Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio

Bottle by Kati Horna

Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio

The first week of May marks a turning in the seasons as the Sun reaches fifteen degrees of Taurus, placing the Sun midway between the Aries equinox and the Cancer solstice. In the northern hemisphere the corresponding blossoms of Spring herald the transition toward Summer and the seasonal festival of Beltane. Just like Beltane is a pivotal point in the year, so will the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio on 5 May signify leaving one phase of life behind for another. Though the Lunar Eclipse at 14º58’ Scorpio is penumbral and so will not result in the face of the Moon turning blood red, shadows will nonetheless obscure the light of the Scorpio Moon. With the watery nature of the eclipse accentuated by Mars, Saturn, and Neptune also occupying water signs, emotional purging may be necessary as unsettling emotions and memories emerge to be released and washed away.

The shadowy cloaking of the Moon’s light in the watery depth of Scorpio will have a dissolving effect upon the places where we have held onto fixed perspectives that have perpetuated problems. Since the Moon will be eclipsed on the side of the South Node while being overcome by shadows emitted from the Sun on the side of the North Node, the inner processes of disintegration and decomposition passing through can ultimately lead to the arising of regenerated forms of growth that can become sources of support and stability in the season ahead. Yet the penetrating absorption of the Scorpio Moon may soak up toxic, painful, or confusing feelings that will need to be dissolved as part of the process. James Hillman in Alchemical Psychology wrote that it is our “weeping, bleeding, sweating, urinating” that brings our alchemical Salt “out of its underground mines. It appears in our moistures, which are the flow of salt to the surface . . . Moments of dissolution are not mere collapses; they release a sense of personal human value from the encrustations of habit.”

The eclipsed Moon in Scorpio will be separating from a square with Pluto in Aquarius, a trine with Saturn in Pisces and an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Taurus while applying toward an opposition with Uranus in Taurus and flowing trine aspects with Mars in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces. The opposition between the Lunar Eclipse with Mercury retrograde and Uranus in Taurus is chaotic and could involve sudden plot twists to negotiate. Yet the tension with Uranus also means that some of the dredged-up material could lead to valuable insight and creative breakthroughs that dislodge us from stagnant and stuck patterns in need of letting go. Some of us may need extra time for rest and recovery, while others may need to engage in vigorous activity to help move the energy; one way or another we will need to have remedies and coping strategies ready in case we must attend to anxieties or disruptions to our nervous systems.

The nodes of the Moon are intersections between the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun that forms the zodiac belt) with the arc of the Moon’s orbit. The nodes of the Moon indicate the places where eclipses happen whenever a New Moon or Full Moon forms in close proximity, but they also mark dynamic points of change in lunar orbit. When the Moon passes through her own south node, it means she has descended from northern latitude to cross the ecliptic en route to traveling as far south as possible within her orbit. The descent of the Moon’s orbit during the eclipse is further mirrored by the Moon occupying her fall in Scorpio where she is brought into low lying places of subterranean depth. The Moon in her fall of Scorpio feels things intensely, necessitating a descent into buried, previously hidden material. Remarkably, the wayward path of Mercury retrograde will also be taking the star of Hermes from north to south across the ecliptic in the days surrounding the eclipse. Altogether there is clear symbolism of descent into inner depths where we will encounter material in need of releasing, emptying, detoxifying, purging, or decomposing.

Personjae by Remedios Varo

The Scorpio Lunar Eclipse is the final eclipse to occur in the sign of Scorpio within the series of eclipses that have been forming dynamic tension with Uranus in Taurus since 2021. Each eclipse has occurred in either the same sign as Uranus or the opposite sign, increasing the volatile nature of Uranus within collective and personal events. The first eclipse to occur in the same sign as Uranus was the Taurus Lunar Eclipse in November 2021, followed by a Taurus Solar Eclipse in April 2022, a Scorpio Lunar Eclipse in May 2022, a Scorpio Solar Eclipse in October 2022, and a Taurus Lunar Eclipse in November 2022. Whereas the Taurus Lunar Eclipse on 8 November 2022 formed a close conjunction with Uranus, the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse will be forming a close opposition with Uranus. The years since 2020 have coincided with accelerated collective changes, with the Uranus eclipse series amplifying disruptions to old orders of security and stability. Following the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse, there will be one final Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on 28 October 2023 and so the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse will initiate us into the final installment of the story. The personal changes that have erupted in correspondence with these eclipses have been disorienting and exhausting for many, yet in keeping with the nature of Uranus they have also unlocked new sources of creative vitality and direction. As collective systems and structures continue to shape-shift, be curious about your own metamorphosis and explore the ways in which new pathways and opportunities are opening up.

