New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer :: Establishing a Container of Safety while Opening up to Truth, Loss, Healing & Growth

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?

  1. We feel safe, nourished, and stable enough internally, to take grounded action both internally and externally (Cancer).
  2. 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).
  3. 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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Eclipse Season July 10 ~ August 16 :: Schedule of Events

Hi! It’s Eclipse Season again!

And I created a handy ‘Eclipse Season Schedule of Events’ to guide you through!

Eclipse Season encompasses a ~36 day period that occurs every 6 months and typically includes a pair of eclipses – both a new moon solar eclipse, and a full moon lunar eclipse.

This time around, we’ve got 3 eclipses coming our way this summer. 2x Solar Eclipses and 1x Lunar Eclipse! Lucky us!

Eclipse Season is a time of heightened change, transition, and intensity.

Eclipse Season begins when the Sun is within about 18 degrees of the Lunar Nodal axis – the South Node or the North Node (which is why it occurs twice a year, once at each end). Since the Nodal axis is in motion, moving in a backward direction and spending ~18 months in each sign, the placement of Eclipse Season in the calendar year, gradually changes.

Right now, because the Lunar Nodes are transiting the Leo-Aquarius axis, we have been experiencing eclipses around the time period when the Sun is in Aquarius early in the year (Jan/Feb), and when the Sun is in Leo during the summer (July/Aug).

Remember that eclipses hold different meaning and degree of significance for different people, and they can take up to 6 months for their meaning to fully bloom if they create important connections with your natal chart (although I often see correlations begin to unfold within a month or so). Regardless, you will still likely be aware of the general energy and themes of the eclipse in the days surrounding it – if not in your own life, then in the lives of others, or in the news.

That’s enough of a summary for now, because I’ve revised my Eclipse Primer to reflect the current season and included this detailed explanation below. As we encounter each eclipse week-by-week, I will try to go into more detail regarding the symbolic themes of each eclipse.

By the way, if you only read these blog posts on my website or receive them via email subscription and have wondered about the chunky uniform square images, it is because I prepare them that way in order to upload them on to Instagram 🙂 Pictures and diagrams are often the best way to demonstrate the astro, particularly in this case, and so I will rely on them heavily in this post.

Drum roll please…

This one, on July 12th, is just around the corner! I will discuss it in further detail over the week. The symbolic meaning of each eclipse and their intensity will depend on how they aspect your natal chart, which will be unique for everyone. However, on a global scale, I have ranked this eclipse the second most intense out of the three.

Why is there an eclipse in Cancer when the nodes are currently in Leo and Aquarius, you might ask? Well, it is only a partial eclipse because of its distance from the nodes, but since Cancer is right next to Leo, the Sun and Moon are still capable of conjoining for a New Moon Solar Eclipse within about 15-16 degrees of the North Node, in this case.

It might only be partial (meaning the Sun’s light is only partially blocked by the Moon crossing in front of it), but whoa. An exact opposition to Pluto, the mythic god of Hades in the very sensitive, nurturing, self-protective sign of Cancer?

It’s a New Moon, so it contains the dynamic of a new beginning… but it’s a new beginning whose freedom to grow is predicated on a difficult ending, confrontation, or moment of closure. It may require investigating some dark area, or on bringing to light some long hidden information, or finally finding the courage to face some deep repressed emotions or previously unconscious material.

Karmic justice can really catch up with us here, and if there is something/someone that needs to be gently released or immediately purged from your life, this is an opportune time. With Pluto and Cancer involved however, we are likely to be quite attached to, or guarded, about that which may be asking to be let go of.

The general atmosphere is likely to be rather intense and reactionary, as deep emotions and reactions (such as fear, paranoia, rage, grief, obsession or jealousy) come to the surface. Power struggles and family matters (particularly in relation to father-figures or authorities figures) may be front and center.

And yet the grand water trine from last week is still present, although fading, encouraging us to keep moving, keep swimming through the experience of our emotions. Furthermore, a grand earth trine featuring Venus + Ceres, Uranus + Juno, and Saturn in the three earth signs, is quite active throughout the week, helping us find some stability, grounding, and leading us toward practical action.

