Leo Lunar Eclipse: Scythe of Ceres

Sunflower clock

Sunflower Clock by Athanasius Kircher

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

The Moon will glow in rosy shadow as the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo culminates on January 31.  Eclipses reveal the wonder of our living world through the stunning optics of our Moon not only appearing to be the same size as our Sun, but also mutating in color during the exact alignment.  During a total lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our planet upon the face of the Moon, creating a reddish light as opposed to the total blackness that manifests in a solar eclipse.  Venus joins the Sun in Aquarius as it casts shadows on the Leo Lunar Eclipse, bringing an influence of searching for inner harmony amidst the numerous corresponding changes that will occur in between the lunar eclipse and the Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15.  We all know the Leo stereotype in astrology of the solar hero journeying for personal glory.  Yet the type of heroine illuminated by the Leo Lunar Eclipse willingly descends into shadowy inner depths in order to discover the essential value they may serve the needs of the collective with, helping to heal and strengthen bonds of community.

Lunar eclipses occur when a Full Moon aligns with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, meaning that the polarity of Sun and Moon aligns with the intersection of the orbital arcs of Sun and Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon or serpent consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

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. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma, patterns, and attachments whose time has come.  These themes are amplified by the ruler of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, the Aquarius Sun, being conjoined the South Node of the Moon.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is “total” and particularly potent due to it being closely aligned with the lunar nodes, with both the Sun and Moon only three degrees away.  While the influence of the Moon residing in Leo brings an element of creative actualization, the weight of Aquarian leverage on the syzygy necessitates taking into account a wider perspective of humanitarian concerns.  Those who have been alienated or choose to inhabit the fringe will demand attention as our planet’s shadow slips across the face of our Moon.  Creative solutions are needed for the vast array of issues people are struggling with around the world; while those solutions will not be appearing magically in the eclipsed light of the Moon, personal and collective narratives will shift dramatically in its wake and force issues to surface awareness. Within the turning wheel of fortune we can gain clarity for what needs our full attention within intimate circles as well as within broader collective concerns.  The eclipse season we are entering swings toward an emphasis on Aquarius and the South Node, just as the eclipses in 2017 had more emphasis on the North Node side of Leo.

Ceres statue

Ceres by Augustin Pajou (1768-70)

The dwarf planet Ceres is closely conjoined the eclipse, only two minutes away from the eclipsed Leo Moon.  As an archetype, Ceres both produces the resources needed for vitality as well as bears the seeds of renewal. Yet the swing of her scythe that brings the harvest necessitates loss as much as it brings forth gain.  Just as the Leo Moon will be eclipsed by shadow, so was Ceres eclipsed by pain and rage over her own personal tragedy.  In an element of her myth that parallels the story of Isis and Osiris, Ceres was willing to incarnate into human form as part of fully embodying her grief.  Though she needed to take time away from producing growth in the world in order to process and release her trauma, Ceres ultimately mediated a compromise in which she returned to her service of providing fertile abundance for the greater collective.  Ceres reveals the importance of taking time and space away from production in order to grieve, while also illuminating the resolve necessary to return to the world of suffering in order to bolster strength in others.

As Ceres aligns with the Moon on the North Node side of Leo, Venus accompanies the Sun on the other side of the axis in Aquarius.  While Ceres and the Moon are in the Egyptian bounds of Saturn, the Aquarius Sun is in the Egyptian bounds of Venus.  We can find here the message Ceres received in her journey into the mysteries of darkness, that though life and love will return so will death and strife coexist.   The gravitas of Saturn that demands us to mature and be accountable for how we navigate cycles of change is amplified by Saturn in Capricorn ruling the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus in Aquarius.    The influence of Venus in Aquarius upon the lunar eclipse is not about hedonistic desire for everything we find pleasurable, but rather brings a purification to our pursuits of pleasure and what we value.  Saturn in Capricorn hones the raw into the fine-tuned and essential, and so its influence on the Sun and Venus at the eclipse takes us into a process of clarifying the values to prioritize in our choices and discovering who we want to become based more upon internal authenticity rather than external acclaim.