The Scorpio Moon will be eclipsed in the inwardly directed, watery home of Mars while the Moon will be applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Mars. There is mutual reception between the eclipse and the red planet, as the Moon is in the domicile of Mars and Mars is in the domicile of the Moon. Combined with the Moon and Mars additionally forming trine aspects with Neptune in Pisces, there will be a watery triangle formed between the eclipse, Mars, and Neptune. Mars in Cancer can be both creative and protective, yet prone to emotional overwhelm that can make its aggressive expression unhinged and erratic. With the ruler of Mars becoming eclipsed, it will be important to calm nerves and refrain from escalating stress and conflict as much as possible. The influence of Neptune can allow imagination to run wild, which can be positive when focalized on creative expression. However, the distortions of Neptune can make us imagine present dynamics in ways that needlessly magnify difficulties or inaccurately project our own issues upon others. It can be an opportune time for noticing the ways in which your own internal issues are being projected outward through your relationships.

Mars is applying toward a collaborative sextile aspect with Ceres retrograde in Virgo at the same time that Ceres is stationing direct. Ceres will station direct one day after the eclipse while forming a sextile with Mars and a tense opposition with Neptune in Pisces. Ceres stationing at the same time as the eclipse amplifies the presence of Ceres and her multivalent meaning. Issues of food, food shortages, labor strikes and unrest are all topics we can expect to continue surfacing in the news. Due to stationing, Ceres will not form her final opposition with Neptune until 10 June 2023, and so an extended period of Ceres and Neptune holding a tension that could amplify themes of illusion and idealism will follow the eclipse. Ceres in her Greek form of Demeter brought both agriculture as well as the Mysteries to humanity, and so themes of underworld descent and inner revelation will also be amplified by the stationing of Ceres.

Mars applying to sextile Ceres could coincide with actions taken to protect or advocate on behalf of people suffering from food or economic crises as well as issues over mothers, children, land and labor. On personal levels, we can also imagine how Mars passing through a sextile with Ceres can be likened to an initiation of Mars by the Goddess. Ceres in her retrograde journey often brings up issues of grief and trauma and how they intersect with our attachment issues within relationship. Ceres stationed retrograde on 3 February 2023 in Libra while forming an opposition with Jupiter in Aries, and so it’s worth considering where the torch of Ceres has guided you through your own internal darkness since then. Ceres stationing indicates a shift of forward momentum is on the way, yet during the eclipse Ceres will be more in a place of recovery and collecting herself to begin moving forward again in the week ahead. Whatever inner wisdom and awareness of past wounding that Ceres has gathered can be passed along to inform the journey of Mars.

Naruto Whirlpool, Awa Province by Utagawa Hiroshige (ca. 1853)

Venus in Gemini will be separating from a disorienting square aspect with Neptune in Pisces during the eclipse, having formed the exact square with Neptune on the day before the eclipse. The tension between Venus and Neptune can boost imaginal exploration and creative expression in some ways, but can also distort issues in ways that amplify the confusing obscuration of the eclipse. There may be realizations that bring about difficult feelings of disillusionment, yet the dissolving nature of the eclipse can be helpful in washing away false projections in order to realign with the deeper truth of circumstances. Venus will enter the watery sign of Cancer a few days after the eclipse on 7 May, offering a period of increased opportunities for sweetness and pleasure within relationship.

Since the eclipse is forming a watery triangle with Neptune in Pisces and Mars in Cancer, its worth considering the larger scope of how the eclipse is situated within the trajectory of Saturn and Neptune in Pisces drawing closer to one another in the years ahead. We are only at the beginning of acclimating to Saturn and Neptune sharing the waters of Pisces, yet numerous collective events that have occurred since Saturn entered Pisces indicate ways in which their shared influence is already being felt. Saturn is not at home in water signs, and the excessive coldness of Saturn is increased by the cold, internal nature of water in ways that can lead into states of depression and emotional overwhelm. Yet at the same time, the dryness of Saturn is tempered by the moistness of Pisces in ways that can accentuate creativity and the synthesis of ideas, influences, and inspiration together. However, since the dryness of Saturn that helps establish restrictions and limits is also being lessened, we will need to make sure we are tending to our own containment and maintaining the necessary boundaries and limits in our lives.

