Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius
The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary road of the divinity that carries the man who knows through the vast and dark unknown . . . And the axle in the hubs let out the sound of a pipe blazing from the pressure of the two well-rounded wheels at either side . . .
There are the gates on the pathways of Night and Day, held fast in place between the lintel above and a threshold of stone. They reach right up into the heavens, filled with gigantic doors. And the keys- that now open, now lock – are held fast by Justice: she who always demands exact returns . . .
— Interpretation of Parmenides poem by Peter Kingsley from Reality
Every six months or so when we enter eclipse season, the wheels of destiny seem to spin with greater ferocity as the fierceness of fate reveals itself. The particular sequence of eclipses we are entering now have amplified volatility due to the presence of Mars in each: we first experience a Lunar Eclipse with Mars opposite the Moon, and then flow into a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mars will unite with the North Node of the Moon in close proximity to the eclipse. Furthermore, in between eclipses we will enter an especially turbulent Mercury retrograde phase that will eventually end with Mercury turning direct again while united with Mars at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse (28-29º of Leo). Though the partial Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on August 7 will not produce the sort of blood red shadow on the face of the Moon that would occur with a more powerful alignment of the lunation with the nodes, it is nonetheless an otherworldly portal into the mysterious quality of time we experience in between eclipses, especially when the solar eclipse on the horizon will create total darkness during its brief transit.
Saturn rules the lunar eclipse in Sagittarius and is conjoining Black Moon Lilith, while also forming a sextile with Jupiter in Libra and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, as well as a trine with Uranus in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the Sun in Leo. Lilith in cultural myth is the outsider who has become exiled due to her insistence on sovereignty of her own self expression, and the astrological point of Black Moon Lilith also corresponds to what we have been keeping exiled from our conscious awareness about ourselves. Black Moon Lilith is a balancing point to the wide ranging motion of the Moon that signifies the vast range of our perceptions, as the calculated point of Black Moon Lilith balances the Moon’s closest approach to earth with its farthest point in orbit. Since the Moon being closest to us in orbit could be said to have the greatest conscious impact, while farthest it could be said to be farthest from conscious awareness. Black Moon Lilith is an unconscious balancing point connecting our ego consciousness (Moon) into what has been cast off or kept out in the subconscious.
As we are now getting closer to the end of Saturn’s final retrograde phase in Sagittarius, the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse calls us to reclaim the cast off parts of ourselves it is now vital to embody with responsibility and integrity. There can be a human tendency to avoid speaking out when afraid of becoming exiled from a group or made into an outsider, and yet the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse pulls us into the shadow of the outsider and who or what has been cast out of mainstream cultural privileges. There is potential available to utilize whatever cultural privileges you possess to take action on behalf of those lacking privileges or caught within cycles of oppression. Open your ears at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and listen to the voices your conscious awareness does not usually acknowledge. Within the shadow of the eclipse there can be a dismantling of groups formed around taking action based upon humanitarian ideals, yet through the shifting more powerful reconfigurations may manifest more deeply rooted in core principles of liberation.
Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for. In combination with their unworldly visual element of shadow when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon. Since dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, the symbolism of eclipses also involve ultimately discovering greater wholeness through the dissolution they bring about. When stepping into the streams of eclipse season its best to remember the old fragmentary wisdom of Heraclitus: unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and pathless.
The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth. Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic. The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release (the tail of the dragon), whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious desire for intake and manifestation in our material realm (the head of the dragon). Thus the lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.
In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, 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 from the past within our body and mind, the past transmutes in the shadowy face of the Moon to allow for new emergence and presence. Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that at a lunar eclipse “the traditional perspective born of past experiences of adjusting to life and society is blotted out by an eagerness to meet experience in a new, original manner.” As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Leo, the past activation of how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms as well as our own ideals could become overshadowed by ambitious desires for new growth and creative expression.
