Eclipse of the Heart


Everybody I know is heavy’d-out right now, which I see as very encouraging. It’s Eclipse Season. If you’re feeling the intensity permeating the atmosphere it means you’re not shut down.

The first lunation of this series was at the Solstice last month, when the Sun was in its full-throttle summer dignity. (The word solstice derives from the Latin [sol]+ stare [to stand]. For one moment, the Sun appears to be standing stock still: just hanging there in the sky, staring us down. This idea is thrilling to me). Cancer was just beginning.

Then came the lunar Eclipse of July 7th. Those who use the Moon to track the arc of their personal lives will have noticed that this was when the events of the previous two weeks came to a head.

Next is the Eclipse of July 21st /22nd (Tuesday 7:36 pm PDT; Wednesday 3:35 am GMT) at the tail end of Cancer. This is our second chance this summer to get it right.

All New Moons mark a beginning. They are great for timing prayers and rituals, per the ancient premise that declaring our intentions at the start of a cycle determines how the rest of that cycle will play out. This summer’s Big Beginning was the June New Moon that served as the template for the whole season. July’s New Moon is sort of a back-up beginning, giving us a shot at incorporating what we didn’t know at the Solstice… but we do know now.

The July 21st Eclipse has extra power for other reasons, too. Because of its unusual proximity to the lunar nodes, mundane astrologers expect more from it (especially in Asia, which receives its arc of visibility). And it is the longest Eclipse so far this century.

This is not a prompt to duck under the covers and hide. I do hope we have banished from our worldviews that kind of superstitious thinking; although astrologers ourselves tend to lapse into it especially where eclipses are concerned. We may joke, “Oh man, I’m staying in bed that day” with an apologetic giggle that signals we know it’s a cop-out to make bogeymen out of planetary configurations.

Thickening the plot is the fact that Tuesday’s Eclipse coincides with a Venus-Saturn square. Time to identify any rigidity that might have set in where matters of the heart are concerned. Now, before you catch your breath in worry or self-censure, remember that this aspect applies to everyone who’s ever tried to relate to another human being. Getting ourselves stuck in a rut with friends, lovers, family or colleagues is an utterly universal condition.

To give us plenty of opportunities to identify the theme in question, transits operate on collective and individual levels at once. The public realm mirrors the private, and vice versa. Consider how American pop culture creates a celebrity poster child for every crisis. As we watch some hero or anti-hero either triumph or melt down, we get a chance to learn what to do, or what not to do. Either by role modeling or default, either by contemplating or gawking, ideally the mass mind will learn vicariously what the cosmos wants it to learn.

The recent epidemic of GOP sex scandals was a prime example of the As-Within-So-Without principle in action. Mark Sanford’s high jinks corresponded with a riff of Venus-Mars-Vesta transits that began around the Solstice and will enter a new phase at the July 21st Eclipse. Especially if you have planets around 18 degrees of any of the mutable signs, you too may be experiencing something of what our Republican brothers, now in the doghouse, have been mirroring back to the collective.

Let this not be a cause for panic. It is not as if some innocuous relationship transgression from the past will suddenly trigger a loss in your life tantamount to risking the governorship of a fine Southern state. Keep in mind that transits do not make anything happen; they are not causative phenomena. Saturn will never inflict upon us anything that our own karma did not first set up, nor will its manifestations involve any greater severity than our learning curve requires.

The Eclipse square is a teaching about the challenges of the heart. The key, of course, is not to take it personally. Saturn is trying to get us to be realistic about an arena of our life that may be riddled with self-deception. The transit is simply reminding us what each of us already knows in our more sober moments: that even in the best of circumstances, relationships are a minefield.

It doesn’t have to be difficult if you remember that it’s not supposed to be easy.

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2 comments
m.p.k
m.p.k

Ultimately this eclipse was very liberating... I was able to let go some relationship patterns and expectations that hindered my independence. It definitely wasn't a comfortable process but it was positive.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I am very inrested in these kind of stories,I just wish they would have more like this,because alot of pepole both young and old. Shirley