The Nodes will shift into the Cancer-Capricorn axis this November, so this Solar Eclipse is like a preview of that upcoming chapter.

This Lunar Eclipse has been identified as one of the biggest cosmic events of the year. It’s pretty dynamic!

As you can see, it is right up close with the Lunar Nodes, meaning it is a Total Eclipse. Depending on where you are in the world, you may be able to witness the Moon turning red as it passes through a direct opposition with the Sun and receives the Sun’s light refracted through the atmosphere of the Earth. This creates the phenomenon of what is called the Blood Moon in popular media, but if you want to use a less sensationalized title you can just call it a ‘Total Lunar Eclipse’. It’s the same thing.

Because of its proximity to the South Node, it is anticipated to be the longest lunar eclipse of the last 100 years.

Mars, as you likely know, is retrograde for the summer. This Full Moon (Total) Lunar Eclipse lands right next to Mars, around the middle of its retrograde journey, thus amplifying its message in a major way.

How have we learned to work more effectively and strategically with our energy, our passion, our willpower and our anger? It may be time to find out!

With Mercury stationing retrograde at the same time and the Lunar Eclipse squaring Uranus in Taurus, pausing before we react would be well-advised! It’s a little volatile, to be honest. And yet… if you’ve been yearning for a major break-through and a leap toward freedom, perhaps this Lunar Eclipse is for you.

Here’s the image I created to illustrate how the various players involved in this Lunar Eclipse T-square may interact with each other…

 

Looks exciting, no? Unless you are in a situation where you want to capitalize on its risky freedom-at-all-costs energy, it might be a good idea to play it safe with this one since the atmosphere will be so charged to begin with 🙂

Finally, here’s the last one of the three for the season…

 

This New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse feels like a baby eclipse compared to the other two, but remember that Mars Rx is still in that disruptive square to Uranus within only a 2 degree orb at the time of this eclipse. Mercury is still retrograde and it is also square Jupiter for the second time. The awkward quincunx to Pluto suggests that we may be struggling to perceive a root cause, struggling to let go of something, or to take the next step toward a transformation.

Interestingly Mars will shift back into Capricorn the next day as it nears its Stationing point at 28 degrees Capricorn. Opportunities to master foundation-building in our lives, may be at hand.

Here are my most important words of advice for this ~36 day period: Life through the filter of Eclipse Season can be experienced as far more intense or desperate than it may otherwise be at a different time (especially when weighty eclipses aspect your natal chart). Hang in there and do what you need to, to take care of yourself (and others) and stay grounded! Eclipse Season tends to look different in retrospect than it does when you are in the thick of it.


Last year I wrote a comprehensive Eclipse Primer for the summer eclipse season 2017, which focused on the ‘Great American Eclipse’ on August 21st, 2017. I’ve revised it to make it relevant for this season. There may be some repeated information with what I described above, but the content below is far more thorough.

The eclipse frenzy on social media can be a little overwhelming to say the least – both astro-related and otherwise! Everything from ominous and dire apocalyptic predictions, to enormously inspirational messages about how this is going to be the month when your life transforms beyond your wildest hopes and dreams.

When I first plugged into astrology news years ago, there was such intensity around eclipse reporting that I got the impression eclipses were this really rare event. And different types of eclipses certainly are rare and particularly significant at a global level – and some of them may make an unusually strong connection with our natal charts at an individual level. But I think it is important to note that eclipses (including partial eclipses) occur at least twice a year, six months apart. Eclipses may only be personally significant or life changing for you if they land within 2-3 degrees of a personal planet or point via a hard aspect like a square – or particularly the opposition and the conjunction.

That’s not to say you won’t feel the intense heightened energy during eclipse season – eclipses just might not have the same level of potent ripple effect in your life as they do for others or vice versa.

Here are all the nitty gritty details beginning with the absolute basics, up to more advanced descriptions of what is actually happening and how to interpret eclipses according to how they activate your natal chart. I hope you find it grounding and informative!

