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Astrology for Feb. 20-26, 2023: Pisces New Moon – Xanadu

Each year, we spend one or two weeks relaxing at our favorite seaside motel on California’s central coast. It’s a nice little place, not luxurious, but it’s situated directly across a narrow road from the ocean. We spend our days there walking along the boardwalk, taking naps, reading books, and eating simple meals with good wine. At night, we fall asleep to the sound of the surf. All in all, it’s heaven.

This little village lies six miles south of Hearst Castle, the spectacular monument to excess built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. On the first night of a recent visit, we switched on the television and happened across Citizen Kane, Orson Welles’ classic story of a ruthless newspaper tycoon very transparently based on Hearst. A couple of days later, we drove up the coast to catch a glimpse of Hearst’s Xanadu on the hill, overlooking a spectacular stretch of ocean, but it was a drizzly day and the mansion was hidden by low clouds. Fair enough; Xanadu should by rights be shrouded in fog.

I visited Hearst’s castle once, years ago. I remember it as a bit of a spooky place, though admittedly I could be thinking of the Welles version, which I’ve seen many more times. It’s always hard for me to imagine living comfortably in cavernous spaces with hard surfaces and filled with stuff that looks really uncomfortable to sit on. Still, the breathtaking view of the Pacific from Hearst’s castle at the top of the hill is well worth the price of admission.

Meanwhile, a quarter mile down the road from our motel stands a very different Xanadu that excites my imagination far more. Like Hearst’s, it has a commanding view of the sea, but the comparisons stop there. It’s a tiny, wren-colored bungalow, its address painted over the front door with a heart, set back from the road behind a large, overgrown garden of succulents. When I picture the perfect place to live in the world, this comes very close.

Can any place really be perfect, though? Hearst’s mansion was built on a great ranch purchased by his father in the late 19th century, where young William had spent many happy summers camping as a child. A centerpiece of the property is the spectacular and much-photographed Neptune’s Pool. A grand house on a steep hill, overlooking the ocean, couldn’t be a more perfect setting for a temple to the god of the sea.

Hearst lived there for 28 years, nearly a full Saturn cycle, but to him, it was never perfect. He built the place of his dreams in a setting of great natural beauty and, most importantly, sentimental significance. Yet he never stopped tinkering with it, tearing down buildings and erecting new ones like a child with a Lego set.

Like Hearst’s fever dream of a house, this week’s Pisces New Moon (Feb. 19, 11:06 pm PST) is shrouded in mist. Astrologers characterize Neptune – the modern ruler of Pisces – as a planet of imagination, confusion, dreams, true love, and great yearning. Under Neptune’s enchantment, we imagine our own Xanadu, our mystical dream world of utter bliss. It’s the gift of the Pisces New Moon season, then, to build our castles in the air, and to dream of living in them full time.

But while Virgo is the sign we associate with perfectionism, it’s Pisces, its opposite sign, that is subject to the tyrannical perfectionism of dreams. In the realm of Pisces, we, like Hearst, may be unable to achieve the ideal, unable to inhabit it with true ease, comfort, and gentleness.

I suppose the same would be true if I ever got to live in my little seaside bungalow. I picture myself sitting at the window, typing away at my little essays with the ocean as my soundtrack. But the reality would probably be workmen fixing the roof, squirrels wrecking the succulents (after all, the Sabian symbol for this New Moon degree is Pisces 2: A squirrel hiding from hunters), and tourists disturbing the view during the summer. And even on a good day, how could you possibly get anything done with the distraction of that stunning view?

At the end of a few precious days each year, we close the door on the little seaside motel and make our way south, through the suburban sprawl and urban traffic, toward our beloved century-old home in an old neighborhood somewhat farther from the sea than we’d like. Even Hearst, with all the money a man could want, was eventually forced to leave his beloved castle on the hill due to failing health.

This Neptune-infused Pisces New Moon invites us to dream our dreams, but most dreams are eventually interrupted by reality. This week’s square between Mercury in visionary Aquarius and Uranus in down-to-earth Taurus (Feb. 21, 2023, 2:22 pm PST – with Mercury on the Hearst degree, 16 Aquarius: A big-business man at his desk) – and its trine to Mars in Gemini (Feb. 22, 12:13 pm PST) – are wakeup calls of that sort. Awaken to reality, dreamer! – get back to work, and turn your thoughts into action!

Whether it’s a mansion or bungalow by the sea, the ideal love affair, or a perfect career, most of us will never live full time in a perfect paradise. The epic poems of our lives, once interrupted by reality, may never be finished. But then… if we did, and if they were, what would be left for us to dream?

Writing and images © 2019-23 by April Elliott Kent

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3 comments to " Astrology for Feb. 20-26, 2023: Pisces New Moon – Xanadu "

  • Sofia

    Dear April
    I am a recent (around the last year) reader of your blogs/essays.
    I love your work and you are a master pen woman. Thank you for the penetrating insight everyweek, it spurs me on to learn and enhance my love for all things astrology.

    I loved this Pisces moon article as I have Pisces on the midheaven, moon in cancer, venus conjunct neptune in scorpio with gemini ascendant.

    Sending you lots of love,


  • Barbra d'Engle

    Hi April,

    I love this essay, it’s lyrical and yet describes our present with almost laser precision! I’ve been seeing so many people whose dreams are being gradually ground up by Saturn’s reality check – and they’re struggling immensely to open their eyes to the unpleasant truth that they’ve been ignoring while under the spell of their own Xanadu. The big question is how to try seeing more clearly while Uranus creates a new, more progressive and unique lens for the seeker? I don’t always comment but i really look forward to your newsletters. Thank you for your creativity and insight. I love your artwork so much, reminds me me of my granddad’s old photos.

  • Amber Fischkelta

    Beautifully written! Loved it, as I do everything I read on here! Please keep inspiring and teaching because it’s made such a difference in my life!

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