Eclipses have a bad reputation. This relates 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 suffer or succeed as well.
The fact that an eclipse involves an astronomical exactitude can, for individuals, translate into a sense of pressure that triggers increased or diminished awareness. In other words, a lunar eclipse like tonight’s illuminates what is sending you to sleep— distancing you from the awakened state.
Eclipses are anachronistic. Dimmed lunar light tweaks cellular memory — that reptilian/mammalian part of the brain which winds through our DNA like a tendril. Dreams unhinge, longings feel jammed-to-bursting. Again, it’s about the amplification of awareness — how it ascends or descends — and what that sets off in our habitual nature.
Kind of creepy. But the point here, if we move away from the goofy moralistic tone, is that eclipses shift or tilt the balance between solar and lunar properties, and how we as humans align with those impressions via intention or choice or accident.
Eclipses are easier to comprehend, in a practical way, if viewed through the lens of Gurdjieff‘s cosmology. Where the Moon is associated with emotional habits that support sleep-walking, a kind of devolution. And the Sun is linked to awareness, concentrated presence, a quality of one-pointedness that is very ‘now’-oriented; not retro-pulled towards old memories or conventional ways of being.
If momentum in one’s life is towards the Moon — a calcification of the psyche — a lunar eclipse heightens this dilemma. A solar eclipse does the opposite — assists the ascending solar arc towards the awakened state.
So, what of Libra, the sign in which the Sun is situated during tonight’s eclipse? Read more
It’s time to talk about time.
The four cardinal signs of the zodiac — Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn — all of which are active during tonight’s Full Moon — have jurisdiction over the experience of time. As the place holders of the four seasons, the cardinal signs push time forward (in the spring and fall) and rearrange time (in the summer and winter) when time ‘stops,’ as the Sun changes its course during the solstice. Read more
You’ve no doubt heard about tomorrow’s Full Moon SuperMoon. What’s that about exactly?
Occasionally the Moon misses the Earth a little too much and decides to move a bit closer to us during her new or full phase. That’s what will happen tomorrow. Astronomers call this a lunar perigee. But a guy named Richard Nolle coined the term SuperMoon to describe the proximity. You can read his explanation here — a nice clarification because it dispels a lot of misinformation about the SuperMoon too.
Because of the curve of the Earth (and the crazy curve of your mind during a Full Moon), the SuperMoon appears gigantic once she’s slid above the magnifying effect of the horizon. She’s so humongous that you start to worry that your roof will be damaged as Luna glides across the night sky. That’s a metaphor, actually, to let you know that this Full Moon might take the top of your head off. Read more
One of my favorite Van Morrison songs is called Fire in the Belly. A song that celebrates a new love and lease on life. Van enthuses: “Stoke up my engine, bring me my driving wheel/Once I get started you’ll see just how I feel.” But then, as if from a forgotten footnote, a warning arises in the chorus: First, we have to “get through January”, and then “get through February.” Oh, right. Spring is a couple of months away. Now what?
That chorus acknowledges slogging. What this time of year can feel like for some of us. The Winter Solstice, with its promise of increased light, has come (and gone). Christmas has peaked; and that quiet, prolonged communal ‘time out’ within December is spent. While the excitement and promise of a New Year has — admit it — started to wane.
So where are we exactly?
T.S. Eliot wrote about this lull and called it ‘midwinter spring.’ As if this period were its own customary time of the year. From the section titled Little Gidding in his Four Quartets, he describes this seasonally ambiguous zone:
What a mysterious notion: “This is spring time but not in time’s covenant.” Time has been rearranged. Taken out of phase. And this is what the Sun’s passage through Aquarius and Pisces mirrors within our private and communal experience. We’re in time but also not in time. Here. But not here. Haven’t you noticed this lately? You start something but then feel the urge to take a nap moments later — and forget about the whole project. Or you find yourself focused and channeling your muse at the oddest moments of the evening. Forget going back to bed. Time feels one step removed.
If you need an image: Picture a bear deep in hibernation. Asleep, but so much mysteriously at work in the dream and nature realm. Midwinter spring redefines corporeal time; and fosters our ability to imagine and cull insight from what the Buddhists call Great Time, or the Eternal Now. The experience of time as singular; a one-pointed dynamism — free from the divisions of past, present and future. It is Great Time that Eliot explores through myriad poetic permutations in Four Quartets. The most cryptic of which appear in Little Gidding.
The two signs of the Zodiac that mirror the reality of Great Time are Aquarius and Pisces. And as the Sun nudges out of Capricorn today (the pennacle of Saturn-defined time), heading into Aquarius, we are ‘entering’ midwinter spring. Are you prepared? Not sure, well, observe your Aquarius or Pisces friends. You’ll recognize this unique relationship to time, when you consider their approach to life. Both signs live as if they were exempt from the laws and concepts that structure quotidian existence for the rest of us. They follow, often unconsciously, their own unique time rhythms. Read more
The sense of levity and joy that so many of us respond to, perhaps unwittingly, during the Christmas season, has a cosmic correlation with the return of the light, which the Winter Solstice celebrates in the Northern Hemisphere. Dane Rudhyar describes the Winter Solstice as a turning point, where the personalizing Day-Force overtakes the in-gathering effects of the Night-Force. He associates the increase of the Day-Force with the embodiment of the spiritual impetus: spirit that is actualized, grounded and set to work. Thus the traditional association of the Day-Force with the Christos, born as Jesus, at the Solstice. A birth that re-occurs, with the return of the light each year.
Rudhyar explains that each Solstice sets in motion a process that transforms “the scattered and disintegrated remains of the previous cycle into a new organic whole.” And after living through another year of Pluto’s dismantling process in Capricorn, Rudhyar’s words sound doubly refreshing to me. I’m ready to connect with the stirrings of a new organic whole. Aren’t you?
To study and appreciate this year’s Solstice, I asked one of my favorite astrologers, Heather Roan Robbins (right) to participate in a dialogue about this very unusual and rare Solstice event. I’ve read Heather’s weekly Starcodes reports for years now, and have appreciated her commentaries; Heather communicates to her readers from a place of wise understanding and offers down-to-earth, creative ways for us to align with the daily celestial motions. Heather and I connected via email to compare notes and impressions about this year’s dynamic Solstice chart.
Please, pour yourself some tea and join us:
Frederick:What caught my attention about this year’s Solstice — which is the chart that marks the commencement of the upcoming new year — is the Full Moon eclipse that occurs in tandem with the Sun’s entry into Capricorn, which initiates the Solstice. So we have the solar awakening on one hand, and a fruition of the lunar light on the other. A cosmic opening and closing if you will. Read more
To really experience autumn, in our bones, we wait until the Sun moves into Scorpio. This is when the promise of the Fall Equinox blooms: The dimming begins. The dappled daylight of September gives the impression that summer hasn’t quite given up the ghost. October, with the solar ingress into Scorpio, begins to reveal the twilight quietude. Light is fading. Dusk feels braced and melancholic; and we sense the passing of light as the cycle of life opens towards closure. Moving towards winter, for which Emily Dickinson wrote:
There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.
The nimbus of light, from fall to winter, feels heavier. Opening towards closure. A little grief always accompanies a parting. So we prepare to put down what needs to be finished and then, perhaps, begin to settle, to hibernate on a dream. Read more