Here we go. I’ll take you through it in point form:

  • Eclipses can only occur at New Moons (i.e. Solar Eclipses) and Full Moons (i.e. Lunar Eclipses).
  • The Earth orbits around the Sun, and the Moon orbits around the Earth.
  • The Moon does not emit its own light. It only reflects the light of the Sun. Therefore, when the Moon is blocked from the Sun during the night, or the Moon gets in the way of the Sun’s light during the day – we can experience increased darkness here on Earth.
  • New Moon (Solar) and Full Moon (Lunar) Eclipses occur when there is a perfect alignment of all three celestial bodies – in other words, when they are in a perfect straight line on the same plane.
  • During a New Moon Solar Eclipse the alignment order is: Sun – Moon – Earth. The Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, blocking out the Sun’s light to some extent. From an astro perspective this means the Sun and Moon are conjunct in the same degree, in the same zodiac sign.
  • During a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse the alignment order is: Sun – Earth – Moon. The Earth is between the Moon and the Sun, and thus the Earth’s shadow darkens the Moon temporarily. From an astro perspective this means the Sun and Moon are opposite each other in opposing zodiac signs at the same degree.

 

solar and lunar eclipse

  • Not everyone on the planet will be able to witness a Lunar or Solar Eclipse in action when it occurs. It depends on whether the skies are clear, whether it aligns with the daytime hours (for a Solar Eclipse) or the nighttime hours (for a Lunar Eclipse), and whether your location allows you to view it at the right angle.
  • The Moon’s orbit is on a 5 degree tilt. If the Moon’s orbit were not tilted, it would perfectly line up with the Sun and every single New Moon and Full Moon would be an eclipse.
  • Imagine inserting one hula hoop into another so they are almost lined up, but on a slight angle to each other. There will be two opposing places where the hula hoops will cross. In astro terms one hula hoop is the Sun’s path around the Earth (called the ecliptic), and the other hoola hoop is the Moon’s path around the Earth.
  • The two opposing points where the Moon’s path intersects with the Sun’s path are called the Lunar Nodes. The Nodes are not physical objects, but rather, they are two gradually shifting mathematical points in space that, from an astrological perspective, are energetically activated when the Moon, Sun, or other planet intersects with them.
  • THE SUN’S PATH (the ecliptic): The Earth orbits the Sun, and not the other way around, but the predictable, gradual shift of the Sun’s position through our skies has an exact logic to it due to the fact that the Earth is positioned on a tilted axis while completing a 365-day orbit around the Sun. This creates varying seasons and weather conditions as the Sun moves closer to the Northern axis (toward the June solstice) and then back down toward the Southern axis (toward the December solstice). This “path” is divided into the 12 zodiac signs (Aries – Pisces) – through each of which, the Sun travels for about 30 days at a time, completing an entire rotation of the zodiac wheel every year.
  • THE MOON’s PATH: The Moon takes about 29 days to complete it’s orbit around the Earth and return to the New Moon position. Thinking back to the hula hoop example where the hula hoops intersect at two points, this means that during each monthly lunation cycle, the Moon’s path of orbit will intersect with the Sun’s path of orbit twice, every single month. This does not always produce an eclipse obviously, because an eclipse can only happen during the Full Moon or New Moon phase when the Sun is also near one of the Nodes and a straight line alignment occurs between the Sun, Moon, and Earth. For example, if the Moon passed this nodal point of intersection while at its first quarter phase, it would not be in a straight line alignment with the Sun and the Earth, and so we would not experience an eclipse.
  • The Moon symbolizes our embodied soul, our emotions, our deepest needs, and our subconscious desires, while the Sun symbolizes our purpose-driven, rational ego self that is seeking to self-actualize. So when the Moon’s orbit intersects with the Sun’s ecliptic, according to certain branches of astrology, symbolically our soul is intersecting with the call to manifest our purpose or destiny.
  •  The Descending Node (also called the South Node or Dragon’s Tail), is our comfort zone. The South Node represents an area of strength and ability, but also an area that asks for decrease, diminishment, surrender or release. The South Node is life content that is familiar and easy. In a static natal chart,this is an area where we have strong skills. If you believe in reincarnation, the South Node in our natal chart may represent previous life experiences where we were given the opportunity to perfect certain skills. Now it is time to move toward greater balance by integrating this area with the North Node’s life content. Although we don’t want to dismiss the South Node gifts, we also don’t want to get stuck there because this is when we can overdo it and its shadow sides could begin emerging in our life. By transit (rather than natal chart placement), the South Node can temporarily highlight an area of life where we need to practice release and let go.
  • The Ascending Node (also called the North Node or the Dragon’s Head) symbolizes the direction in which our soul longs to evolve toward. The North Node is like a magnet throughout our lives, always challenging us and pulling us forward in a particular direction for the next 18 months or so (by transit), and during our life time (according to the Nodes’ static placement in our natal charts). The North Node represents foreign, unfamiliar life territory for us. When we move toward the North Node we are out of our comfort zone. Life becomes a bit more uncomfortable as growing pains set in, but evolution and personal growth are worth it!

