I will wail and howl.
I will go stripped and naked.
I will howl like a jackal and wail like an owl.
— Micah 1:8 as translated in Catafalque by Peter Kingsley
Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn
Under shadows obfuscating our lunar light, through the howling of wolves in wilderness and a cacophony of crows cawing in cedar, the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4 (PST) announces the return of Saturn to its nocturnal home of Capricorn. Saturn retrograde in Capricorn rules the Lunar Eclipse, as it glows through the night near Jupiter and the invisible Pluto in the tropical zodiacal terrain of the Sea Goat. Saturn since the dawn of astrological understanding has orbited at the boundary between the known and the unknown, time and the timeless, the mortal and the immortal, inviting awareness from contemplating cycles of ages and revealing irrevocable consequences from our past actions. The eclipsed Moon under the influence of Saturn in Capricorn beckons for the awareness of threshold guardians like Janus, the necessity of looking backwards as we consider the way forward.
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. The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn is far from total and classified as penumbral, meaning that the Moon’s light will be blurred by faint shadows rather than the blood reddening of a total eclipse. Both sides of the lunar nodes become activated during lunar eclipses, in this case with the Cancer Sun on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the Capricorn Moon on the side of the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. The shadowing of the Moon is not total due to the Moon at 13º37′ Capricorn separating at a distance from the South Node at 28º22′ Sagittarius.
The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is especially significant for being the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn until 2028 when the lunar nodes will return to the solstice signs of initiation. Eclipses have been occurring in Cancer and Capricorn since 12 July 2018 when there was a partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 20º50′. The eclipses in Capricorn and Cancer were more powerfully activated by the partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn at 15º31′ on 5 January 2019, followed by a total Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 10º42′ on 2 July 2019 and a Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn at 24º01′ on 16 July 2019. Most recently we experienced an annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn at 4º10′ on 26 December 2019, a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer at 19º54′ on 10 January 2020, and an annular Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 00º21′ on 21 June 2020. It’s a good time to reflect upon events associated with these eclipses as we simultaneously experience the final lessons from the series.
With Saturn in Capricorn co-present with the series of eclipses we have experienced in Cancer and Capricorn, there has been an emphasis on the dissolution, putrefaction, purification, and release indicated by the transiting South Node of the Moon. While the sign of Cancer is associated with new life and nurturing growth, the Saturnine sign of Capricorn is associated with the ancient, the living ancestors, and living traditions of lineages. The Sun on the side of the North Node of the Moon can draw focus toward significations of Cancer such as home, family, and emotional processes, while the eclipsed Moon on the side of the South Node of the Moon indicates shedding and emptying around significations of Capricorn such as systems of power, corporations, governments, and their leaders.
Within the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn is the tendency to organize and systemize the fresh insights and lunar, nonlinear impressions of Cancer into the institutionalized structures of Capricorn in order to endure and persevere across difficult setbacks and periods of lack. Faced with fear of survival or scarcity of resources in the rocky expanse of Capricorn, our impetus for growth and expansion can become overly materialistic with ambitious desire to attain status and control outcomes. We can conform to a crystallized, Saturnian concept of cultural expectations for success rather than an authentic path that necessitates straying from mainstream beliefs and values. Yet Capricorn also contains the immense fertility of chthonic depths that can bring about a needed reordering of present structures. The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn can open perception to what needs to be dissolved, what old thought forms and perceptual patterns need to be released and what collective organizational systems need to be reformed.
. . . What it is about is the last thing we want to know about, which is the responsibility we have as westerners to face the darkness of our own culture without looking away . . .
When [Henry] Corbin wanted to illustrate this he turned back, appropriately enough, to western legends of the Grail. The best way he knew of making his point was to quote the beautiful saying: Seule guérit la blessure la lance qui la fît, “The wound is only healed by the lance that made it.”
. . . And just how impossible this task is started to become clear when one finds the courage, if only for a moment, to face that individual but also collective emptiness and darkness inside oneself- without trying to do anything, such as thinking good thoughts or inventing childish schemes, to fill the hole.
— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque
Known as the star of Nemesis in ancient text, Saturn’s return to the solid stone of Capricorn will bring judgment, retribution, and consequences to the exposure of corruption and toxicity that have been erupting from the union of Pluto with Jupiter in Capricorn. Saturn will steadily get closer to Pluto until eventually stationing direct on September 29 at 25º20′ Capricorn, three degrees away from Pluto. The legacy of systemic oppression and past decisions by humans rooted in racism and sexism has been amplified by the present passage of Saturn and Pluto close to their own South Nodes in Capricorn. The eclipsed Moon moving across conjunctions with Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn will further expose the shadows of patriotism, nationalism, law and order, totalitarian structures, and any other forms of authoritarian control utilized to subdue threats and impose regulation from a sense of moral righteousness.
Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche detailed numerous themes associated with Saturn and Pluto that have become impactful in the past year, but his emphasis on the individual ego becoming possessed by its shadow and projecting subversive elements of the psyche on scapegoats will be especially relevant in the wake of the eclipse. As the Moon wanes in approach to the upcoming New Moon in Cancer on July 20, the Sun in Cancer will form oppositions with Jupiter retrograde on July 14, with Pluto retrograde on July 15, and with Saturn retrograde during the New Moon on July 20. While the projection of the shadow will be glaringly obvious in collective events, it will be especially important to do your own inner work of recognizing what is being triggered within your unconscious and the ways you are projecting this material into your relationships.