Venus in Aquarius is also in the bounds of Jupiter at the lunar eclipse, while Jupiter in Scorpio is engaged in an impactful relationship with both the Leo Lunar Eclipse on January 31 and the Aquarius Solar Eclipse on February 15.   Moreover, Jupiter is in its own bounds, ruled by Mars in the home and bounds of Jupiter (4º of Sagittarius).  As I’ve previously written, Jupiter in Scorpio facilitates delving deeper into our own subconscious as well as gaining insight into the sea of collective unconscious swirling around us.   Combined with Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.  Yet its challenging square aspect to the eclipses in Leo and Aquarius necessitates courageously facing difficult, disillusioning questions and allowing the answers we discover to help us shed beliefs that have been keeping us contained within illusion rather than being alertly aware in the present moment.

trident with naga

Trident with Naga, Bronze (11th – 12th Century)

Nodes of Neptune

The eclipse falls across the nodes of Neptune, with the Leo Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.  This also means that the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus are also conjoining the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius.  The nodes of Neptune being in Leo and Aquarius is something I have spent time contemplating yet still have difficulty putting into words. Like all archetypes, the best we can do in the end is observe how events and images emerge into form in correspondence. One element I feel involves the archetypal arc of Neptune being related to spirituality as an access point into the interconnected field of our reality, and how this connection with Spirit can both connect us to the needs of living diversity across our world, as well as often necessitates time in exile, as a hermit or recluse in order to connect with divinity from within.  It also makes sense that the North Node of Neptune in Leo goes along with the phenomenon of spiritual glamor, and how there has been many examples of people taking on spiritual guru roles revealed to be narcissistic abusers of power.  Ultimately, it seems the North Node of Neptune in Leo is about centering consciousness in our heart so that we can engage the interconnected field of our reality from a heart-centered place of love and compassion.

For another perspective, the evolutionary astrologer Mark Jones has theorized that the North Node of Neptune in Leo correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  Part of this interpretation relates to the Uranus rulership of Aquarius developed by Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology, wherein Uranus is linked to both traumatic memories from past lives held by the soul, as well as our capacity to liberate ourselves from being incapacitated by them.  Two areas this interpretation could play out are found in art and activism, both art integrating activism and activism incorporating art.  There are powerful aspects found within the Leo Lunar Eclipse to facilitate dynamic creative breakthroughs, and its alignment with the nodes of Neptune brings the potential to release elements of tragedy and trauma fettering within our collective through artistic expression.  There is a lot of innovation within the aspects of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to wield in the process of making the change you wish to see in the world.

 

wands06

Six of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

 

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo eclipses falls in the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   We find here an image of triumphant victory, a strident champion riding a white horse and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  The pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, a complex that deserves attention since the Leo Moon will become engulfed in blood red shadow.

Jupiter rules the second decan of Leo, and so with Jupiter in Scorpio as well as Saturn in Capricorn in the background of the eclipse, its more likely than normal that those who seek glory and fame without inner integrity will fall or be cut down from heights.  Its worth contemplating the question of what does victory truly mean for you, and what degree of external validation is actually needed.  Allow the redness of the Moon to take you within the purity of heart, and let the authentic presence you discover there take the helm of navigating through the sweeping tides of the coming eclipse season.

References

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

 

 

Leo New Moon

Anselm Kiefer midsummer

Midsummer Night (1980) Anselm Kiefer

The Leo New Moon on August 2 is as black as all new moons go, but the dark night sky will be bejeweled with more glimmering objects than normal as all five visible planets will be on display following the setting of the Sun.  Mercury is more briefly aglow at sunset while Venus sustains her brilliance through twilight, with Jupiter also shining above as Mars inches toward Saturn in the depth of each night.  This is also the pagan holiday time of Lughnasadh, one of the eight sabbats that in the Northern Hemisphere is our Mid-Summer, a traditional celebration of harvest and communal festivities.  There is a harvest to reap and share with others in the coming lunar month, and in the twilight hour when cobalt shadows nourish imaginative vision the visibility of all five planets likewise beckon visions of love and creativity.

Leo signifies the radiance of the Sun, the radiance of the heart that expresses an audacious glow in the face of the unknown future.  The Leo New Moon is separating from a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and marks the return of Mars to the fiery sign of Sagittarius, with Venus co-present in Leo.  This New Moon is an opportune time to figure out what you want and then set your life in motion to go after it through heart-centered expression that unites mind, body, and soul.  Saturn continues to be square to the transiting lunar nodes and Neptune, and is slowing to a standstill as it will station direct on August 13.  As a result, Saturn is at the crossroads similar to Hekate, serving as the guardian of the threshold holding the wisdom of what needs to be both released and given birth to.  The creative actualization of the Leo New Moon needs us to access Saturn through being honest about our essential needs and taking the responsibility to seize the moment with flair and immediacy.  The emphasized element of fire in this New Moon is a torch held by Hekate to illuminate a karmic path forward, while disintegrating the fogginess of former illusions.

It is important to realize that there is absolutely nothing in the air element at this New Moon, and that in contrast there is a great deal of fire with the Sun, Moon, and Venus in Leo, Saturn and Mars in Sagittarius, and Uranus in Aries.  Fire signs are passionate, inspirational, and direct in ardor, and this is great as long as our relationships are aligned with similar goals and needs.  Fire signs are not as adept in patience and empathy, or being able to listen to not only the words but the emotions of others and communicate with compassion.  Since there is nothing transiting in air signs to help facilitate communication, it will be vital to focus on listening with active presence to the underlying message from others without taking personally the language form or undertones that trigger sensitivities.  This is even more the case considering that Mars is in range of a square to both Mercury (separating) and Venus (applying).