Marsilio Ficino wrote that the reason Saturn excels at discovering and retaining things is that it pulls us down to the center of individual subjects, from the external to the internal, from the circumference to the center; yet while forcing investigations to the center of individual subjects, at the same time Saturn leads us to contemplate the highest realm, because Saturn is the highest planet. As the nocturnal, inwardly directed moistness of Saturn will pull us down into imaginative depths, we will need to be careful to not sink too low into the melancholia of a downward spiral that makes it difficult to stay afloat. The contraction and consolidation of Saturn within the imaginal water of Pisces will call for preservation of our dreams and ideals while we navigate the dissolving and disillusioning influence of Neptune occupying the same sign. Some cherished ideals of the past may need to be washed away, yet underneath the waves new vibrant visions will also be discovered.

In many ways we can associate the extended period of Saturn and Neptune in Pisces with the solutio alchemical phase, with the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse and Mars in Cancer accelerating and deepening our initiation into their dissolution. The solutio phase involves the dissolution of solid, differentiated matter into its original undifferentiated state, known as the prima materia. One of the reasons water is associated with spiritual regeneration is due to the alchemical concept that substances cannot be transformed until reduced to prima materia. Old forms of security and stability will be dissolving, yet within the stirring of Saturn in Pisces new forms will also begin coagulating and emerging with time and attention. As we are only at the beginning of adjusting to Saturn and Neptune it can feel especially confusing, but the more we can begin adjusting now the better we will be able to flow with the tides of change they will be bringing in the years ahead.

Ritual by Norman Lewis

Mercury will continue to slowly move backwards in retrograde motion during the week following the eclipse, ultimately stationing direct on 15 May. Make intentional effort to be mindful in the days surrounding Mercury’s stationing, as Mercury’s return to visibility in the sky before dawn will correspond with meaningful messages arising into awareness. The second half of May hosts astrological transits that can activate significant developments and new opportunities, and so utilizing the final period of Mercury retrograde for adjusting routines and personal structures will help prepare for an influx of growth. Mercury will station direct while forming harmonious sextile aspects with Venus in Cancer and Saturn in Pisces, initiating a period of forward momentum that will support dynamic creativity combined with focused, practical application.

The most significant astrological event of May occurs the day after Mercury stations direct, when Jupiter enters Taurus on 16 May. Jupiter has quickly moved through Aries after entering the fiery home of Mars on 20 December 2022, following an additional stint from 11 May to 28 October 2022. While Jupiter in Aries supported accelerated growth and courageous risk taking, the pace of Jupiter will considerably slow down within the fertile, earthy terrain of Taurus. Jupiter in Taurus patiently tends to long-term goals that will foster increased stability and security over time. Jupiter in Taurus loves being surrounded by beauty and favors the tangible and sensual over ungrounded ideas. With both Mercury and Jupiter visible as morning stars heralding sunrise each day in Taurus, it will be an ideal time to construct a garden to contain and nurture the fruits and flowers of your imagination.

6 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 2 Decan

The Scorpio Moon will become eclipsed in the second decan of Scorpio associated with the Six of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image reveals the virtuous innocence of receiving through giving, which connects with the Sun and Jupiter being the rulers of the second face of Scorpio. With the Moon becoming eclipsed within the second decan of Scorpio, on one hand it will be important to tend and contain inner processes to avoid adversely impacting  relationships with our own emotional purging and purification. On the other hand, we may need to reach out for support or be willing to offer our support and presence to relationships in need of care and nurturance. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets brilliantly broadened the scope of the personal relationship within the Six of Cups to the “alchemy of sacrifice” between generations and lineages. Chang wrote that “each of us shall pass, but our lineage shall live forever . . . the only prize is the love we bear for one another from one generation to the next.” As the eclipse within the second decan of Scorpio is occurring during a period of accelerated collective change, be mindful of the larger implications of personal choices and the importance of making caring decisions and nurturing actions that keep the livelihoods of future generations in  mind. 

