Lunar Eclipse in Libra
Riding the dragon of the Libra Lunar Eclipse is Lady Justice, wielding her sword that cuts through inequities, imbalances, deceptions, and disempowerment. The Full Moon Eclipse on 23 March 2016 illuminates the release and initiation of the Total Solar Eclipse that began this lunar cycle, and in the peeling away of the old dragon skin we find the regenerated richness of a purified path and vision to follow forward. In the ashes of what has been burned off there now arises refined reflection capable of irrevocably altering past patterns of limitation and inauthenticity. The lunar light of this Eclipse illuminates a visceral sense of the deep Self within and how to best bolster the growth wanting to burst forth from it. Like a lightning strike of destiny there is sudden recognition of the old that is now gone with finality, with an arising yearning for the fresh scent of replenishing pleasure appearing on the path in front of us.
Libra is a sign of finding balance, the process of balancing rather than existing in a balanced state. There is a great deal of instability in the surrounding astrological aspects to this Libra Lunar Eclipse, so the task at hand is finding a center of balance to move forward with. There may be feelings of oscillation, yet within the vacillation there can be centering through claiming an authentic place of integrity. Being true to inner values and ethics, responsibility may be taken to pursue the desires that make us feel alive rather than conform to stagnant expectations of others. As a result we may act from a centered place of mature assertiveness and compassion, rather than from anger, passive aggression, vindictiveness, arrogance, or narcissism.
The Lunar Eclipse in Libra occurs simultaneously with an exact last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo, with the Libra Moon in sextile to Mars in Sagittarius, and the Sun and Mercury in Aries in trine to Mars. The last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn has its source in the end of May in the year 2000, when the current cycle between Jupiter and Saturn began (interestingly, the previous cycle between Saturn and Jupiter began in 1980 in the sign of Libra close to the degree of this Eclipse). This is the second of three exact last quarter square aspects formed between Saturn and Jupiter, with the first occurring at the beginning of August 2015 during a Venus retrograde. At the time of this Lunar Eclipse, Saturn in Sagittarius is stationing retrograde, and so the scythe of Saturn is firmly planted with stark resoluteness. What must be released now must be released with clarity, acceptance, and responsibility if you wish to please Saturn. Jupiter is still close to the North Node of the Moon, and so at the same time with grounded presence will come awareness of a vision to follow forward bringing greater embodiment in all of the complexity of nature. The influence of Mars can light a burning passion from within, and with it a need to find a center of balance through which to mediate the fiery force.
In contrast to the Solar Eclipse that began this cycle on March 8 and covered the Sun in Total blackness, this Lunar Eclipse is not Total and is instead classified as Penumbral. This is because though the Eclipse is fairly close to the North Node of the Moon, the Eclipse is actually happening at the beginning of Libra while the North Node of the Moon is at the beginning of the second decan of Virgo. The result is that the shadow cast by the Earth onto the Moon by our Sun is not going to cover the Moon in a total red glow, but instead means that only the diffuse outer shadow of Earth will cover the Moon and so the red shading will be barely noticeable. Nonetheless, this is still a potent Lunar Eclipse especially because it occurs simultaneously with a last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn and a superior conjunction between Mercury and the Sun which imbibes a strong Mercurial influence into the proceedings.
Symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released or opened up to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. This current Libra Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning most closely in alignment with Mercury on the side of the South Node of the Moon. The Sun with the South Node means that growth comes now from the resolution and release of old karma, and with Chiron and Ceres closely conjoining the South Node of the Moon we can further link the archetypes of Chiron and Ceres strongly into the complexity of this past karmic pattern. Among other themes linked with Chiron and Ceres is a unifying thread of self-healing, regeneration, and resilient persistence in productivity in times of loss, release, pain, and suffering.
Significantly, this is the final Lunar Eclipse to occur in the signs of Aries and Libra in the series that began in 2013 (Lunar Eclipse on 10/18/13 at 26 Aries; Lunar Eclipse on 4/15/14 at 26 Libra; Lunar Eclipse on 10/08/14 at 16 Aries; Lunar Eclipse on 4/04/15 at 15 Libra; Lunar Eclipse on 9/28/15 at 5 Aries). Since this Lunar Eclipse is in close polarity to the Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 28 September 2015, there is a direct link to issues arising at the end of September last year with whatever is being currently resolved and released at this time. In the polarity between Aries and Libra, we explore the tension between the instinctual, independent needs of the self and the needs that are met through relationship with another. The series of Lunar Eclipses in Aries and Libra that stretch back to October 2013 have triggered pivotal experiences that have brought awareness to the dynamics we create in relationship and our capacity to have our needs met. Ideally, we can now gain insight into what we need to feel fulfilled in relationships, and clarity can be gained for how we can create a relationship based on equality and balanced giving and receiving.