Magritte,_The_Palace_of_Memories,_Le_palais_des_souvenirs,_1939

The Palace of Memories (1939) by Rene Magritte

Uranus stationed retrograde in Aries a few days before the New Moon and so is saturating the lunation in shattering Uranian impulses and insights that bring liberating clarity.  Venus in Leo is separating from, but still in range of a trine with retrograde Uranus and so whatever the immediate impact was of Uranus stationing in trine to Venus has already been felt.  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.  As a result the Leo New Moon has an amplified charge of facilitating a fresh start in an area of life that had become stagnant or limiting.  Uranus in its early stages of slowly creeping backwards is potent for opening to unconscious forces as best we can, surrendering to the messages from dreams or the stillness of a moment that gives access to whatever is arising from within.  Uranus here can bring sudden revelations that feel more like remembering rather than striving to learn something new.

In recent years Uranus has been stationing retrograde toward the end of July, last year stationing retrograde simultaneously with Venus stationing retrograde.  In contrast, this time Uranus is stationing retrograde in trine to Venus increasing in light as an Evening Star.  Uranus stationing with so much in Leo surrounding it can spark playful rebelliousness and wild abandon, taking whatever opportunities present themselves for claiming the freedom to act from the heart without consideration of societal constructs and conditioning.  In the drama of life, the stage is set at this Leo New Moon to imbue your role in life with self-assured panache.  Uranus will be retrograde until December 29, 2016 when it will station direct at 20º33′ of Aries.  The astrological landscape will be completely different then, with Jupiter in Libra opposing Uranus, and Saturn in Sagittarius in trine to Uranus and sextile to Jupiter.  Thus the curtain lifts at the Leo New Moon to unveil the storylines that will coincide with these next five months of Uranus retrograde, and so there is no time like the present to courageously initiate the actions you want to take without reservation.

At the same time that Uranus stationed retrograde in the days leading up to the New Moon, Mercury at the end of Leo formed an exact last quarter square with Mars at the end of Scorpio.  The square between Mars and Mercury has been a pivotal theme of 2016, as the year began with Mercury forming a square at the beginning of Aquarius to Mars at the beginning of Scorpio.   In addition, because Mercury will be retrograde in September there will be two more squares between Mars and Mercury in coming months that could tie back to this time:  in September with Mercury retrograde in Virgo and Mars in Sagittarius, and in October with Mercury in Libra and Mars in Capricorn.  Mars and Mercury forming a square can correspond with intense arguments, conflicts or anger, yet the volatile nature of these planets are also intrinsic to forcing change.  In combination with the stationing of Uranus, the Leo New Moon follows significant catalysts for growth that may have felt uncomfortable but forced an issue needing to be revealed in order to create a necessary shift.

titan's goblet

The Titan’s Goblet (1833) Thomas Cole

The re-entrance of Mars into Sagittarius at the same time as the Leo New Moon seems to be one of those cosmic messages of a vital initiation into a new level of our journey.  Mars being in Sagittarius will start to make the movement of Mars moving forward again since being retrograde feel faster and like events in life are picking up again with everything set in motion.  Unlike the time period of March through May in which Mars entered Sagittarius only to then stand still and slowly move backwards into Scorpio, this time Mars is on a quest straight through the sign of the Centaur that leads to a conjunction with Saturn and the fixed star Antares at the end of August.  Bernadette Brady in her book on fixed stars said that Antares being a Royal Star “offers great success” but “also indicates that the person may well cause their own undoing,” stating that the essentiality of Antares “to generate success by going through a cleansing life-and-death experience can cause a person to seek this intensity even when it is not required” (p. 287).  Since Saturn is also involved in this triple conjunction, the trine of Saturn to the Leo New Moon is opportune for responsibly getting a handle on desires as the month begins in order to creatively manifest whatever is in the highest good rather than set things up for a fall into destruction.

At the 2016 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), Jason Holley gave an insightful talk about Leo entitled Leo and the Solar Field: Creative and Destructive Forces of Narcissism.   Holley illuminated both the creative potency and pitfalls associated with Leo through exploration of Herakles wrestling with the Nemean Lion and gaining its impenetrable skin to wear as armor in his following labors. Holley compared the wrestling of Herakles to wrestling with the archetypal field, as the Nemean Lion was an archetypal force that fell from the Moon at the bidding of Hera to destroy Herakles.  Holley also focused on the rejection felt by Herakles after returning to King Eurystheus to proudly show off the lion skin he was wearing, only to have Eurystheus become so frightened he hid in a subterranean wine jar.