Ultimately, the immense destruction and dissolution within civilizations that will occur during the second half of 2020 with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto traveling together in Capricorn will also be creating space for rebuilding new forms and finding ways to reorganize and make radical changes to personal and collective systems. The combination of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto can facilitate taking accountability for our personal past actions as well as however we have been complicit with the ways collective structures need to be altered. If you feel overwhelmed by the tension and gravity of current events, it may be necessary to allow new directions to slowly coalesce through your unconscious rather than insisting on enacting immediate solutions. Since Mars in Aries will be engaged in a volatile relationship with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto for the rest of the year, there will be a need to find a balance between taking necessary and decisive action versus making space for rest and restoration.
“It’s only by shedding everything, including ourselves, that we sow the seeds of the future.”
— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque
You may have noticed me often quoting or referencing Catafalque by Peter Kingsley in the past couple of years. The book was released with Saturn in Capricorn in 2018, and it has been the contemporary book that has made the biggest impact on me during the time of the lunar nodes and eclipses being in Cancer and Capricorn, a season we are now drawing to a close. If I had to make a list of important works released during the passage of Saturn through Capricorn this time around, Catafalque would be included.
Kingsley explored the work of C.G. Jung among others in Catafalque, concluding that the chief aim of Jung’s work is not integration but to “consciously leave ourselves behind, shed absolutely everything, strip every trace of identification or attachment away.” Describing humanity as being lost in the middle of one age while in transition to the next, Kingsley wrote that what is “needed is the exact opposite of our manufactured hoping, which is the divine reality of faith- because faith is the most extraordinary flower, as alive and intelligent as it’s beautiful, which you can meet out on the street in the dark or alone back home if your vision isn’t stunted by hope.”
As the Moon in Capricorn waxes toward being eclipsed, it will move from a square aspect with Mars in Aries into an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Cancer. The Lunar Eclipse is separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Cancer and applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter retrograde in Capricorn amongst classical planets, while more closely separating from a trine with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Neptune in Pisces. While it will important to explore one’s inner shadow, it will also be important to have trust and faith in your imagination and the insights you are able to gather through your memories and intuition. It can be a potent time for exploration of patterns operating in your psyche as well as finding ways to further activate awareness through creative expression of the inner processes at work.
Furthermore, Mercury retrograde in Cancer is mutually applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Aries that will complete a few days after the eclipse on July 8. Mars in Aries can be piercing in its capacity for going straight into the heart of the matter, provoking a cathartic release of anger over any issues that have been building in tension. Constructively, the heat and fire brought by Mars in Aries can help focalize intention on what matters most and where to be assertive, yet it is a double edged sword that can help in separating from harmful situations as well as causing damage in ongoing relationships if not careful. It can also help bring the fiery heat necessary for making a breakthrough and taking bold, direct action initiating movement on ideas that have been gestating.
After Mercury stations direct on July 12, it will continue to apply toward an intensifying square aspect with Mars until completing it on July 27. At the same time, Venus will be moving direct back across the same degree range in Gemini it previously looped back and forth across through being retrograde. Altogether, the rest of July can be potent in deciding what desires to pursue, what desires to release, and what values, relationships, and circumstances need our protection and care to grow and develop. As you make the space to explore the aspects of your inner multiplicity that were excavated by Venus retrograde in Gemini that can now be more fully embodied, there will be additional insights from the stationing of Mercury that will help guide and inform the way forward.
Capricorn 2 Decan
The Lunar Eclipse is in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in stone. There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display. Fittingly, Mars and Venus are the co-rulers of the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort bonded with artistic vision.
Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, noting it is a place where sublime works of material manifestation are completed. Coppock described this face as showing “visions of what might be wrought upon the earth, blueprints as a type of revelation.” There is not only a necessity for blueprints but also disciplined, hard work in collaboration with numerous resources in order to complete the grand visions that emerge in this face. Coppock wrote that while it is necessary to bind effort to accomplishing ambitious goals, he also cautioned to take care in the “enduring consequences” created by becoming consumed by the creation of a grand magnum opus. Images in both the Picatrix as well as Three Occult Books of Philosophy speak to this face inspiring a search for what cannot be known and seeking what cannot be done. Thus while sifting through the mystifying shadows of the eclipsed Moon, it will be vital to separate the possible from the impossible.
The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess of health Hygeia to the second face of Capricorn. As Hygeia is the daughter of Asclepius and is associated with processes and practices of physical, spiritual, and psychological hygiene, Austin Coppock noted her presence in this face reveals the central importance of “proper maintenance of bodily and mental health” in coming to terms with the ambition and hubris that go hand in hand with the capacity to build the grandiose visions of this face. Coppock described the need to distill ambition from hubris “over and over again” in order “to achieve purity of purpose,” a worthy separation to keep in mind as we tangle with the tail of the dragon being activated by the Lunar Eclipse.
With the Moon being eclipsed in the second face of Capricorn, there may also be a need to release yourself from attachment to ambitious goals from your past that are no longer aligned with your values or where you feel called to exert effort. Or, you may realize that continuing to pursue a vision will make you complicit in a pyramidal hierarchy of power you no longer wish to be involved with. Pyramids were associated in ancient Egyptian culture with creation itself, as they represented the mounds of earth that would arise out of the fertility of water. Allow yourself to be perplexed, confounded, and bemused by the shadows of the eclipse, so you may gain a fresh sense of what you truly wish to build and what you no longer want to bind your energy toward. As you become more clear about the new vision arising out of the dissolution of this eclipse season, you will also become more clear about who to collaborate with and what resources will be needed to achieve your goals.
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Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and you: how to align with life’s hidden tides. Stellium Press.
Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.
Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.