Chris Ellis

I first studied Astrology in the 1980s and it's been a love ever since - alongside my musical work. I'm still drawn to the work of Dane Rhudyar and Alice Bailey for their recognition of natural cycles and of Soul.

Diary 2023

The Moon Through The Signs

The Moon's journey through the signs takes just under 28 days and it defines our original calendar month. It's a journey like that of the Earth through the signs, which defines the calendar year. But of course it's much more frequent and so it brings different opportunities to learn about cycles of change and growth.

Moon in Aries ♈︎ - Aries' ruler Mars brings impetus to vision and to plant the seed. The need for clarity of thought at the start of things is highlighted. Confucius taught that it's vital to pay close attention to thought at the beginning of undertakings and at their ending.

Moon in Taurus ♉︎ - What has been seeded must spread roots and it’s desire that draws us outwards. This phase is ruled by Venus, whose Latin name comes from the ancient Vanas – desire. We look for a nurturing environment to expand into. Venus is also the Goddess of fecundity and prosperity: we desire to grow.

Moon in Gemini ♊︎ - Sprouting its first leaves, the plant breaks into the sunlight, the wind and the rain. Mercury rules this phase and it's about expanding and communicating beyond one's immediate environs. The image is of a winged messenger: it is time to articulate your thoughts.

Moon in Cancer ♋︎ - With sunlight bringing energy to leaves, roots can now be deepened. Moon in Cancer is about deepening growth and it's naturally associated with home and family. The Moon is ruler here, which points to a special opportunity for awareness in any Moon cycle.

Moon in Leo ♌︎ - The flowering. What was begun with the Moon in Aries, now reaches fulfilment. The individual, the idea, the project has achieved individuality. We can take our cue from the centredness and generosity of the life-giving Sun in this phase.

Moon in Virgo ♍︎ - The flowering of Leo produces seeds. Now the individual or project begins to be aware of the idea of service to a greater whole. The ruler is again Mercury, this time as a bringer of the power of discernment.

Moon in Libra ♎︎ - The gathering in, the harvest. There is at this stage balancing, weighing, but not judgement. We can now be aware of the harvest; of all the consequences of what we have seeded. Venus rules again, because we now meet the offspring of our desires.

Moon in Scorpio ♏︎ - Achieving balance in Libra leads to being able to make choices in Scorpio about what we wish to carry forward. Now is the time to make choices: all fruits, all ideas, all habits, will propagate if we empower them. But which will we choose? Pluto, its ruler, is the planet of deep transformation.

Moon in Sagittarius ♐︎ - We can now project those seeds we have chosen into the future with clarity of thought. Sagittarius' ruler Jupiter brings expansiveness, generosity, vision, desire to grow further and to learn and explore.

Moon in Capricorn ♑︎ - The visions of Sagittarius will require work to be realised. The Moon in Capricorn brings us down to Earth to prepare the ground again for the next cycle of growth. Its ruler Saturn brings learning through effort, limitations and boundaries.

Moon in Aquarius ♒︎ - Having prepared the ground, we realise that water will be essential to the new growth we are working towards. It's a time to remember the other powers and life forces that surround us and to ask for help. Aquarius' ruler Uranus brings lightning bolts of insight into our true purpose.

Moon in Pisces ♓︎ - The ending of a cycle. A time when the magical transformation occurs; the death of the individual seed and the birth of the new plant. Pisces' ruler is Neptune – a symbol of our oceanic connectedness to all things: we are both the old and the new.

Phases of the Moon

There are three natural cycles that give us a sense of time and of change on Earth. Two of these cycles – the diurnal cycle (day and night) and the seasonal year - depend on the relation of the Earth to the Sun.

The third cycle – the phases of the Moon – depends on the relationship of three bodies: Earth, Moon and Sun. The magical number three brings the possibility of a more subtle realisation and integration. The Moon makes change visible to us and offers the opportunity to develop greater awareness of our relationship to change. There remains much mystery in this ageless cycle: we don't understand it fully, but we can see that its tidal pull affects many levels of life on Earth and an awareness of the Moon phase can help us navigate the many currents of our lives.

The Phases of the Moon can be understood by looking at the key points in the seasonal year. The eight stages of the Moon cycle correspond to the eight major festivals of the year and if you use this model, you can bring your own interpretations to this based on your unique journeys through the seasons and your own sense of the changes that each stage brings. Here are the correspondences with a few keywords.

New Moon ~ The Winter Solstice. Birth of the Light. New Beginnings. The seeding of a new cycle.