Archetypes are forces that move through us, yet in the myth Herakles merged with the Nemean Lion through wearing its skin, akin to over identifying with an archetypal force in order to inflate the self.  Holley linked the narcissism that can come from Leo to prior rejection of the self in childhood or relationships, leading to the compensation of putting on the lion skin and becoming an archetype to generate a field of magnetism for others to orbit around and mirror.  Feelings of failure in the ordinary world lead to withdrawal into the extraordinary world in order to preserve a feeling of specialness through charismatic channeling of the archetype.  Yet the resulting disconnect with the ordinary brings relational isolation, as becoming a performer adored by an audience also means people are not necessarily connecting with the real person underneath the persona.  Holley said while this can be a soul saving gesture in terms of protecting a sense of specialness, the act of making oneself into a performer possessed by an archetype can lead to pressure to perform and no identity outside of achieving ambitions and acclaim.

One of the antidotes for destructive narcissism Holley brought up is the need for relational mediation, in which the relational field created with another helps step the archetypal force down into metabolizable parts so that both one’s specialness and ordinariness are embraced, and the individual can feel gifted while also an interdependent part of the group, a star amongst a vast field of stars.  This is an important point that can be further connected to the month ahead that also features Mars and Saturn coming together in Sagittarius in addition to the Sun in Leo and Uranus in Aries.  Finding and valuing the relationships in which both our ordinary and extraordinary sides are accepted will help us embrace being ordinary, instead of becoming so upset or impatient that we are not achieving our extraordinary ambitions that we sabotage or neglect important areas of our mundane reality and responsibilities.

Fire by Kircher

Diagram showing the interconnectedness of fire within the earth by Athanasius Kircher from Mundus Subterraneus

Mercury will play the role of mediator with great aplomb in the coming lunar month, as the planet of Hermes has returned to Virgo, both its home and exaltation.  Because Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August, Mercury will continue to be in Virgo through October 7, an excessively long time for Mercury to inhabit one sign.  Currently Mercury is both dignified and increasing in light as an Evening Star, a herald of the twilight hour who can help reflect upon and digest the essential learning of each day’s experience.  Mercury has also been making pivotal aspects by transit, having moved from conjoining Venus to being square to Mars in the recent past, and in the week following the New Moon will move forward to engage the square between Saturn and Neptune.  Mercury opposite to Neptune and in a superior square to Saturn will help clarify any disorientation that has been occurring in sync with the ongoing square between Saturn and Neptune.  As Mercury will then cross over the North Node of the Moon, Mercury is not only mediating but guiding awareness toward new opportunities for growth.

Returning to Jason Holley’s talk Leo and the Solar Field:  Creative and Destructive Forces of Narcissism, Holley made a brilliant point about Virgo and Mercury rooted in the concept of the natural zodiac utilized in Evolutionary Astrology.  Holley stated that when there has been too much narcissistic Leo identification with archetypal forces, then the Virgo Mercury role will become overly perfectionist due to the pressure of needing to perform at a high level, feeling both stress and inner judgment in relation to achieving ambitions.  Furthermore, just as Herakles performed his labors as an act of atonement so can Virgo Mercury succumb to overworking from a place of guilt more so than intrinsic desire.  In contrast, if the mediation of Virgo Mercury can help bring down the narcissism of Leo to being special while also grounded, then the Virgo Mercury can have genuine humility (instead of self punishing humility) and the sort of magical attention to detail and the moment that imbibes the mundane with all of the enchanting Leo magnetism and wonder.

wands06

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Leo associated with the 6 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, in which we see a victorious champion riding a triumphant steed and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, analyzing the second decan of Leo as holding the triumph of great acts performed by those who have created an authentic persona and ego-structure through which to project their spirit.  This is fitting as Jupiter rules the second face of Leo.  Coppock emphasized that the victory signified by this face “comes through authenticity, not the perfection of character or moral virtue,” and that it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan, for nothing tests the character so much as victory” (p. 128).  While Coppock wrote that few can rejoice in the light of a lavishly fed ego without becoming blinded, he concluded that the potential of the decan necessitates the alchemy of mediating an authentic connection between the persona one projects into life and the spirit fire within.

Jupiter in Virgo at the time of the New Moon is within a degree of where it stationed retrograde in January 2016, and as it has been moving away from its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its square with Saturn, it is applying toward an opposition with Chiron and a quincunx with Uranus.  There is an essential adjustment to be made in tandem with Jupiter to fully engage with life in all of its mundane details, projecting soulful spirit into the world through our heart-centered essence instead of projecting everything into a relationship or other external dependencies.  The bold, passionate immediacy of Leo is a thing of beauty, paraphrasing John Keats, that is a joy of increasing loveliness forever.  Find this place of joy within at this fiery Leo New Moon and share its love and beauty with life.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

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