This article first appeared on Mooncircles. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

"See, I tried everything, went everywhere,
But never found a friend as dear as you;
I drank from all the fountains, tried the grapes,
But never tasted wine as sweet as you."
--Anne Marie Schimmel
It is the Aquarius Full Moon, or, as I like to think of it, the "friend's full moon." According to traditional astrology, Aquarius rules the 11th house of friendship in the chart. It is not difficult to understand why: Uranus-ruled Aquarius is known for its broad-ranging inclusiveness and inquisitiveness. Humanitarian Aquarius never met a person she wasn't curious to know more about. Some folks maintain a tight-knit circle of associates all their lives, never moving outside their comfort zone, but not Aquarius: like the legendary ever-widening circle, their network of friends extends ever farther and becomes ever more diverse over time. My two sons with their Aquarian placements are rich expressions of this principle: driving in a taxi not too long ago with my Venus-in-Aquarius son, I listened in delight as he chatted up the Ethiopian cab driver about the politics, trade, and religion of that area. And my Sun-Jupiter-Mercury-in-Aquarius son has hardly kept one foot in this country since leaving home: the whole world, it seems, is his friend.

Indeed, it is often said of Aquarians that they are good friends of all humanity - but less skilled in the arena of one-to-one intimacy. Still, there is much to be learned from the Aquarian archetype when it comes to the art of friendship. Especially this Full Moon, as it conjuncts soft-hearted Neptune and opposes a planetary line-up of Vesta, Sun, Mercury and Mars in steadfast and loyal-hearted Leo, it is a time to contemplate our companionship connections. Just as we periodically review our creative projects, our kinship circles, or our physical or financial well-being, so the Aquarian Full Moon is an optimum time to reflect upon the spirit of friendship.

Drawing on the Aquarius-Leo polarity, we can ask ourselves where we are imbalanced or too extreme in our relationships. Do we, for example, have too many friends and associates, but not enough individual intimacy with a special "other" to whom we can confide the secrets of our soul? Or have we focused too exclusively on a narrow knot of friends, ignoring the wealth of wisdom and knowledge that comes from simply getting to know people who are different from ourselves? In order to flourish, the spirit of friendship needs expansion and generosity as much as intimacy. We might even take this time to survey our underlying beliefs and attitudes where friendship is concerned: in the pressure of making a living, have we placed the joys of friendship low on our list of priorities? Do we allow ourselves the simple pleasures of companionship - chatting over coffee for hours, hiking in nature, or laughing over a glass of wine? Are our friendships as meaningful as our family ties?

Last, we might contemplate the spirit of friendship itself. It could be said that in their wide embrace of humanity, Aquarians are simply friends of life itself. Without this open-minded love of the hustle and bustle of life; without a childlike "beginner's heart" in matters of human affection, we risk becoming closed to the miracle of creation within which we live each day. Especially if we walk the spiritual path, we are called upon to befriend the ultimate Friend - the sacred Presence whose spirit breathes through our days and nights on Earth. It is this Friend who incarnates through our human companions, and whose fellowship and trust accompanies us on our journey - making the way lighter, more adventuresome, and filled with joyful bonhommie.

(Look for the Leo New Moon August 8, 2002.)

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