Astronomically, an eclipse occurs when there is a lunation near the lunar nodes — the place where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun, the ecliptic. Astrologically, the lunar nodes have been called “the head and tail of the dragon,” for in Chinese 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.
Currently the North Node resides in the sign of Capricorn. That’s why this astrologer wrote (in a TMA blog) about the North Node Solar Eclipse that happened earlier this year: “We begin a period where the Capricorn archetype will be torn open, erupting its dark shadow contents and forcing all the World to see.” I later noted that that particular Solar Eclipse (i.e., January 15) and the first eclipse of its family or Saros series both contained Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions. Just after transiting Chiron crossed the eclipse chart’s Jupiter (29º23’ Aquarius) and made his ingress into Pisces, we had the Deepwater Horizon event where the dark contents of Big Oil and corporate/government scandal were rudely thrust into the Gulf of Mexico.
It is the nature of a North Node eclipse to force something into awareness, and often this is something uncomfortable, what psychologists would call “shadow material.” Note that an eclipse is by nature a phenomenon of shadows. 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, as we have seen, 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.
The lunar eclipse on June 26 (4º46’ Capricorn) is a really intense one, to say the least. It could be said to represent roughly the lunar equivalent of the “Nostradamus” solar eclipse of 1999, which contained a grand cross in the fixed signs. Venus crossed the degree of that eclipse on September 11, 2001 as the Twin Towers fell. We might say then that this lunar eclipse has the capacity for emotional paradigm change in a similar way as the 1999 solar eclipse had in the socio-political arena. The main difference is that this grand cross is in cardinal signs and so represents the potential for new beginnings or emotional re-birth rather than awareness of something (such as terrorism) becoming fixed into the socio-political fabric.
Lunar eclipse; June 26, 2010; 7:31 AM EDT; Washington, D.C. (77W02’ 38N42’)
Geocentric, tropical, whole sign houses
So how are we supposed to handle the immense potential for emotional paradigm change 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 social and transpersonal planets are certainly heavily involved, but, to this astrologer, they simply represent that we each now have to deal with the obvious fact that all our modern conveniences come at the very high price of dependence on a highly technological and toxic oil-driven economy. The personal planets represent the basic tools we have as individuals to learn to cope with the emotional and psychological ramifications of this rude awakening.
The first thing we should notice is that the personal planet closest to the cardinal axis is Mercury. Therefore, the best tool we have is our ability to communicate with each other. This may seem so obvious as to be silly, but, as a trained counselor, I’ve learned that communication skills are not always something we value as a society. Interpersonal communication is not taught in our public school system, at least not until the post secondary level, and even then it is usually an elective. There are some very basic communication skills that I always remind my clients of, which go a long way to making stressful situations more manageable.
The first skill we need to remember is to make “I” statements. Starting a sentence with “you” is like pointing the finger; nobody likes it and most people will naturally become defensive. The second thing is to be clear when we’re talking about feelings versus objective facts. It’s important to do both, but if the other person is talking about facts when we’re talking about emotions, we’re are not really having a conversation but just talking “at” each other. Some people have trouble talking about feelings. A good formula for making feeling statements is as follows: I feel ____ (name an emotion) when you ____ (name a behavior) because ____ (name the effects the behavior has or could have on you). An example would be: “I feel angry and scared when you drive carelessly because I love my family and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them.” I trust the reader can see how that would begin a much more productive conversation than: “You are a terrible driver!”
The next personal planet that stands out is Venus. Venus in Leo is making the same Arrowhead, or Thor’s Hammer, alignment that Mars made from Leo earlier this year. She is making the tri-octile or sesquisquare aspect to both ends of the massive square between Jupiter-Uranus and Moon-Ceres-Pluto. As I wrote in these pages about that formation, 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 Moon-Ceres-Pluto) 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 destructively. This perspective reflects the use of this configuration as a tool like an arrowhead.
The aforementioned square holds the clear signature of huge emotional trauma over our Planet being carelessly despoiled by corrupt profiteers. However, I would also venture to say that it serves as a window to much deeper and more personal feelings. Demeter’s Eleusinian mysteries were a rite of passage that gave people an awareness of the possibility of pleasant conditions in the afterlife (when they reached the realm of Hades). So, in many ways, the Moon-Ceres-Pluto conjunction is about recognizing, confronting, and getting over our fear of death (both personal and that of our civilization), so that we may get on with truly living. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction at the Aries point challenges each of us to be like Charles Lindbergh, “Lucky Lindy” (who crossed the Atlantic solo under the last such alignment), and 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 both these things, we can serve as a model for others. By sharing our personal stories, struggles, and adventures, we can help assist others in slicing like an arrowhead through their own emotional morass.
Other astrologers 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 immense 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 to champion the causes whose needs become more and more apparent to us all in times like these.
Finally, there is a very close conjunction of Mars and Vesta. Recently I wrote about this extensively in my own Soul Sign Horoscopes blog. In brief review, this represents the purging and release of old ways that are outworn and clearly not working. As we are brave enough to let go of our hold on the habits of the past, we make room in our lives for something new to emerge. The immense power of this lunar eclipse is such that the new things that emerge may be powerfully liberating — in much greater proportion than that which we released. On a practical level, this purging can be achieved in any number of ways. I will give some examples, but I recommend readers use their imagination and trust their own instincts and judgment. On the physical level this could mean fasting, sweating, and other cleansing exercises. On an emotional level this could mean spending time alone and becoming still and quiet. On a mental level, this could mean identifying the old stories we tell ourselves to rationalize the way life is and not repeating them if they don’t really feel true anymore. On a spiritual level this could be some sort of ritual where we give away something symbolically representative of the past.
Over the next six months we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the enormous power of this eclipse for personal growth. Mercury, Venus, and Mars all hold the keys to how we can do this. All three planets will be hanging out in the western sky this summer. Gazing upon them occasionally in the evening at dusk is a way we can check in with ourselves and gauge our progress on this journey of becoming.
Gary P. Caton is an eclectic astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach to spiritual growth, exploration and transformation. Gary holds a degree in counseling and has developed a unique multi-disciplinarian approach to Astrology over 17 years. Connect with Gary at DreamAstrologer.com