Venus rules the eclipse while separating from a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces, and applying to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius. Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, and as Neptune in modern astrology is seen as a higher octave of Venus, this Libra Lunar Eclipse brings feelings of what most deeply fulfills us in love, whether that can be found in a current relationship or instead within the clarity of having old illusions regarding love washed away. As Venus is applying to a square with a stationing Saturn, there is lucidity found by facing the actual reality of current relationships and their intrinsic patterns without denial. This Libra Lunar Eclipse will highlight what has been out of balance in our relationships, where and why we have felt disillusioned, and what we need to do to create the relationships that will bring real love, truly nurturing and ecstatic love into our life.
As Venus bridges the square from Neptune in Pisces to Saturn in Sagittarius, Venus is simultaneously applying to an opposition with Jupiter in Virgo. Regarding romantic relationships, the visionary feelings of what we want needs to be grounded in the body and the actual circumstances of the moment- whatever is out of alignment with our present reality will be keenly felt. Regarding our myriad, complex relationships with the surrounding world in general, this Libra Eclipse will bring awareness to what old desires and attachments no longer serve us and are getting in the way of embodying our essential personal truth. There is a great dissolving of inner values going on at this eclipse that we have been fixated upon for a sense for a sense of security and identity, and now realize have led us into disillusioning experiences. By releasing the old, an open space is created through which regenerated inner values will emerge to source a purified vision for what will bring meaningful purpose into our life.
Crucially, Mercury is entering the heart of the Sun in Aries, the exaltation of the Sun, at the time of the Lunar Eclipse. This is the superior conjunction of Mercury, when Mercury swiftly moves direct through a conjunction with the Sun, becoming purified and regenerated within the fiery rays of light. The superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun stands in contrast to the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that occurs when Mercury is retrograde. Instead of the symbolic, oracular, chthonic perception enlivened at the inferior conjunction, the superior conjunction has a soaring epiphanic quality. Demetra George has compared the superior conjunction of Mercury to the visionary quality of Mercury in Sagittarius- at the superior conjunction there is a quicksilver rush of insight and information that can feel overwhelming and difficult to encapsulate in communication, yet can ignite ingenious, penetrating perception.
With Mercury uniting with the Sun in Aries while applying to a trine with Mars in Sagittarius, Mercury is cazimi or “in the heart” of not only the Sun, but the central meaning of this Lunar Eclipse. This is a moment of past patterns of perception being burned off, with brilliant discernment arising regarding the current nature of our desires and sense of personal will. The piercing perception into our deep Self can also open awareness into unconscious forces that have been sourcing our choices and actions, and we can gain sudden clarity into how the shadow side of our personality manifested within the old Mercurial patterns being purified within the rays of the Sun. As Mars will be stationing retrograde in less than a month, this is a Mercurial moment to seize in order to discover the essence of currently arising desires and the associated intrinsic purpose that will bring meaningful fulfillment into our life as we begin to enter the upcoming Mars retrograde.
Libra I Decan
The first face of Libra is associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a blindfolded woman crossing two swords in front of her, while sitting before an oceanic expanse. The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, similar to how a Lunar Eclipse will catalyze the fertile void within. Commonly, this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find peace of mind and courageous equipoise, resolving previous conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance. As Venus in Pisces as the ruler of the Libra Eclipse is separating from a conjunction with Neptune and applying to a square with Saturn and opposition with Jupiter, the capacity suggested by this card to turn within to find a balanced center with which to then respond through into the external world is fitting.
The Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra, adding additional potency to the Libra Moon being covered by the Earth’s shadow at the time of the Lunar Eclipse. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to this face, suggesting it awakens us to surrounding injustice and disequilibrium on a societal level as well as in our daily personal interactions. While Coppock noted the aspect of the decan that can bring inner peace through the recognition of inequities, he also found that there is a legal element to this face that brings evidence and “hidden testimonies to awareness” (p. 157). Coppock linked this Libran legal aspect to the fact that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra, the underworld goddesses serving natural law and justice who punished those who violated divine law. Coppock captured the essence of this face in the following passage:
While fair trade and social justice are prime concerns in this face, its true object is relationships. Legal proceedings and commerce are essentially about the balance between two entities. Indeed peace or strife between individuals is what determines social order, and consensus is the very root of the law. Fairness and reciprocity must underlie all friendships and romances if they are to last. This face shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition. The core principles of ethical interaction with other beings are thus revealed in this face. — Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 158
As the Libra Lunar Eclipse arrives and passes, as the Moon proceeds to wane once again into the dissemination and release of its monthly cycle, may we each reawaken our sense of personal truth and integrity from within, living through these inner values and carrying their ethical implications into our relationships with the surrounding world.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.