Vitally, Mars is beginning to pull itself out of the symbolic solar underworld at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse on the side of the Leo Sun and the North Node of the Moon, having gained about four degrees of separation from the Sun at the very beginning of its current synodic cycle. The Sun and Mars aligned in Leo with the North Node of the Moon brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself due to guilt, shame, or other forms of repression. In the collective this can be both empowering as well as dangerous, as there will be fierce martial conflicts raging forth from the lunar shadow. On personal levels keep in mind that Mars is still so close to the Sun that it remains more difficult to get a clear sense of the new desires Mars is inciting, resulting in feelings that are more instinctual than rational. Do your best to avoid getting hard on yourself for not achieving your visions of success at this time, as the new form of Mars has not yet taken full shape.
One of the most import aspects within the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is an opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces. This is an epic opposition, as both planets are extremely strong in each of their current locations: Virgo is both the home and exaltation of Mercury, and in modern astrology Neptune has become associated with a rulership of Pisces. However, this happens to be one of those oppositions that does not actually perfect for over a month, in this case not until the time of the Libra Equinox. This is due to the fact that Mercury is preparing to station retrograde in Virgo, stationing exactly in less than a week. As a result there will be some important insights and realizations we begin to gain through the opposition of Mercury and Neptune in the coming weeks that we will not fully understand until about a month and a half from now when they finally come back together and complete their exact opposition.
Many astrologers do not like the opposition between Mercury and Neptune because the presence of Neptune can make it more difficult for Mercury to execute its choices and actions with exactitude and detailed clarity. Yet there is a true gift found in this opposition that can open our awareness to elements of reality that have previously been cloaked in invisibility in one form or another. It can also be possible to open perception to a deeper connection with Spirit through the opposition between Mercury and Neptune, as well as create sublimely beautiful and surreal works of art. Mercury is adept at weaving and mending the disparate together into beautiful new patterns and tapestries, however, and so it will be important to bear in mind that perceptual mending will be required in the next couple of weeks.
Uranus, the planet many modern astrologers would say is ruling the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse, looms large over the lunation no matter what your astrological view upon rulership is. This is due to the fact that Uranus stationed retrograde four days before the eclipse, and planets that have recently stationed always bring more power to the cycle at play. Oftentimes Uranus stationing can bring an unexpected shock or an upsetting event, yet the catharsis of released emotion and thought can break us free from a past repetitive pattern we realize was underlying the troubling issue. This is even more the case than normal at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse due to Jupiter in Libra recently completing its final last quarter square with Pluto in Capricorn. The square between Jupiter and Pluto dredged up deep material needing to be processed and resolved that can now become integrated into the developing relationships and structures we are focused upon. Now that Jupiter has begun to separate from its square with Pluto, it is beginning to finally approach its sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius that will help us stabilize all of the chaotic discharges of August.
One of the blessings of the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is the conjunction between Venus and Ceres in Cancer, an aspect that supports the tender love and care needed to nurture the wounds of the psyche and body that could manifest within the astrological volatility of coming weeks. After Venus and Ceres form their union in Cancer they will next form an opposition with Pluto and a square with Jupiter. By the time of the Total Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21, Venus will be applying to a square with Uranus and Ceres will be opposite Pluto. It will be more important than ever to open hearts in love and deeper intimacy that truly nurtures what others need and what we need within, rather than what we have been led to believe is needed through various forms of cultural conditioning.
Aquarius 2 Decan
The Lunar Eclipse falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury. The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.
The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and “independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles.” Coppock connected Mercury ruling this face to the need to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown.” Coppock artfully concluded, “The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating” (p. 233-4).
The fact that Mercury rules the second face of Aquarius where the shadowy lunation occurs brings to mind again the significance of Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo in between eclipses while forming an opposition with Neptune in Pisces. Mercury will be stepping into its role as our guide of soul once again, activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine. Mercury can help us organize concepts that facilitate navigation while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul. We are entering an otherworldly time of eclipses where it will difficult to predict exactly what will happen other than stating that the changes on the way will bring the potential to unlock and activate greater depth from within into our external collective.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Kingsley, Peter. (2013). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.