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Have Some Heart: The Leo Full Moon on Valentine’s Day 

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Tomorrow, February 14, is the Leo Full Moon (exact at 6:53 pm EST)—and Valentine’s Day. So if you’re feeling antsy, confrontational, or as though a relationship is at loggerheads, it’s likely the building Full Moon you’re feeling, though it may be compounding any pressure you’re feeling from the romantic hype streaming at us this week.

It’s not that romantic gestures are bad per se, and expressing love is always a good thing. It’s that in the face of social expectations based on something other than holistic relating, and artificially fueled by the retail industry, the idea of "relationship" gets warped into something less than nourishing. If you’re single, it can be downright alienating.

Somewhere along the line, certain actions and events became codified as the accepted ways to demonstrate love: fancy cards, chocolates, expensive dinners out, sparkly jewelry, etc. As the predominant cultural paradigm centered more and more on those superficial (if enjoyable) material displays, relational values such as empathy, honesty and receptivity seemed to get relegated to the back seat—especially on Valentine’s Day.

Empathy, honesty and receptivity can also be trickier to locate within yourself when a Full Moon is approaching. A Full Moon is an opposition between the Sun, representing consciousness/ego, and the Moon, representing intuition/the unconscious. As such, it’s a prime setup for seeing tension-causing qualities that reside within us as actually belonging to someone else (or as belonging to the relationship itself). What is within us gets reflected back at us, like sunlight bouncing off the Moon.

When you’re engaged in conflict with another person and caught up in seeing them as the cause, it can be a struggle to find a way toward feeling empathy for them. Being completely honest about your own part in the conflict, or owning up to whatever qualities you’re pointing a finger at in someone else, isn’t easy. And once you’ve taken an accusatory posture and stopped looking inward, it becomes incredibly difficult to receive who that person really is and what they have to offer. We lose touch with our compassion.

Tomorrow, as the Leo Moon sets up across from the Aquarius Sun, it will also oppose retrograde Mercury and the centaur planet Nessus in Aquarius. Mercury relates to the mind: our thoughts and how we communicate them. Remember that you can mitigate havoc caused to communication this week if you’re willing to pause and double-check that you were understood and that you understand before going on the offensive or getting defensive.

Nessus, specifically, speaks to how events occur in cycles—and are linked by the law of cause and effect. As Eric wrote on the Planet Waves blog Monday: "We have all heard of karma. That's the bit about how every cause has an effect and every effect has a cause. I think of Nessus as the principle of 'cause and effect are never separate.' Remember that as you make decisions this week."

Nessus, like Chiron (the best-known centaur) has to do with patterns that repeat across generations and the surfacing of old, possibly long-buried psychological material you may be in a better position to deal with (heal) now. In Aquarius, the sign of groups, Nessus is linked to peer pressure, especially the way our mainstream cultural take on sex and sexuality carries double standards that amount to a kind of sexual abuse on the psychological level. I think the hijacking of "love" in the form of a holiday devoted to meeting social expectations of what counts as ‘romance’ fits the description.

The Sun, retrograde Mercury, and Nessus may be pushing you to conform to the codified social expectations and patterns of Valentine's Day. But the Moon is in Leo, which rules the heart; ultimately, love is about showing compassion for yourself and for others, in ways that truly matter: through empathy, honesty and receptivity. What effects might ripple out if you allow those qualities to guide your actions?

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