  • A New Moon or Full Moon eclipse can occur when the Sun is within about 18 degrees of either the South Node, or the North Node. The closer the Sun (and therefore by extension, the Moon) is to one of the Lunar Nodes, the more powerful an eclipse will be as the straight-line alignment between the Earth, Moon, and Sun becomes more exact.
  • There are three types of eclipses: Total, Annular, and Partial. Total Eclipses are the most dramatic and symbolically the strongest. Total Eclipses occur when the alignment is quite close to a node. Partial Eclipses are the weakest type of eclipse and occur when a Full Moon or New Moon alignment is farther away from the South or North node.
  • The Nodal Axis, the two points where the Moon’s path intersects with the Sun’s path (think of the two hula hoops touching), is not static (except in your birth chart). The Nodal Axis predictably shifts into a new set of opposing zodiac signs every 18 months. Right now the North Node is in Leo and the South Node is in Aquarius (Leo & Aquarius are directly opposite each other in the zodiac wheel).
  • Each zodiac sign is 30 degrees, and together the 12 zodiac signs form a 360° wheel (i.e. 12 x 30 degrees).
  • The Lunar Nodes move backwards (i.e. retrograde) through the zodiac ecliptic, beginning at 29° of each sign, working their way back to 0° before they shift into the next set of signs.
  • As the Lunar Nodes get closer to 0° Leo and Aquarius (over the course of 18 months), we begin having overlapping eclipses in the next set of opposing signs – Cancer and Capricorn – because an eclipse can occur whenever the Sun is within about 18 degrees of the Nodes, even if in a different zodiac sign. Susan Miller has published an easy-to-read eclipse table on her website, indicating when and where (in what sign) eclipses will occur between the years 1994 – 2030.
  • Because the Sun takes a year to orbit the Earth, it will cross the Lunar Nodes twice a year – once at the South Node, and again at the North Node about 6 months later.
  • Therefore, you’ll hear astrologers refer to these two time periods in a year, as ‘Eclipse Seasons’; an astrological contrast to our regular transitions through the seasons of Spring to Winter, etc. The Sun moves through the zodiac ecliptic at about one degree per day, and thus an Eclipse Season is said to last about 36 days – the period of time during which the Sun will either be within 18 degrees approaching the Nodes, or within 18 degrees moving away from the Nodes (i.e. 18° + 18°, at 1° per day = 36 days).
  • Whatever Full Moons and New Moons occur during ‘Eclipse Season’, they will arrive as a Solar or Lunar Eclipse. Most of the time, but not always, there will be both a Full Moon eclipse and a New Moon eclipse (occurring as a pair of eclipses, one arriving right after the other), and sometimes there will be up to three eclipses within one Eclipse Season of 36 days.

