Solar Eclipse blessings to you. May the Earth lovingly catch your tears❤
If you have spent most of the week crying (or extremely fatigued), you are definitely not alone. Thank goodness for astrology, my astro-nerdy friends, the online astro community, and all the non-astro believers who share their personal ups and downs while I quietly nod my head with understanding. Astrology reminds me that although everyone will experience a transit differently, we all walk beneath the same skies. We are not alone in our experiences.
This post will be focused on the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer late on THURSDAY (ADT), but still, its rumbles are fresh. The waves keep rolling, overlapping, building in strength, denying compartmentalization. Did you read my Eclipse Season Schedule of Events (July 10th – August 16th)? If not, you can read it here. It will give you a thorough overview.
A Brief Summary:
This eclipse in emotional Cancer opposes Pluto, the weeee little planet of destruction, power, the unconscious, volatile secrets, early wounding, the shadow material we hide from, difficult truths, death, rebirth, and transformation.
Our sense of belonging, safety, family, origins, and home, may experience a shake-up as we are confronted with something that must be addressed in order to truly feel authentically secure in our roots, with our emotional connectivity, and in our environments. Cancer craves emotional and relational safety and security, and will do everything it can to protect it, even if it means retreating and hiding (or being passive aggressive). But perhaps by prioritizing the safety of maintaining status quo, we may be settling for less – less vibrancy, less aliveness, less deep fulfilling emotional nourishment.
Especially with Jupiter recently stationing direct in Scorpio, that which has been long ignored, denied, and repressed, now looms large in our consciousness. It’s an opportunity to put an end to the contamination and decay we may be simmering in, and acknowledge that the expiry date on something, has passed. Power struggles, the experience of loss, and unspoken, testy, relational dynamics beneath the surface, as well as deep emotions and reactions, are prominent with Pluto aspects. Fear, grief and anger, in particular, can feel intensely powerful as we encounter perceived threats to our safety and security – both those that are externally sourced, as well as our own internal barometer indicating it is time to let something go in order to reduce the pressure within our psyches.
The North Node nearby, beckons us toward new life, but to enter the promised land, we may need to leave a part of our old lives at the door.
In this post I’m pulling together a number of different concepts and models, and trying to integrate them in a meaningful way. Hopefully it is cohesive enough to be useful for you ❤
Cancer & the Container:
In recent years, within the field of psychology, the language of creating a ‘container‘ has become ubiquitous – to the extent that it is gradually leaking into mainstream conversation and has begun to show up in astro writing, often when discussing the Cancer-Capricorn axis.
I’m immersed in psychology language, so sometimes I get overly accustomed to the terminology and then I’m like, but wait… what does this really mean? I wanted to unpack the concept of ‘a container’, in light of this powerful Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn.
What do you picture when you hear the word container, or ‘to contain’ (or ‘to hold’)? Symbolic images of containers associated with the Cancer-Capricorn axis that come to mind for me, include spaces with firm walls and foundations, the belly or womb space, an egg, a seed, a clay vessel, and any animal with a protective covering that allows it to hide within. (for some lovely descriptions of some very Cancerian spiritual symbols of birth and renewal, check out Valerie Harms’ blog post)
Perhaps the most appropriate type of crab to represent Cancer, would be the hermit crab, which can retreat completely into its shell (the internet tells me that hermit crabs are not true crabs, but whatever). I also think of turtles with their shell homes, as being very Cancerian.
We need safe containers, safe womb spaces, safe homes, and strong roots, so that we can safely grow – so that all our new creations, tender in their vulnerability, may have time to incubate and grow stronger before being exposed to the unpredictable rough terrain of the world.
Cancer without Capricorn is an intricate root system that never produces fruit above ground. But Capricorn without Cancer, is a plant that grows aggressively and wilts before its time because it lacks the secure roots to sustain it. And yet perhaps if we begin by planting our creations indoors, in containers, they will develop both the root systems and the courage to reach for the sun when they are transplanted into the garden, once the risk of frost is past.
To create a supportive emotional container, is to construct an cognitively understood and emotionally felt space, that is delineated by a trusted sense of secure edges and boundaries that can withstand disruptions without collapsing.
