January's Cancer Full Moon Will Drag You Into the Deep End of Your Emotions

You can run but you can’t hide from all the feelings.

Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Whether you blame winter weather or the ongoing global pandemic or both, it's been more challenging than usual to catapult into the new year with blazing high energy. The planets have also had something to do with it. With Venus retrograde since December and the first Mercury retrograde of 2022 kicking off on January 14, the message we're all getting from the universe is to reflect, revise, and gain clarity around anything that's already in the works. And January's full moon in sentimental cardinal water sign Cancer — aka the wolf moon — was made for processing the emotions that are coming up for you as you glimpse in the rearview.

This full moon, exact at 6:48 p.m. ET/3:48 p.m. PT, on Monday, January 17, is set to be a culmination point that will crank up the volume on whatever's in your heart. And thanks to the aspects the moon will make to other planets, chances are you'll be driven to face your most intense feelings head-on.

The full moon in Cancer is all about respecting your inner life.

Full moons — which happen when the confident sun exactly opposes the intuitive moon — always present a monthly opportunity to wrap up projects you started six months or even two weeks prior. They're culmination points, breaking points, and a chance to release anything that's no longer serving you. And with this month's full moon falling in the sign that the moon itself rules — nurturing, compassionate, sensitive Cancer, a water sign that's intimately in tune with their inner world and what's in their heart — expect to be pulled even further into the deep end of your feelings than you would otherwise.

Every Capricorn season — which is geared toward setting ambitious goals and coming up with pragmatic game plans for achieving them — hosts a Cancer full moon, which offers the perfect counterbalance to the cardinal earth sign's industrious tone. After all, you can have the most practical strategy for reaching the peak of any given mountain, but it'll be much harder to accomplish if your heart's not in it or you're not emotionally present — a lesson that Cancer can teach us all about.

An opposition to Pluto puts an emphasis on the shadow side of life.

The main aspect of this Cancer full moon is a tight opposition to Pluto — the planet of death, rebirth, power, transformation, and spiritual growth — in Capricorn. This could highlight the push-pull between your sense of security and aspects of your life that have hit their limit and must come to an end.

Pluto's time in Capricorn — which began November 27, 2008 and will come to an end on January 21, 2024 — has required us as a society to collectively reflect on and address the dark side of Capricornian themes: government, traditions, structure, boundaries. On a personal level, this full moon's opposition to Pluto will push you to consider which structures, ambitions, and mountains you once set out to climb are no longer in line with your dreams.

But before you can get to a clear-headed conclusion, you may need to contend with control-seeking behavior, obsessive thoughts, or power struggles that'll become more apparent now. Pluto's goal is to bring your attention to toxic dynamics and darkness that's been lurking beneath the surface in an effort to burn it all down and, as Taylor Swift once sang, begin again. Heavy? Absolutely. But it can also clear the way for a brighter path forward.

Mystical Neptune offers a silver lining.

Neptune, the ruler of illusion, escapism, and spirituality, in fellow water sign Pisces forms a harmonious trine to the full moon. Neptune can make it tougher to understand what's real from what's not, but it's also a boon for creativity, spirituality, and your imagination. You could expect more vivid dreams, an easier time tapping into your intuition, and the potential for a spiritually satisfying moment. This full moon is definitely one to bust out the journal, crystals, or candles for.

Venus and Mercury's retrogrades factor in.

All too often, we're hoping a lunar event comes with a prescription for how to not only process what's coming up for us but proceed after the fact. But because this full moon falls in Cancer — which, like the other water signs, is fine with wading through their emotions for as long as they feel its necessary — while relationship-ruler Venus and communication-ruler Mercury are both retrograde, it's OK (if not advisable) to put off any kind of forward movement. This full moon calls for nothing more than tuning into your heart and respecting what it has to say. Then, once it feels like the right time to make any kind of next move, you'll know.

Here, how this Cancer full moon will affect you, based on your sign. (Pro-tip: Be sure to read both your sun and your rising sign, if you know it. If you don't, you can find it on your natal chart or via this CafeAstrology calculator.)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

With the full moon lighting up your fourth house of home life, reflect on the bonds and behaviors that offer you the greatest sense of security — and those that are hindering it. It's time to step away from anything throwing you off balance.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

The full moon is in your third house of communication, so your schedule is sure to be packed at the moment, but you'll be most fulfilled by honing in on the connections that offer intellectual stimulation and truly satiate your curiosity.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Because the full moon is in your second house of income, it's time to step up and say exactly what you need to be satisfied on the job. Your mind is very much on what direction you need to go in to feel more valued for your skills.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Thanks to the full moon falling in your sign, you'll be more in touch with your emotions than ever (which, yes, is … a lot). Your goal is simply to be honest with yourself and those who love you about what you need, then take whatever space and time is required to work through it.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

The full moon falls in your twelfth house of spirituality, making it an incredibly dreamy and potentially psychologically heavy moment. Now may be the time to focus on healing an old emotional wound through therapy or a metaphysical practice that speaks to you.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

With the full moon falling in your eleventh house of networking, you'll be realizing that making long-term wishes come true requires a little help from your friends. How can nurturing platonic and collegial bonds lead to a greater sense of connection and fulfillment?

Libra (September 23-October 22)

This full moon illuminates your tenth house of career, bringing your attention to your public image and professional path. You're likely ready to let go of what that looked like for you in the past and begin to take steps toward a whole new chapter.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

With the full moon falling in your ninth house of adventure, you want to infuse your day-to-day with more inspiration and horizon-broadening experiences. It could be time to take a leap of faith to satisfy your inner explorer.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

With the full moon in your eighth house of emotional bonds, you may be ready to open up to a loved one or your S.O. about what's been weighing on your heart. Vulnerability can only serve to deepen your mutual understanding.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

With the full moon in your seventh house of partnership, you'll be taking a microscope to the sense of balance in your one-on-one bonds. If someone's not pulling their weight (including you), challenging emotions could surface, but what's most important is the why.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

Falling in your sixth house of wellness, the full moon could take a toll on your vitality. Now can be a key moment for connecting the dots between your psychological well-being, daily stress, and physical health.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

This full moon is in your fifth house of romance and self-expression, turning up the volume on your creativity and desire to pour your emotions into a playful, artistic outlet. It's time to stand in your sense of self and vocalize your desires.

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