June 01st, 2011

Gemini New Moon Eclipse: Figure it Out For Yourself


It’s the perfect moment to learn something new. Consider it a Gemini-like experience for tonight’s New Moon eclipse in the sign of the Twins.

Astrology takes events, both mathematical and apparent (like the ‘appearance’ of the Sun moving around the Earth) and translates those ciphers and symbols into a kind of meaning, narrative or — better yet — poem. This sounds cryptic for non-astrologers, but it needn’t be. If you go step by step with the syntax (New Moon [eclipse] + Gemini =) you can derive your own meaning. Ultimately this level of understanding is more satisfying, more so than anything I could try to scrawl here. And really, with Gemini as the featured theme reverberating through the cosmos tonight, I couldn’t write this any other way.

First, study the components of an eclipse. In this case, a partial solar eclipse: The disc of the Moon moves in front of the disc of the Sun, causing a shadow to fall on the Earth. Right there you’ve a tremendous image to work with. Not to sound too Oprah-like, but how does that image make you feel? It’s primal, magnificent and humbling. The picture of an eclipse touches the deep sinew of our brain stem. That head space where primordial instincts hum and throb. A kind of ‘Dark of the Sun’ lunacy. So it’s not an ordinary New Moon tonight — it comes with a ‘charge.’

The Sun is radiance, heat, life-sustaining light. The solar orb — a star unto itself — supports life for all of the various bodies within its system. It’s the heart of this particular plot of space that we occupy. So the Sun could be said to correspond to your heart, that organ that radiates/circulates vitality throughout your body. You can also consider, too, your ‘heart’s desire,’ what you feel is valuable — that too would be mirrored by the literal Sun.

So the Moon has moved in front of the heart. Now, find your ‘inner Moon.’ What’s that about?

You’re familiar with the lateralization of the brain, yes? The whole ‘left brain/right brain’ division. The Moon relates to the right half of the brain, the irrational part of our nature. Mercury is associated with the left side of the brain, the expression that’s rational; that studies differences, makes comparisons and divides life into categories. Mercury and the left brain prefer talking and writing, whereas the Moon likes to draw, paint, compose, daydream or just lay on the couch and stare off into space — waiting and watching. Mercury is active and mercurial — when you touch a blob of mercury it divides itself in half (or thirds or fourths). Mercury doesn’t yield or ‘give’ the way water does. The Moon’s element is water. Accepting, allowing and reflective. And the right side of our brain is this way too.

So the Sun (our heart) aligns with the Moon (our reflective, yielding, dreamy, tender mind) in an eclipse. An eclipse denotes a level of exactitude that is so specific that the body of the Moon actually prevents a ration of the Sun’s radiance from illuminating the Earth. In ancient days this kind of shade-throwing was considered ominous. But olden cultures were more patriarchal. Lunar activities were dangerous as they were feminine in nature: watching, waiting, longing, reflecting weren’t valued like planning and pushing and pounding — action-based activities. So really an eclipse allows a very focused and exact blending of our heart and our reflective mind. Now, where that takes place in space (both outer and inner) will give you the final clue you need to compose your poem for tonight.

The Zodiac is not an accidental menagerie of images. Each sign represents a part of a cycle that is universal to all of reality. To all living beings. For the astrologer this circle is projected onto the heavens and through this projection the astrologer learns to align her humanness with the divine. Nicholas Campion explains it like this: “A zodiac does not have to be in the sky; ancient and medieval mystics believed that the principles embodied in the twelvefold zodiac occurred throughout nature, and that individuals contained the zodiac within themselves.” So the Zodiac is like a hologram, it is everywhere and contains everything simultaneously. And what each section (or sign) demonstrates is function as a particular style.

Think about twins. The philosopher Ivor Morrish writes: “Twins…have always been regarded as something special and, if not related directly to divinity, yet as possessing some unusual power or mana which works in opposition, rather like the positive or negative forces of electricity or the north and south poles of a magnet.”

So we know that tonight’s eclipse is going to have a Gemini style about it. It’s going to involve the mystery and magic of opposites. With the Twins we are back in Mercury’s domain — the left side of the brain. So do the math. The heart and the imagination are able to align with a part of the self that is usually the most divisive. Gemini works to differentiate and divide — by highlighting opposites — so as to best understand the way the world works. Not a problem really, except when that particular push confronts the need to settle and define this, that or the other. This explains Gemini’s childlike aura. Children don’t have the same approach or worldview that adults have (that would be something generated by the Cancerian style — the first parental sign that follows Gemini in the circle).

When I think of Gemini I think of Jung‘s archetype of the puer, the eternal youth. James Hillman says of this type of expression: “The puer…understands little of what is gained by repetition and consistency, that is, by work, or of the moving back and forth, left and right, in and out, which makes for subtlety in proceeding step by step through the labyrinthine complexity of the horizontal world. These teachings cripple its winged heels, for there, from below and behind, it is particularly vulnerable. It is anyway not meant to walk, but to fly.”

The opposite of the horizontal is the vertical, and it is this realm that suits Gemini best. But the vertical is only discovered once the realm of opposites is understood and reconciled. If the horizontal represents the passage of time, the vertical realm shows us the timeless. The eternal now.

So today’s eclipse in Gemini offers a profound alignment of the heart and the imagination with freedom. Not escape — which implies duality again — a restriction that must be moved away from — but simply freedom. The freedom to be. The specifics to this koan I’ll leave for you to decipher. But by all means allow yourself to fly — don’t trudge — through your composition. Ultimately the Twins teach us that through differences and specifics, we are able to fully appreciate the splendor and myriad detail of the creation.

Or as Tao Te Ching says:

“It is from the unnamed Dao
That Heaven and Earth sprang;
The named is but
The Mother of the ten thousand creatures.”

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