July 30th, 2008

New Moon Watch: The Eclipse that Brings Relief

The new moon on August 1, 2008 is a solar eclipse. Eclipses have a bad reputation. This is related to the days when only kings and queens had their horoscopes prepared — and what might befall a ruler meant the entire village was going to catch hell in some way.

The fact that an eclipse involves an astronomical exactitude can, for humans, translate into a feeling of pressure or force that impacts our ascending or descending alignment, the toggle between sleep and consciousness.

In astrology, how things appear is just as important as how things actually are situated in the sky. So the appearance of the moon moving across the sun’s face, darkening him in the process, has a particular effect on us, especially for those able to physically witness the eclipse.

The eclipse event is anachronistic. It tweaks our cellular memory — the reptilian/mammalian part of the brain which has sensed the darkening from eclipses for eons. Imagine animals experiencing an eclipse. The oddness about the light waning. The eerie stillness. Things slow down externally, and a kind of wary watchfulness predominates. Think of the Moon card in the Tarot. Dreams confound, longings and desires feel jammed. Visions, imaginings intensify. It’s all about amplification and then movement — either backwards or forwards; decay or growth.

The early-century occultist Rudolph Steiner had a wild theory about eclipses and I’ll share it here because it’s so fascinating. This is from Dennis Elwell‘s brilliant book Cosmic Loom:

He said they serve as safety valves, a solar eclipse carrying out into space the evil that spreads over the earth, so that it might work its havoc in a less concentrated sphere. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, allows evil thoughts present in the cosmos to approach those humans who are willing to be possessed by them.

Kind of creepy. But the point here, if we move away from the moralistic tone, is that eclipses shift or tilt the balance between solar and lunar properties, and how we as humans express those qualities. The solar eclipse, which we’ll experience on Friday, at 10 degrees of Leo, is a cleansing eclipse. Involving freshness, the pristine vision after love makes everything new. I’ll talk more about this later.

For me, eclipses are easier to comprehend within the Gurdjieffian cosmology. Where the moon is associated with emotional habits that promote somnambulism, a sort devolution if you will. The sun is associated with conscious awareness, being present, aware of the moment; not pulled towards the past, as the lunar impulse represents.

If our momentum through life is towards the lunar, the habituated, ‘dead’ part of our psyche, the influence of the lunar eclipse will heighten and complicate this drift. Contrary to the impetus of a solar eclipse. Our solar expression involves the generation of higher substances, developed through self-remembering, conscious suffering and application of aim and will — processes that assist the Sun and move us in an ascending arc, towards the solar or awakened state.

So an eclipse corresponds to an intensification — either a crisis point or breakthrough moment — within the dynamism (how we experience the flow of reality) of life. We’re always moving, constantly, in one direction or the other. If it’s backwards, the moon benefits. If forward, the sun.

Friday’s solar eclipse occurs at 10 degrees Leo. The Sun, being in its own sign, overpowers the lunar impulse, the preservation of the established (read this however you will as it relates to your life). Occurring in Leo the eclipse aligns our consciousness with love and how love is an expression of our will. This is tricky to understand, because we normally associate will with gritting our teeth and making things happen. True will is a function of love, a movement toward our heart’s desire. That movement is called will, in the Leo sense.

Another symbol for Leo is the child. The innocence of the child, the fresh, pristine quality of mind that is the child’s. How to best activate this in your life? Also self-expression, how each of us are a unique manifestation of the creative principal in life. As this is a new moon we can expect a new fiat to be sounded. Meaning, conditions in our life are demanding a certain type of loyalty at this time. A steadfastness towards a goal or aim. Do you have an aim you are ready to activate? Do it now. The key or way through is courage.

The Sabian Symbol that’s made dominant now, for 10 degrees Leo, according to Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation is: Early morning dew sparkles as sunlight floods the field.

He writes: “The exalted feeling that rises within the soul of the individual who has successfully passed through the long night which has tested his strength and faith.”

If we’ve been bogged down, lackluster, rat-wheeling it for the last month or so, the eclipse on Friday ushers in a favorable moment to step out of the darkened room, into the sunlit field. The movement is towards the outside, fresh air, nature; a stepping out from the oppressive weight of our familiar, inner (lunar) rhythm. That ‘room of our own’ that can become dungeon-like.

Carpe diem!

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