So often, many of us feel like our emotions, our memories, our life experiences, are so intense and overwhelming that if we allowed ourselves to be completely present with them, they would obliterate us (and others) – that they would begin unraveling and not stop until our sense of self had also unraveled, imploded or exploded.
A Cancerian container supports you in feeling safe and secure so that you can allow yourself to relax into your authentic self, to let down your defenses, to drop into your emotions and felt sense, and to begin to expand and grow toward your potential – without feeling at risk of fragmentation, blurred boundaries, indiscriminately unloading emotions onto others, or being driven to constantly guard against danger from outside threats.
Through using mindfulness practices, increasing awareness and tolerance of the embodied felt sense, and through applying self-regulation tools, our bodies can become therapeutic containers. When we feel grounded, rooted, and centered in our bodies, our bodies can be secure containers that support our sense of self, permit us to safely open up to our deep emotions and a broad range of sensory input, and effectively move energy through us.
However, oftentimes our bodies feel out of control as we experience intense internal sensations and physical responses to our emotions and environments. Sometimes we need bigger containers to hold that safe space for us.
This bigger container could be a relationship (with a friend, a therapist, an animal or deity), a series of rituals that anchor us in space and time, a physical location, or a spiritual practice that provides a deep sense of interconnectedness within defined spaces.
Establishing a sense of inner safety and security through a supportive and nourishing container, is very Cancerian stuff (+ with the assistance of Capricorn’s building skills). During this New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer, it is worth reflecting on our experiences of healthy containment and the vessels of safety we have access to.
The 3 Phases of Trauma Recovery & the 3 Water Signs:
It is so important to understand the 12 zodiac signs through the symbolic relationship they have to one another. The zodiac wheel is magically organized according to zodiacal order, element, and quality. This organization itself holds deep symbolic meaning that should not be overlooked.
The three water signs, for example, begin with Cancer, then there is Scorpio in the middle, and finally Pisces completes the grand water trine as the last sign of the zodiac.
Lately I’ve been reflecting on how the three water signs (most associated with emotions, internal states, early imprinting and inherited energy), reflect Judith Herman’s frequently cited, three phases of trauma recovery.
I believe that many people carry the imprints of some form of traumatic stress experienced in their lifetime, but regardless, I think this 3-phase model can be applicable to all types of emotional healing.
The three phases of recovery, correlate with the three water signs as follows:
With this New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer opposing Pluto, the modern ruler of Scorpio (and with Jupiter stationing direct in Scorpio this past week), we may be met with the need for some phase 2 type processing. Pluto and Scorpio are more than capable of bringing up some deep shit.
But do we feel safe? Are we stable enough in our life context to open up to that deeper processing? How are our Cancerian containers? Are they sturdy and secure enough to meet Capricorn’s high standards? Do they need any repairs or adjustments?
Safety and Stabilization is such an essential first step. In our birth charts, this is symbolized by Cancer, and also by the 4th house and your Moon placement on an individual level.
And yet this Cancer eclipse opposite Pluto also reminds us that we can become overly focused on phase 1, without cultivating the types of containers that allow us to stretch beyond the vessel.
Here’s what it may look like when we focus on one phase of healing, or the archetype of one water sign, to the exclusion of the others…
Right now, we are focused on the relationship between the Cancer-Scorpio phases with this current Solar Eclipse (although the loose trine to Neptune, brings in some Pisces-ness).
Cancer, Relational Containers & Attachment Theory:
Cancer seeks emotional attachments. From day one, humans are wired to connect and attach to others. In fact, there is a well established psychological model – attachment theory – which has sprung from this foundational understanding. It is part of our basic survival programming to seek attachments to others in order to feel safe.
The Cancerian relationship between the infant and the parents is one of the first attachment bonds we experienced. If this bond was insecure or destabilized in some way, when we enter adulthood, we may find it more difficult to cultivate safe and secure relationships with others.
Relational containers are one of the most important kinds of containers, and we often will make many sacrifices to protect our most treasured attachments to ensure our emotional (and often physical) safety and survival.
And yet Scorpio and Pluto ask for authenticity and truth. In order to bring healing to areas of wounding, we often first need to bring something into the light of consciousness and accept its reality. But will this authenticity threaten Cancer’s relational container and attachments of safety?