  • The criterion distance range or “orb” allowed for a Full Moon eclipse is narrower than it is for a New Moon Eclipse. For a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse to occur, the Sun and Moon need to be within at least 13° of the Nodes, rather than within the ~18° of distance from the Nodes that is permitted for a New Moon Solar Eclipse to occur.
  • For example, the New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, July 12th will occur with the Moon and Sun at 20°Cancer near the North Node in Leo. The Lunar nodes are currently at ~6° Aquarius and Leo. Therefore, since each sign is 30 degrees we have 10 degrees of Cancer + 6 degrees of Leo = ~16° distance between the New Moon conjunction and the North Node. The alignment needs to be tighter than this to be a Total New Moon Eclipse, but it still qualifies as a Partial New Moon Eclipse.
  • The Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on July 27th will occur with the Sun at 4° Leo and the Moon at 4° Aquarius, conjunct the South Node, which will still be at just less than 6° Aquarius at this time. Therefore, there is only about a 2° distance between the Full Moon and the South Node. This 2° distance indicates that this Full Moon will be a Total Lunar Eclipse, where the Moon will move into a near exact alignment with the Sun and the Earth, with the Earth in between them, blocking the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon.
  • As I mentioned, in general, eclipses themselves are not rare. Some form of Solar or Lunar eclipse (total, annular, or partial) will occur at least twice a year, at least six months apart, during the ~36 days of Eclipse Season when the Sun is within 18 degrees of the Lunar Nodes.
  • Some questions that are asked to determine whether an eclipse is globally significant or not, include: Is it a Total Eclipse? Total Eclipses are understood to be more powerful than a Partial Eclipse since they are closer to the Nodal Axis. From what countries or states will the eclipse be visible from? In other words, on what countries or parts of the world, is the shadow of the eclipse falling on? What Saros Series does this eclipse belong to and what has happened previously during an eclipse in this same series?
  • The Saros Series is complicated to fully describe here, but briefly: Each eclipse belongs to a Saros Series (Saros is a Greek word that means repetition or to be repeated). Each Saros Series of eclipses has a lifespan of about 1300 years. Each Saros Series is birthed at either the North Pole or the South Pole, and finishes at the opposite Pole after about 1300 years. There are always about 42 Saros Series active at one time. A Saros Series produces a New Moon Solar Eclipse about every 18 years. Each Eclipse in a Saros Series will jump forward about 10 degrees along the zodiac wheel when it occurs 18 years after the last Eclipse was produced in that particular Saros Series. Eclipses in any one Saros Series begin as Partial Eclipses and gradually become more Total as they reach their midlife point at the equator and conjoin the Nodal Axis (when a Saros Series is about 650 years old). They will then will begin petering out as successive Partial Eclipses near the end of their 1300 year life span toward the North or South Pole. In total, each Saros Series will produce about 72 Solar Eclipses over the course of its lifespan. *Huge thanks to Bernadette Brady whose wonderful book “Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark”, helped me finally understand how the Saros Series worked!
  • Therefore, one of the ways (although not the only way) the symbolic meaning of any eclipse can be probed, is to analyze the birth chart for the Saros Series it belongs to, and to reflect on the historical events in the past 18 year intervals that correspond with eclipses in the same series (at a global and personal level). Some Saros Series are more challenging than others.