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the second decan of Scorpio, describing it as a face in which mutual distillation within relationship allows for matters to be passed back and forth as in an alembic, “growing increasingly rarefied and potent.” Coppock wrote that while “it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits.” Coppock’s description of ideal relational exchanges rooted in trust also brings to mind the antithesis of broken trust and toxic relational dynamics that can also be found in the second decan of Scorpio. Indeed, Coppock warned that we need to be careful to whom we bare ourselves to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass.” Coppock noted that “fixity of relationship is a key characteristic of this decan,” as the second decan of Scorpio “concentrates and fixes the passions generally” and establishes “fixed relationships with people, places, and areas of study.” An eclipse in the second decan of Scorpio may bring disruption to previously fixated dynamics, but by working through the deeper issues at play the necessary renegotiation and renewal will result.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Titaness Leto to the second decan of Scorpio. Sister to the starry, divinatory goddess Asteria and mother to the twin lights of Artemis and Apollo, Leto’s presence in the decan where shadows will obscure the light of the Moon reveals the need to protectively nurture whatever we wish to bring into the world. Leto had to flee and take refuge on an isolated island unattached to the ocean floor in order to escape the wrath of Hera, who had made all lands exclude Leto from entry due to her anger over the affair between Leto and Zeus.  It was said that the twin offspring of Leto would stabilize the new order of Olympian deities, and so her persistence in nurturing the birth of Apollo and Artemis additionally supported the birth of a new collective age. In this time of great global shifts and collective thresholds, Leto is a fitting symbol for taking the necessary steps to give birth to the world you wish yourself and the generations to follow to inhabit.

In contrast, twelfth century astrologer Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom wrote that within the second face of Scorpio there “ascends a woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea.” Perhaps this image is most fitting of all for the powerful purging, purification, and dissolution present in the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse. Although the image presents a solitary human figure, she is also immersed in deep relationship with the potent regeneration of the Sea. As the power found in the second face of Scorpio involves distillation and cultivation from intimate exchanges, the mutual support of relationship will be the vessel to tend and drink from in the coming weeks. Though the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse may dredge up difficult material to process and release, the deep cleansing that may ultimately result can help in drawing us closer within mutually supportive dynamics and enduring bonds of support.

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Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring publications.

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on Pluto’s Nodes

dragon limestone mesopotamia

Mesoptamian top fragment of a kudurru with a mushhushshu dragon and divine symbols (ca. 1156–1025 B.C.) from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer

All new lunations deemed eclipses are not equal, for those that succomb to total blackening of the Sun are far more potent than those in which only a sliver of a shadow obscures our solar light. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12 (or July 13, depending upon time zone) is one such eclipse, as it will only be visible in the southern reaches of Australia and the south pole region. The first solar eclipse in Cancer is partial due to its distance from the lunar nodes, 15º12′ from the true node position. However, even though its not the most intense type of eclipse, it’s incredibly dynamic due to its Plutonic quality. The Cancer syzygy is closely aligned with the planetary nodes of Pluto while opposing Pluto at the same time. This creates the potent matrix of the partial eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, while Pluto is aligned with its own South Node. We thus we will be experiencing a total activation of the entire orbital arc of Pluto, and a colossal release of all things Plutonic into our collective field.

Eclipses have a long association with destined events due to new forms entering our life in the weeks surrounding them, often with an unexpected gravitas, while other forms we had previously felt securely attached to pass away. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is the first activation of an upcoming cycle of eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, with the next Partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn in January 2019, followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer in July 2019. As a result the Plutonic eclipse will be revealing first intimations of new themes that will become more firmly established in our lives once the lunar nodes make the switch into Cancer and Capricorn in November 2018. The eclipse emphasizing areas of future oriented growth is further shown by it occurring on the side of the North Node of the Moon, with the Moon waxing toward a conjunction with its ascending node across our ecliptic, moving from southern toward northern latitude.

However, since our Sun will be partially covered by the shadow of our Moon, it suggests there are elements of the irrational, deep unconscious, potent dream experiences of night, and charged memories that will be oozing or erupting into conscious awareness. Since the North Node of the Moon is in Leo and we will be experiencing a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July combined with Mercury moving retrograde in Leo, the Cancer lunation opposing Pluto in Capricorn brings the Cancer-Capricorn polarity strongly into a context dominated by Leo and Aquarius. I’m reminded of a talk I heard Jason Holley give on Cancer that explored its archetype through the myth of the crab in the constellation sent by Hera to attack Heracles. Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm- thus it as if the crab has emerged from the undifferentiated unconscious to attack Heracles, the solar hero wearing lion skin. Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority. The opposition from Pluto in Capricorn to the lunation will force awareness of any such issues.

Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, we open ourselves to the treasured gifts we will eventually unearth in the underworld process. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche gave an excellent summary of terms associated with Pluto including “the principles of elemental power, depth, and intensity; with that which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches, sometimes to overwhelming and catastrophic extremes; with the primordial instincts, libidinal and aggressive, destructive and regenerative, volcanic and cathartic, eliminative, transformative, ever-evolving . . . violent purgatorial discharges of pent-up energies, purifying fire; situations of life and death extremes, power struggles, all that is titanic, potent, and massive.”  Collectively we will be experiencing a massive purge of all things Plutonic in the time surrounding the Partial Solar Eclipse due to the eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, with Pluto conjoining its own South Node. Within the discharge can be found vital empowerment as described above by Tarnas, the question becoming what do you want to empower?

Planetary Nodes can be confusing for some people to understand when first coming across them, but I can vouch from years of experience with them that they are well worth the effort to integrate into astrological practice. There are valid reasons to use heliocentric planetary nodes (calculated from the accurate concept of the Sun being center of our solar system) as well as the geocentric nodes (calculated as they appear from our Earth-bound perspective as the center). The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is closely conjoining the geocentric North Node of Pluto (geocentric North Node of Pluto is 20º33′, lunation is 20º41′ Cancer) and Pluto is tightly conjoined its own geocentric South Node (Pluto at 20º00′, geocentric South Node of Pluto is 20º32′). Pluto and the Partial Eclipse are also closely conjoining the heliocentric nodes of Pluto. This means that Pluto is in the process of crossing the ecliptic from northern latitude into southern. For astronomical information and diagrams on the alignment of the lunation with Pluto, which also means someone on Pluto with a massive telescope could watch the earth transit in front of the Sun, see here and here.

american gothic

American Gothic (1930) Grant Wood

In contrast to the current transit of Pluto across its own South Node, Pluto transited across its North Node in 1929 through 1931, stationing retrograde in close proximity in October 1928. The year 1929 is famous of course for the Wall Street stock market crash that led into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Dane Rudhyar in his landmark text The Planetary and Lunar Nodes cut to the heart of the significance of paying attention to planetary nodes, writing that “in philosophical traditions concerning the meaning of astrology it was stated that the fundamental reality of what we call a planet is not its material mass but rather the space which its movements define.” Planetary nodes bring awareness into the relationships between the entire orbital arcs of planets in our solar system, therefore in archetypal terms we are talking about discerning relationships between the entirety of the archetypal cycle of each celestial wanderer to one another, and to our experiences on Earth.

When planets ascend across their north node into northern latitude as Pluto did in the transition from the 1920s into the 1930s, to Rudhyar we experience “an increase in the radiation of the planet’s characteristic attributes.” In part this period of history involves not only the Great Depression but also the rise of fascism, nationalistic forces, and the ascending terror of Hitler and Nazi Germany. When a planet reaches its northern bending of forming a square to its own nodes, as Pluto did in Libra in the transition from the 1970s into the 1980s, Rudhyar stated the planetary archetype reaches a collective “turning point” and thereafter begins the trajectory down in latitude toward where we find ourselves now with it crossing its descending node toward the south. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote:

One of the most significant ways of thinking of the nodes is to consider them as two “gates.” When a planet [Rudhyar includes the Moon here] is at its north node, its essential function and quality in the solar system is focused upon our Earth-space which is then most able to absorb and assimilate it. When the planet is at its south node what is released as “substantial” factors are the results of the relationship between the characteristic nature of the planet and whatever in the Earth-space has absorbed its power. If the relationship has been positive, then what has been absorbed has also been “assimilated” and integrated to the Earth-consciousness and has produced a new “seed,” i.e., new experiences and values. If the relationship has proven negative, what is being released or exteriorized are disintegrating materials, or negative existential results.

