms molded to be daggers. Promise to let out your inner, innate gifts. Commit to extolling them on a velvet-curtained center stage, where you use them to inspire others, to help those around you. You remain a constant, glowing, light, simply for remaining yourself. It’s not always appreciated; the accolades don’t always cascade when you stick to authenticity. The gift appears over and over again, in the long game.
This is soft power.
Soft power helps, heals, lifts others up. Soft power is non-hierarchical. She’s quiet—she does it for the love, to experience the alignment with greater energies, larger messages, indescribable feelings. Not the likes. Soft power knows there is no winning, there is no winning. There is no winning, so don’t even try to act like there’s some sort of external race. (Where are we all going to, anyway, where do we all end up?) Don’t even behave as if others are pitted against us. There’s no losing, there is no losing. Yet we’ve lost so much. There’s been so much co-option, so much violence at every level. Everything we’ve lost is a memory, a remnant of what we’ve loved. That loss is a lesson disguised as a wound that is still all right to sob over sometimes. And mourn. And to use as a vehicle for change and difference. Soft power knows that when pressed, everyone feels like an imposter, so an important reminder is just to show up, as your best self. She’s not hung up over all the failures as much as she counts her blessings, and sees all the victories, no matter how baby toenail tiny or imperceptible. Soft power is gracious, hoping the best for others, and knowing when to step away from people and relations, not distorting outcomes through passive-aggressiveness, not engaging in an uncareful manner. She’s peachy clamshell pink and wants to be warm and cozy in the winter, and silky smooth against your hot belly in the summer. Soft power sees the power in vulnerability. She knows that when our actions, words, and behavior are in alignment with our most innocent and true nature, we are victorious.
There’s a message here of finding healing through showing the greater world more of yourself.
Taking risks from this new place, unattached to old belief systems, could facilitate a new karmic cycle. The healing, at this time, could be at the showing up.
Having had baggage cleared away, what risks would you take?
What would success be defined as, if your Ego were not leading the way?
How would you live your life accordingly? What would surround you?
This is a potential actualization of soft power during this alignment of the community- driven, innovative themes of Aquarius Sun, the heart-centered courage, compassion, and presence of the Leo Sun, with our self, our actualization of the Earth. The following quote, once again by the indelible Audre Lorde, sums one aspect of this brilliantly.
When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
Happy February Full Moon!
Suggested Affirmation: “My outer actions align with my inner self. I am recognized for all the strength and beauty that I embody.”
The tarot cards shown in this post are from the Lioness Oracle Tarot.
Sarah Faith Gottesdiener is a designer, art director, artist and intuitive living in Los Angeles.
She got her undergraduate from Smith College and her MFA in Design from CalArts. She has worked for brands like Sephora, Nickelodeon, Ace Hotel, Wieden + Kennedy, and Nike.
Sarah’s teaching experience includes art, design, visual literacy, and more at Otis College, Scripps College, and (FIDM). Her Many Moons workbooks share insights in how to work with the main phases of the Moon. She teaches tarot and moon beaming workshops at various spaces, and gives intuitive Tarot readings to interested parties.