  • When trying to determine what an eclipse might mean personally or globally, my advice would be to begin with the basic symbolism of the New Moon or Full Moon.
  • New Moons are beginnings. They are births. They are launches. They occur when either a) when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth and the Moon’s reflective surface is reflecting light back to the Sun, rather than reflecting the Sun’s light to the Earth at an angle (i.e. what happens at a regular New Moon), or b) when the Sun’s light is completely blocked by the Moon (as during a Solar Eclipse).  Either way, New Moons occur in the darkness, when we have a sense that something new is being seeded, but we aren’t always sure exactly what it is, or how it will grow. These can be hopeful, as well as confusing or disorienting times of change.
  • Full Moons are culminations. Story resolutions. Some life project we’ve been working on, or life journey we’ve been traveling, is now completed, finished. We have this sense that we’ve come full circle in regards to some issue in our life. Full Moons are like mountain peaks. We started climbing the mountain at the New Moon, and now we’ve reached the top. We can see our entire journey laid out behind us and we can now appreciate the big-picture view. At a Full Moon, the entirety of the Moon’s outline is illuminated by the Sun, which opposes it from the other side of the Earth. Only at a Full Moon can we enjoy the glorious splendor of the Moon majestically shining down on us with all its power. Even when the Earth’s shadow falls across the Moon during a Lunar Eclipse, the Moon is still at maximum strength in its apex position, facing off with the Sun.
  • In astrology, the Moon symbolizes our more sensitive, emotional selves that we may tend to hide as we live out our day-to-day lives beneath the Sun’s glare. Full Moons are known to be more emotional times because symbolically, here the Moon is at full strength. Any emotional content that we have tried to suppressed, is more likely to emerge spontaneously. In astrology, oppositions in the zodiac wheel are often projected, or resolved and integrated through relational dynamics. This is particularly true with the Sun and the Moon, our two key luminaries, representing important aspects of our personality. Therefore, relational themes abound during the Full Moon.
  • An eclipse is said to be like a New Moon or Full Moon on steroids, amplifying New and Full Moon themes. New Moon beginnings involve greater, more daring leaps toward a new direction and require more courage during a Solar Eclipse. Full Moon completions and culminations become more final, and can require more emotional stamina in order to release or bring closure to something at a Lunar Eclipse.
  • Now we need to combine the meaning of the Solar and Lunar Eclipses with the meaning of the Nodes (see image above for key words and phrases). Every new beginning follows an ending, so any New Moon Solar Eclipse (at the North or South node) could bring about an ending as well as a beginning (and vice versa for Full Moon Lunar Eclipses), but the point here, is that the placement of the nodes determine where the focus is placed.
  • For example, the year that I finished 10 years of University by finally completing my overdue thesis within a month of my Dad dying – both of which launched an existential/identity crisis – kicked off with a powerful Total New Moon Solar Eclipse near the South Node (at the critical and urgent 29th anaretic degree no less), within a few days of my birthday – thus within a few degrees of my Pisces Sun in the 8th House. This was a massively important transitional year for me. Yes, significant new beginnings in my life did occur from these endings, or following these endings, but with the Solar Eclipse occurring near the South Node, the focus at the time was on the rather painful and difficult process of releasing. A New Moon Solar Eclipse near the North Node, and thus still associated with a new beginning, would also likely involve some sort of “ending”, but here the focus is on gathering the courage and strength to step into something new, rather than a focus on what you are leaving behind and trying to let go of.
  • Once again, the eclipse on July 12th is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer near the North Node (in Leo)the eclipse on July 27th is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse near the South Node (in Aquarius), and the eclipse on August 11th is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Leo near the North Node. Therefore, the July 12th and August 11th eclipses are about transitions toward new beginnings that will require courage to break ground in a new direction. Whereas the July 27th eclipse will be about completing something, bringing something full circle, or the culmination of some issue in order to release it – and being a Full Moon it may be particularly relational in nature.
  • Now that we’ve combined the meanings of the moon phases (New Moon vs. Full Moon) with the meanings of the Lunar Nodes, and amplified the themes to match the increased intensity of eclipses, we can incorporate the particular meaning of the zodiac signs. There is plenty of accessible information online regarding each of the zodiac signs, but I’ll provide a few key words. With the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12th, as I mentioned, we could see themes related to home, family, birthing and creating, roots and origins, history, nationality, belonging, protection of vulnerable people and the need for emotional safety and secure relational attachment. With the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, questions, concerns, and culminations related to our group involvements and collaborations may emerge. Are we an outsider or an insider? Are we a leader or a follower? Are our group collaborations progressing effectively toward the hoped-for outcome, or are our group associations disintegrating? Do our group associations encourage and support our individuality, or do they suppress it? How much compromise is too much compromise? Finally, with the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Leo on Aug. 11th, there may be dominant themes related to our individual creative expression, our confidence, and the pursuit of our passions in the public sphere.
  • The ~36 days of Eclipse Season are likely to feel a bit restless, chaotic, tumultuous – and exciting! – as you and everyone around you feels the powerful change energies of eclipse portals opening up the potentials in the Nodal Axis. Eclipses (as well as regular Full Moons and New Moons) can also have a powerful impact on your body and overall health because of their intensity.
  • Eclipses are often described as portals because as the Sun or the Moon disappears into darkness and then re-emerges, symbolically and energetically one door closes and another door opens, and the Nodal axis is activated. Whether a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse or a New Moon Solar Eclipse, all eclipses involve light being (temporarily) blocked and obscured.