It’s easy to find the “disintegrating” and “negative existential” manifestations of the Pluto archetype in current events these days. There has in fact been a re-activation of white nationalism and supremacy and many people have had fears of another rise of fascist forces rising. There is also the additional factor that Saturn also has its South Node in Capricorn close in degree to the South Node of Pluto, and that Saturn is now heading toward a conjunction with Pluto at the beginning of 2020 that will be aligned with the South Nodes of both Pluto and Saturn. It is in fact striking that the second World War erupted after Pluto crossed its ascending node, and that the “Cold War” in the aftermath took shape in alignment with a conjunction between Pluto and Saturn.  NATO was then formed between North American and European nations against the threat they feared from the Soviet Union, and today as this eclipse forms with Pluto on its own South Node the relationships within NATO are taking center stage in current events.

The last time Pluto was conjoining its South Node was the beginning of the 1770s leading into the Revolutionary War that created the United States of America. As has been often discussed, the USA is now approaching its first ever Pluto return, with the coming conjunction of Pluto and Saturn being intrinsic. The USA is known as a country formed by immigrants, a creation also involving the displacement and destruction of indigenous populations as well as enslavement of people from the African continent. Today all of these issues are flooding collective events, including the controversial “Zero Tolerance” policy of the U.S. administration that separated family members attempting to cross the border. It is  striking how resonate the term “Zero Tolerance” is with the archetypal meaning of the Pluto and Saturn cycle.


Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1647) Rembrandt van Rijn

Within the raging thunderbolts and hurtling winds of collective history, the Partial Solar Eclipse occurring in Cancer illuminates our capacity on personal levels to nurture and protect what we hold most dear. Within relationships with loved ones and within larger spheres of community, the opposition from Pluto to the eclipse highlights the necessity of taking the personal responsibility to live in alignment with one’s integrity and to devote choices and commitments in service to the greater good for all beings, not just those we feel bound to by family or culture. The polarity of Cancer to Pluto and Saturn occupying Capricorn, in tandem with the nodes and coming Total Lunar Eclipse along the Leo and Aquarius axis, places importance on finding our inner emotional security so that we can claim personal power without the shadow of needing to control others or be competitively threatened by the power of others. The Cancer Partial Solar Eclipse holds potential to discover the essential value you want to cultivate within that you can then share with others for their own support.

The eclipse is separating from a trine with Neptune in Pisces, as Neptune continues to be in range of a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. Neptune’s transit in Pisces has coincided with massive illusions and disillusionment, the ascendancy of “fake news” and massive amounts of the populace getting their imaginal fix from phones, tablets, and other electronic devices all being closely monitored by the hierarchical power structures we can associate with Pluto in Capricorn. Part of reclaiming our inner security is engaging with our inner imaginal potency and our capacity to help co-create through our participation the world we hope to dream into being, rather than the nightmare we fear.

hiroshige carp swimming against waterfall

Utagawa Hiroshige (1852) Carp Swimming Against Waterfall

Jupiter Stations Direct

The Partial Solar Eclipse is in the exaltation of Jupiter, with Jupiter in a trine to the eclipse. Jupiter holds monumental influence due to stationing direct on July 10, two days before the eclipse.  Jupiter is in the home of Mars, as the red planet is currently retrograde en route to aligning with an incredibly intense Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July. Jupiter brings hope and reason for faith in the unknown, yet this simultaneously requires unflinching awareness of the depths and shadow of current circumstances. Jupiter is now in forward motion through the rest of Scorpio where it will reside until entering its home in Sagittarius at the beginning of November.  It is a bright Evening Star shining in the same sky that both Saturn and Mars can be seen in. The forward momentum of Jupiter will bring corresponding opportunities to find sources of expansion and growth within the disintegration of societal structures signified by Pluto’s influence on the eclipse. With the activation of Pluto, this likely could come with connecting to ancestral lineages whether that is one’s blood family or family of like-minded souls.

Interestingly from a planetary node perspective, Jupiter has stationed in range of a wide conjunction with the heliocentric nodes of both Mars and Mercury (heliocentric North Node of Mercury, heliocentric South Node of Mars). This is of vital importance due to Mars already being retrograde, and the fact that in the forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon we will also experience Mercury stationing retrograde just as the Moon reaches full reception of light. During Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we’ve also been experiencing it forming a square with eclipses as well as the transiting lunar nodes. When I previously wrote about Jupiter in Scorpio, I shared the following about it forming a whole sign square to the lunar nodes being in Leo and Aquarius:

The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.


