We now enter the final chapters of the cardinal crisis. Four of the five outer planets have transited the solstice and equinoctial points this past summer. It is now time for the lunar nodes to cross these same points. We now begin a period where the World Axis will be forced open, ejecting its inner contents and forcing all the world to become aware of the loss. This is because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time. At the December 21st South Node lunar eclipse, the Moon is at 29º21’ Gemini, conjunct the World Axis (0º Cancer), suggesting both a personal and collective loss.
To appreciate the power of an eclipse, it is useful to understand that time on earth is fractal. It is measured by the constant repetition of the primal alternations of darkness and light. This rhythm of dark/light is ingrained into our bodies and psyches.
When there is a disruption of this pattern, via an eclipse, the natural flow of the dark/light fractal is stopped in its tracks. There is darkness where there should be light. It is as if the laws of our universe are temporarily inverted. The world is stood on its head, specifically in terms of the archetype within which the eclipse is operating.
Astronomically, an eclipse occurs when there is a lunation near the lunar nodes — the place where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun i.e., the ecliptic. Astrologically, the lunar nodes have been called the head and tail of the dragon, for in myth it was seen as a demonic serpent swallowing the heavenly orb. The North Node represents the head of the dragon, and therefore something being taken in or ingested, as opposed to something being released or excreted at the South Node or tail of the dragon.
In a TMA blog about the South Node solar eclipse earlier this year, this astrologer wrote that South Node eclipses have often brought an end to things and have marked the final stages of major hostilities. It is the nature of a South Node eclipse to thus facilitate the end of something. Generally, the Moon is said to govern domestic matters, the people and emotions, so a lunar eclipse tends to have a more personal effect than the solar eclipse, which has a distinctive socio-political effect. Also, since the lunar eclipse is by nature an opposition, it has the tendency to work itself out via the relationships with other people in our lives. However, with the nodes now transiting the World Axis, it is possible that this eclipse could have equally powerful personal and socio-political effects.
This total lunar eclipse is intense, to say the least. It could be said to rival the cardinal cross lunar eclipse on June 26 (at 4º46’ Capricorn) in intensity. Even though Saturn is no longer involved with the autumnal equinox point, Juno is taking his place. This brings the relationship theme into sharper focus. Jupiter and Uranus are now direct, and applying to their last crossing of the vernal point (0º Aries), so this represents the potential for dramatic new beginnings to come if we are able to clear the space for them now.
Total lunar eclipse: Dec. 21, 2010; 3:13 am EST; for Washington, DC
Tropical zodiac, Whole Sign Houses
So how can we effectively clear space for the future amidst the potential for emotional chaos that this lunar eclipse represents? In this astrologer’s view, it would be by focusing on the personal planets and how they are involved in the chart. The personal planets represent the basic tools we have as individuals to cope with the emotional and psychological ramifications of this emotional purging.
The first thing we should notice is that the ruler of the eclipse is Mercury, which is retrograde. Therefore, the best tool we have is our ability to check our communications with each other for accuracy. This may seem so obvious as to be silly, but as a trained counselor I have learned that there are some basic communication skills which I remind my clients of all the time and which go a very long way to making stressful situations more manageable. The main skill we need to remember is to check our perceptions. By saying something like, “So, what I hear you saying is _____” , we are practicing a counseling skill called reflective listening. This reflecting back of what we heard the other person say is vitally important in clarifying any misperceptions before going out and acting on them.
The next personal planet that stands out is Venus, who is angular when the lunar eclipse horoscope is cast for Washington, D.C. Venus in Scorpio is making the same Arrowhead or Thor’s Hammer alignment that she made — from Leo — in the lunar eclipse earlier this year (on June 26). She is making the tri-octile or sesqui-square aspect to both ends of the square between Jupiter-Uranus and the Moon. There are basically two ways to see this energy flow. Some astrologers view this configuration like the t-square, with the energy originating in the tension of the square planets (in this case, Jupiter-Uranus and the Moon) and finding an outlet through the apex planet (in this case, Venus). This means we must use the apex planet, Venus, to find creative solutions to the square, or the tension of the square could erupt suddenly and perhaps destructively. This perspective reflects the use of this configuration as a tool like an Arrowhead.
The Moon-Uranus square holds the signature of emotional trauma resulting from having to deal with sudden changes. The Moon-South Node conjunction is about processing and getting over a loss of some kind (both personal and collective), so that we may get on with truly living. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, applying to the Aries point, challenges each of us to be like “Lucky Lindy” (who crossed the Atlantic solo under the last such alignment) and seek to pilot our lives across some previously uncharted terrain in order to open a new realm of experience for both ourselves and the coming generations. Venus as the apex, or focal, planet of this square says that as we do these things, we can serve as a model for others. By sharing our personal stories, struggles, and adventures, we can assist others in slicing like an arrowhead through their own emotional morass.
Others see the energy flow of this configuration as originating with the apex planet (Venus, in this case). This image is more like a Hammer. Venus, then, must find a way to wield the power and dynamic energy of the square planets. We need to find a way to use this constructively and creatively, or the energy can become destructive. A hammer can either be used to crush an object or to drive home a connecting agent, such as a nail or dowel. Perhaps Venus as the hand on this hammer can represent emotional leadership and the power of personality being harnessed by some to serve as a mentor for others. The Mentor is an archetypal figure who shows up early in the Monomyth and gives the hero/ine the tools, knowledge, and confidence required to overcome his or her fear and face the unknown, to accept the adventure. (1)
After appearing in the pre-dawn eastern sky a little more than a month ago, Venus has now reached her maximum brightness in the sky. In the corresponding Sumerian myth of Inanna, this is where she takes up her crown and goes to see the God of wisdom, Enki. Like a mentor, Enki gives her sacred powers for her journey as Queen. Later in the myth, Inanna turns “from the great above to the great below.” (2) This is the beginning of Inanna’s famous descent to the Underworld where she passed through seven gates and was stripped of her royal regalia (which symbolize her ego attachments). These seven gates symbolize the seven waning crescent Moons encountered by Venus between her maximum brightness and her eventual disappearance from visibility near her superior conjunction with the Sun. (3) In this cycle, Venus makes the first of these lunar conjunctions on December 30.
Over the next seven months, therefore, we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the enormous power of this South Node lunar eclipse for personal growth. As Venus becomes dimmer and lower in the sky at each successive lunar conjunction, we can also shed layers of our old emotional/feminine identity. By next June the North Node lunar eclipse will be bringing new energy for us to incorporate and digest. If, like Inanna, we have made the descent and been stripped of superficialities, then we will have plenty of emotional space for this new energy to dwell while we seek to find ways to integrate it. As the Tao te Ching advises, “Bend and you will be whole. Keep empty and you will be filled.”
References & Recommended Reading:
(1) J. Campbell, (1988), The Hero With A Thousand Faces, London, Fontana Press.
(2) From personal conversation with Shamanic astrologer Daniel Giamario, who shared with me the following reference:
Clyde Hostetter, (1991), Star Trek To Hawa-ii, San Luis Obispo, CA, Diamond Press.
(3) D. Wolkstein and S. Kramer, (1983), Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth; Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, New York, Harper and Row.
S.B. Perera, (1981), Descent to the Goddess, Toronto, Inner City Books.
Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream, where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary holds a degree in Counseling and has developed a unique multidisciplinary path to Astrology over 17 years. Visit Gary at his website: DreamAstrologer