Applicable for those for whom a particular eclipse is highly relevant…

Symbolically it is as if, beneath a suddenly darkened sky, we blink confusedly and stumble for a few minutes, before our eyes begin to adjust to the darkness. Sacred mysteries, latent possibilities, and hidden secrets that were rendered invisible and impotent in the light, are now revealed in new ways. The light had to be extinguished in order to wean us from our reliance, our dependence on reality as it currently exists. Now we begin to perceive something deeper, below the surface of reality, something that we can only sense with our inner-most self, our soul and spirit. Greater truths are illuminated. Suppressed shadows loom large and refuse to be ignored any longer.

Eclipses can mark times of transition and change. Eclipses are moments when Fate and Freewill intersect and intimately link limbs in a magical, mysterious dance. We may be catapulted forward in a new direction. We may feel as though, after months of treading water, a gigantic wave has swept us up. We are now riding the crest; it’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.


How to apply this information to your Natal Chart and discern if an eclipse holds any special meaning for your life:

  • Eclipses can hold particular significance for an individual on a personal level based on 1) what house the eclipse is occurring in within their natal chart, and 2) if the eclipse occurs within about 3 degrees of a planet (particularly the personal planets – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) or sensitive angles (like the Ascendant or Midheaven) in their natal chart. If the eclipse is tightly squaring or opposing a personal planet or point in your chart, it could also be strongly experienced. If you have a personal planet or sensitive angle being activated by an eclipse (like I did when my Sun was activated by the March 2015 eclipse), you likely have a very eventful, life-changing or transitional 6+ months ahead of you. However, even if the eclipse is not activating a personal planet or point in your chart, the house-based themes that eclipses highlight in your chart throughout the 1–2 years it takes for the Nodal Axis to journey through an opposing house axis, will likely be very prominent for you during this time.
  • A note regarding the July 27th Lunar Eclipse conjunct the South Node: What I have foundis that the South Node “letting go process” is very dependent on how a particular person expresses, responds to, and lives out this area of their natal chart. Therefore, regardless of whether you have planets in Aquarius, what is Aquarius up to in your natal chart? What does Aquarius mean for you in your natal chart according to the house it rules and the placement of its ruling planet (Saturn according to traditional astrology, Uranus according to modern astrology)? What might “letting go” or “surrendering” mean to you in this area of your chart, in order to bring greater balance into your life, based on your current interaction with your chart’s Aquarius energy? Remember that “letting go” could also suggest the release of defensive resistance in that area of life.
  • Every Full Moon is both the peak of the 29-day moon cycle that began with a New Moon, as well as the culmination of New Moon seeds that were planted 6 months ago. The Sun takes 6 months to reach the other side of the zodiac. Full Moons occur when the Moon is opposite the Sun. This means that every New Moon in a zodiac sign, will correspond with the Full Moon in the same zodiac sign 6 months later.
  • So for example, the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius corresponds to the New Moon in Aquarius that occurred on February 15th, 2018. Do you see any connections between now and then? Because eclipses can bring new information to light and catalyze events, there may have been something that was confusing or obscured from view around the week of February 15th, 2018, that is now repeated or emerges in a new way for you, and can now be addressed. Or something that you had hoped would happen, but it didn’t come together at the time, and now it resolves itself.
  • Because of this 6-month growth period between the New Moon and the Full Moon in the same sign (and the 6-month period between a Full Moon and the next New Moon in the same sign), you may experience some immediate and surprising unexpected events during Eclipse Season (particularly if your natal chart is powerfully activated by the eclipses), but the true purpose of the eclipse energy released in your life, may only come to full fruition over the course of 6 months (with impacts potentially reaching much further). Eclipses are stones thrown into the cosmic pond, creating ripple effects across its starry surface. There may be a larger life story, that is about to unfurl over time.
  • Regardless of whether they are experienced as difficult challenges or blissful opportunities, all eclipses open up a window, a portal, for healing, for growth, for personal and global evolution. Ultimately, within a benefic view of the universe, eclipses are moving us forward, even if their logic and rationale appears unclear to us sometimes.