Rembrandt van Rijn (1655)

Red Star of Ares

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is not in aspect to the eclipse, but is one of the most important underlying factors. We’ve been experiencing Mars retrograde since June 26 and so now have a better sense of what elements of life are shifting in correspondence. A more recent element is that Mars went out of bounds by southern declination on July 7, adding in a higher degree of freedom seeking to its retrograde vibe. Just as Mars is at its brightest red at night as an Evening Star, so is the inner heat we feel in correspondence also inflamed. Desires may be emerging that we have been denying or unaware of previously that are in fact vital elements of our nature to begin integrating and embodying.

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is forming a retrograde loop pattern relative to the ecliptic that is taking it into its most extreme southern latitude, as it is in the sign of its southern bending to its heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Gary Caton has been doing a lot of intriguing work with the planetary nodes and retrograde loop patterns, and has added on to Rudhyar’s previous interpretation by suggesting the current Mars retrograde will lead us into the deepest subconscious elements of the Mars archetype. Since Mars is aligned with the South Node of the Moon and the Total Lunar Eclipse will be on the South Node of the Moon, the theme of sacrifice takes prominence. Again the words of Dane Rudhyar are worth reflecting on:

At the south node one does not build personality; one may expand it, releasing its contents in full dedication to a community and an ideal. There are many ways of speaking of sacrifice, some quite meaningless, even actually egocentric or masochistic. But the true meaning of sacrifice is “making sacred”; and this implies a complete dedication of one’s thoughts to what one may call either God or mankind – – or to a specific group, culture or ideal. This means a surrender of the ego-will.

— Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

The intensification of Mars will be building during the entire forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon, as Mars will oppose the Sun at the heart of its retrograde at the same time as the Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27.  While this is happening Mars is also getting closer and closer to receiving Chiron in Aries through a sextile, and forming a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. At times we will need to retreat into inner spaces to process everything coming up in correspondence. As this will all be happening in the middle of eclipses, the information and messages coming our way could be nonlinear and feel irrational. Be open to what is coming up, while maintaining discernment for what to act on and what to simply witness within.

Virgo 1 decan-Agosto,_cosmè_tura_e_maestro_di_ercole,_03

Virgo 1 Decan image by Cosimo Tura from “Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres” fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia (1476-84)

Venus & Ceres in Virgo

At such a Plutonic syzygy, it is fitting that Venus in Virgo is applying to a conjunction with Ceres. Venus is in its fall in Virgo, which can be seized in terms of walking and witnessing with awareness the myriad forms of suffering occurring around us, offering service where appropriate. The world is full of suffering, yet Venus and Ceres in Virgo also offer us the potential to ground and find the resources around us that will nurture us and others. Their alignment offers strong discernment found within subjective inner senses and intuition. Venus and Ceres also support transmuting nervous or anxious energy into creative work or productive maintenance such as focusing on needed cleaning, repair, or purification.

Venus and Ceres are in the home and exaltation of Mercury, which is notable because Mercury is in Leo, the home of the Sun being partially eclipsed. Moreover, Mercury is bright as an Evening Star and on its way toward stationing retrograde in Leo in a couple of weeks. Gary Caton has also been doing a lot of interesting research into the retrograde loop patterns Mercury forms when retrograde, and the one Mercury is now forming is notable because it will take it into extreme southern latitude just like the Mars retrograde loop is also taking it into extreme southern latitude. This is because Mercury in Leo is at the southern bending to its own heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Mercury is conjoining its geocentric South Node at the Partial Solar Eclipse, meaning it is now heading toward southern latitude and will not return back to cross over the ecliptic to go into northern latitude again until August 28. Furthermore, Mercury is in Leo is at 17 degrees at the time of the eclipse, the same degree it will be when it experiences it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde journey.

While the writing in the previous paragraph may sound like a confusing foreign language, there is a simple takeaway. The combination of all of this happening for Mercury with Venus and Ceres coming together in Virgo suggests rich fertility to be found in our inner landscapes.


4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Partial Solar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Moon rules the third face of Cancer, bringing extra potency to the shadow cast by Luna upon our solar light in the eclipse.  In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 115-6). Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.  Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things . . . an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain” (p. 117).

Hecate has dominion within the third face of Cancer according to the Hellenistic text the 36 AirsFinding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hecate for guidance. Hecate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hecate is also the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn (check out this article by Charles Obert on Saturn as Feminine and Crone). Hecate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  For ages Hecate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul. She serves as a reminder of the inner guidance we can call upon to discern what choices and steps to next take on our path through the liminal season of eclipses and retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury we now enter.


Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Plume.