When these Cancerian attachment bonds are threatened, we often do whatever it takes to protect our attachments even if it means compromising who we are and our potential future – when authenticity threatens attachment, attachment trumps authenticity.
This is what this Plutonian Solar Eclipse may feel like. A threat to attachment bonds, a threat to relational containers and the safe, familiar spaces we may have cultivated… via the demand for a deeper truth and authenticity.
Pluto and Scorpio’s territory of truth, deep acceptance, processing and transformative change, can be terrifying, quite frankly, when our Cancerian containers and sense of safety and security feel threatened.
That’s why it is super important to find ways to cultivate and nourish flexible containers and helpful tools that can adapt to our current contexts and grow with us – on a daily, or even moment-to-moment basis.
Can we establish a sense of safety and stabilization, even amidst the major change and upheaval of eclipses, as we work on our ‘growing edge’? What does that even look like? More importantly, what does that feel like?
Eclipse Season can bring change and disruption, but like hermit crabs, perhaps we can learn to bring containers of safety with us – in a way that still allows us easy movement and freedom as we respond to what is emerging.
Even as our environments may be changing, how can we create containers of safety within our physical spaces? It could be some deep breaths in the washroom at work, sitting in stillness in front of a candle before heading off to bed, or escaping to that park for a few moments of peaceful sanctuary each day.
To feel safe in our bodies and with ourselves, we can find ways to calm and regulate our nervous system (e.g. check out IG’s #regulate4resilience suggestions) and take care of our needs so we can feel more comfortable and secure within our own skin. Or we can create a sense of a safe container through creating art; with the four edges of the canvas where we transmute emotions into paint colors. Or within the container of the pages we journal in.
If this Eclipse Season provokes some deep triggers, feeling safe within our bodies and with the physical sensations of emotions (or working with someone who can help us with this) is important if we want to turn towards these triggers to process the content that may surface.
Finally, what about that relational container and those attachment bonds? Feeling truly, deeply safe to be our authentic selves with other people is so healing and nourishing, but admittedly this can be challenging.
At times in my life when I have been really vulnerable, I had what I called a ‘safe people list’. It was a very short list, and it kept getting shorter, oftentimes through no one’s fault but my own increasing vulnerability.
It included those whom I knew I could trust and would be there consistently and yet respect boundaries; those who I knew would accept and love me without a hint of judgement; those who could empathize and have some appreciation for what I was going through; and those with whom I knew the relationship was solid enough that it could mend and recover from moments of conflict or disappointment.
Finding and keeping ‘safe people’ in our life is not something that happens overnight – and it can scary to allow ourselves to trust others that much. Sometimes animals can be good replacements and can tide us over : ) Like where would so many of us be without our dogs and cats??!!
So back to the three phases of recovery and healing, what happens when the symbolism of all three of the water signs are enacted and integrated in a balanced way?
- We feel safe, nourished, and stable enough internally, to take grounded action both internally and externally (Cancer).
- We have the resources and the courageous capacity to face our fears, wounding and pain without getting overwhelmed by them. We can then metabolize this life content, thus freeing up the life force energy that has been tangled up in our hurts (Scorpio).
- We are able to perceive and appreciate the interconnectedness of life and create meaning out of our experiences, as contextualized by a broader framework. We can access hope and establish deep connection with others in the midst of difficulty. As we grow from our experiences, we are able to bring compassionate support to others in similar situations (Pisces).
We live in a world that always seems to be communicating that it is unsafe to live here.
‘Safety’ is also not distributed equally, just like privilege is not.
As the solar eclipse in Cancer faces off with Pluto, we may be reminded of this.
Establishing a felt sense of safety within ourselves (on a moment-to-moment basis if need be) and doing our own inner healing work, isn’t just for ourselves. When we are feeling safe and secure, we are then better able to reach out and support others from a more grounded place that is less obscured by our own fears and hurts. How can we be ‘safe people’ for those who are feeling particularly vulnerable and unsafe right now?
Making the whole world a safer place to live is a big (yet worthy) endeavor, but progress often occurs through a series of many small steps forward.
May eclipse season provide us all with safe shelters, in the midst of its storm.❤
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