Crescent Moon ~ Imbolc. Candlemas. Awakening. First Flowering. A time to nurture the new.

First Quarter ~ Spring Equinox. Balance. A crisis point in the growth cycle where bonds with the old may need to be broken.

Gibbous Moon ~ Beltane. May Day. The Sacred Marriage. Growth accelerates; it can be celebrated and strengthened.

Full Moon ~ Summer Solstice. Fulfilment. The height of the growth and light. All is visible.

Disseminating Moon ~ Lammas. First Harvest. The time to give what we have grown, to bring it to others for the benefit of the whole.

Last Quarter ~ Autumn Equinox. Balance. Harvest. Here we can become more aware of the results of our creativity.

Balsamic Moon ~ Samhain/ Halloween. A last sliver of light now in the sky and time for deep transformation.

Retrograde Planets 2023

When a planet appears to move in reverse along the zodiac in relation to the Earth, it's said to be retrograde. Retrograde motion brings the opportunity to work more inwardly, more deeply in the sphere of activity indicated by that planet and sign. It's habitually associated with things being 'difficult' and seen as a bad time to attempt progress; actually it is a call to shift perspective and bring attention to the inner aspects of a situation. The progress made by such a shift is no less real and it prepares the ground for the growth that will resume when the planet turns direct. A retrograde planet passes three times over any spot on the zodiac: once forwards, once retrograde and then a final 'direct' pass. These three passes can be seen as three opportunities or initiations into the learning offered by the planet and sign. We get a first lesson (first pass), then a challenge to really internalise the lesson (the retrograde pass) and then a final pass. This last pass will be experienced in one of two ways: one has either embraced the lesson and internalised the change on offer – in which case things go smoothly – or one has resisted the learning, in which case the necessary change will be experienced as external and apparently random 'misfortunes'.

Mercury ☿ ~ 29th December 2022 retrograde, 18th January 2023 direct. 21st April retrograde, 15th May direct. 23rd August retrograde, 15th September direct. 13th December retrograde, 2nd January 2024 direct.

VENUS ♀︎ ~ 23rd July retrograde, 4th September direct.

MARS ♂︎ ~ 30th October 2022 retrograde, 12th January 2023 direct.

Void of Course Moon (v/c)

Within each monthly cycle of the Moon, there are 12 short periods of time when the Moon has completed all the aspects that it will form with other planetary bodies while in a particular sign of the zodiac and has not yet entered the next sign. During this lull, the Moon is said to be Void of Course. This period can last anything from a few minutes or hours (common) to a couple of days (rare). Think of it as a lull between waves – or maybe the pause between roller coaster rides. It is possible at these times to gather oneself if one has become scattered and to take a moment for reflection and for deeper work.

Astrology for 2023 © Chris Ellis

Pluto's retrograde period in 2023 is the first of two that herald its entry into Aquarius, and the completion of its societal transformations (in Capricorn). Aquarius is the over-guiding sign of the New Age, in which we will learn a higher way of cooperation with our fellow life forms on Earth. Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008, bringing its deep energy of change to structures of global society. In politics – mainstream and alternative – the ground has been shifting; old habits of thought and organisation have lost their energy. We are seeing both the collapse of old systems and at the same time a tenacious last-ditch defence of them by those that are attached. This is the background to the world politics of the last 15 years – whether family, tribal, group, national or international.

So, we face a flick of the tail from the dying beast of the old order. What is our response? Aquarius provides the answer: conscious action. We are not alone and if we work with higher energies, then we will be enabling the new, and not focusing on destroying the old. If challenges relating to groups emerge at this time, the retrograde reminds us to work consciously on the inner and to remember the two great inexhaustible streams of Aquarius: Life and Love.

A Shift in the Deeper Currents © Chris Ellis 2021


Calendar 2023

The Evolutionary Wheel of the Year

These notes can be read for the cycle of the Sun through the year, the Moon through its monthly cycle or for any of the planets on their longer cycles through the signs. The evolutionary wheel describes archetypal stages of development of any individual life, group, or even a nation. Understanding the stages that the signs represent can help us to align with possibilities for right action at any given time.

Aries: Ruled by Mars ~ The Power of Intention
The seed, the architect visioning the design. The lesson of Aries is the right use of mind. Aries' ruler Mars gives power to assert and to begin and the challenge is clarity of intention: our thoughts are more powerful than we realise. The divas holding the order of forms in the plant kingdom are a good image for the beauty that perfect clarity of thought can achieve.