Two Ritual Suggestions for New Moons:

1) At each New Moon, eclipse or not, I first set some short-term goals that I want to achieve within the 14 days it takes for the Moon to transition to the Full Moon phase in the current lunation cycle. I set these goals based on the themes of the house the Moon will be highlighting in my natal chart at the time of the Full Moon;

2) Second, I write a letter to myself to be opened on the Full Moon in the same sign, 6 months later, documenting my reflections, hopes and dreams, related to the themes of the opposing house that the Sun will be highlighting in my natal chart in 6 months. So if the New Moon is occurring in my 1st house for example, I would write a letter to myself with the 7th house themes in mind – relationships and partnerships – because the Sun will be in the 7th House at the time of the corresponding Full Moon (with the Moon opposite the Sun back in the 1st House).

On December 22nd, 2018, we will experience a Full Moon in Cancer, which will correspond to the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12th, 2018. On January 21st, 2019, we will experience a Full Moon in Leo (a Total Lunar Eclipse), which will correspond to the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11th, 2018.

What would you hope for yourself and others, in 6 months time? Write down your reflections and seal up the letter!

 


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Quotes for a South Node Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

Today, February 15th, we arrive at the Solar Eclipse New Moon in Aquarius.

Aquarius, as I described in my last post, is associated with the independent outsider who goes against the mainstream current with its unconventional message of liberation. Aquarius is the exile and the rebel within us all – the part of us that always feels different and separate from others, no matter how many friends and genuine connections we have.

Paradoxically, Aquarius is also associated with group collaboration and mutual support in order to create a brighter future.

A healthy expression of Aquarius involves a striking a balance between insider and outsider status. Continue reading “Quotes for a South Node Solar Eclipse in Aquarius”

“Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together” :: Cosmic Weather Forecast for February 12th – 18th

How is this Dark Moon, in-between eclipses, feeling to you?

Decidedly uncomfortable, is my personal take on it.

On TUESDAY, Mercury in Aquarius (symbolizing thinking and communication)  squares Jupiter in Scorpio. Aquarius wants nothing but the blatant truth. Jupiter in Scorpio wants to increase the range of its mega spotlight until it encompasses all our secrets, hidden fears, and everything taboo. The square aspect creates some friction that could propel a rush of potent words up through our vocal chords and out through our mouths before we’ve had time to think them through. Continue reading ““Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together” :: Cosmic Weather Forecast for February 12th – 18th”

The Ouroboros & The Total Solar Eclipse

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Well. Here we are. On the brink of one of the most anticipated, most talked about, astrological and astronomical events of the year.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling bone weary. Exhausted; soul, body and mind. This dying Balsamic Moon has been pulling me under like a rip current the last few days.

The Solar Eclipse will be occurring in my first house, within a couple degrees of my Leo Ascendant. The Ascendant symbolizes the Eastern horizon at the time of your birth. It speaks to how you emerged from the womb to first greet the world. The sign (and planets) on the Ascendant in your natal chart describe both how others see you (the personality you exude, your physical appearance), and how you perceive others, your environment, and this life that you have found yourself in –  it colours the lens through which you see the world. The degree of your Ascendant is the intersection between you and the world. It is active and dynamic – a point of constant becoming. Continue reading “The Ouroboros & The Total Solar Eclipse”

An Eclipse Primer

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The eclipse frenzy on social media is a little overwhelming to say the least – both astro-related and otherwise! Everything from ominous and dire apocalyptic predictions, to enormously inspirational messages about how this is going to be the month when your life transforms beyond your wildest hopes and dreams.

When I first plugged into astrology news years ago, there was such intensity around eclipse reporting that I got the impression eclipses were this really rare event. And different types of eclipses certainly are rare and particularly significant at a global level – like the long-awaited Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st. But I think it is important to note that eclipses (including partial eclipses) occur at least twice a year, six months apart. Eclipses may only be personally significant or life changing for you if they land within 2-3 degrees of a personal planet or angle. That’s not to say you won’t feel the intense heightened energy during eclipse season – eclipses just might not have the same level of potent ripple effect in your life as they do for others or vice versa.

I hope to publish a post later about the symbolism of the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius (since as some of you know, I’m a little obsessed right now with analyzing the Leo-Aquarius axis; my natal chart horizon line), but before I do that, here are all the nitty gritty details beginning with the absolute basics, up to more advanced descriptions of what is actually happening and how to interpret eclipses according to how they activate your natal chart. I hope you find it grounding and informative!

Here we go, in point form:  Continue reading “An Eclipse Primer”