Taurus: Ruled by Venus ~ Nurture
The seedling begins to spread roots and to seek the nutrients it needs. The challenge of Taurus is to find a nurturing environment for our growth. Its ruler is Venus – representing the love with which we hold any young and tender thing if we wish it to thrive. Taurus teaches us to make a nurturing space on the material level - and also a nurturing environment within ourselves.

Gemini: Ruled by Mercury ~ Communication
The seedling breaks through the soil, spreading its first twin leaves, receiving for the first time the rays of the sun and feeling the wind and the rain. It's a scene involving all four elements and it gives a good sense of the Gemini phase: the urge to connect and communicate with things that transcend our immediate physical boundaries. A time to communicate.

Cancer: Ruled by the Moon ~ Deepening Roots
In Cancer, the self deepens roots in order to support future growth; plants seek deeper groundwater that will ensure long-term sustainability. Associated with family and home, Cancer brings the urge to grow our roots into the soil of our deeper selves - and further, into the deep underground springs of our culture's traditions and knowledge.

Leo: Ruled by the Sun ~ Flowering, Leadership
Here, the self is fully grown. The plant, drawing on its deepened roots, flowers. Ruled by the Sun - the planet of centredness - the true leadership of Leo stems from the successful growth of an independent will: only a healthy self can have the courage to stand up and to serve something greater. The vital importance and generosity of flowers in nature shows us how important it is to allow flowering in ourselves.

Virgo: Ruled by Mercury ~ Discernment, Service
Flowers have a purpose: the birth of seeds. At this stage the newly grown individual begins to be aware of the call to serve something greater. Virgo is associated with service and dedication to the greater good. Here we meet Mercury for the second time in the wheel and this time the Mercurial spirit brings the power of discernment, sorting the wheat from the chaff.

The six signs that follow represent the growth of the self into increasing awareness of the communal and the transpersonal. The inner work that this demands is highlighted by the fact that the natural processes of nature in autumn and winter become increasingly invisible to the human eye. In describing these stages, it's useful to reach for imagery from the associated myths to better visualise the learning they offer.

Libra: Ruled by Venus ~ Relationship, Balance
A point of balance in the year. Here the seeds germinated in Aries are gathered and we see the fruits of our actions. It is a harvest of relatedness and a time for conscious recognition of what we have created. Libra's ruler Venus guides us not to judge and live in polarities, but to find the still point at the centre and learn to 'walk between the two great lines of force'.

Scorpio: Ruled by Pluto ~ Transformation
Having balance, we can choose dispassionately between good and bad: which seeds of self do we wish to grow? Scorpio brings a choice between the deeper self and the ego. In the myth, the hero(ine) initially attacks the Hydra (ego). The Hydra grows many new heads for every one cut off. It's defeated by lifting it up off the ground: raising awareness is the answer here, not aggression.

Sagittarius: Ruled by Jupiter ~ Clarity of Intention, Growth
Sagittarius the archer looses the arrow of clear intention into the future. For a second time we meet the need for mastery over thought in order to progress. At this stage of the year the chosen seed is projected into the future spring. Jupiter is the planet of growth, aspiration, idealism. Here we have the opportunity to become one-pointed and clear in our intentions.

Capricorn: Ruled by Saturn ~ Work, Initiation
Now we have a vision, we need to prepare the ground. The earth of Capricorn follows the fire of Sagittarius. We learn here that the archer’s vision – those chosen seeds - will not germinate without work and effort. The myth connected with Capricorn is the freeing of Prometheus from the underworld: we are reminded that we live on the Earth and our work is here - and now.

Aquarius: Ruled by Uranus ~ Group Work, Transpersonal Energy
A planted seed is nothing without water. Aquarius the water bearer stands for transpersonal energy. We learn here that we are not alone and we need the water of life. In the Labours of Hercules, a seemingly impossible task of cleansing is accomplished by the diverting of two rivers; it's a beautiful Aquarian image of the inexhaustible energy that we may call upon if we choose to.

Pisces: Ruled by Neptune ~ Holism, Surrender
In Pisces the cycle reaches its end. A time of deep surrender, Pisces invites us to be in the birth of the new through losing the old. In order to germinate, the seeds must now be released. Are we attached to them? If we travel the Piscean journey from our ego's perspective, we will experience death; if we surrender to our deeper selves, we will experience new life. Compassion and connectedness are the gifts of this sign.

The Evolutionary Wheel of the Year © Chris Ellis