Scorpio Lunar Eclipse
“Fate, up against your will . . . “from “The Killing Moon” by Echo and the Bunnymen
Total lunar eclipses are one of the most striking visual phenomenons of night, as the usually bright, silvery Moon turns bloody, crimson red. The reddening likeness to blood speaks to the catalytic life force that can be released through personal storylines during times of eclipses, with major new developments and desires often overturning the familiar into directions careening off course into a great unknown. There can be passions of eros present as well as overwhelming emotional tides of psyche unleashed that can make a sense of stability difficult to sustain. Dragons have long been a symbol for the chaotic creation unleashed by eclipses, linking the Moon being consumed by shadow with the image of a dragon devouring her light. The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms. The changes that come during periods of eclipses similarly require us to release fixation upon elements of life passing away, while simultaneously the promise of new forms coming together can be felt. The Total Lunar Eclipse on May 15 or 16, depending upon your time zone, is particularly potent in terms of its disintegrative and dissolving impact, corresponding with much larger and sweeping tides irrevocably altering our collective landscape.
According to the essential dignity scheme, Scorpio is a place where nothing is exalted and where the Moon has her fall. Planets and lights in their fall are brought down to low lying places, depressions in the ground and of the mind, yet within their subterranean journey they come to terms with matters that cannot be reached anywhere else. The Moon in her fall of Scorpio feels things intensely and deeply, necessitating a descent into buried emotions and previously hidden sources of information and insight. The eclipsed Moon at 25º17’ Scorpio will have only barely passed through her own South Node at 22º22’ Scorpio when her opposition with the Sun becomes exact. 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. While the nodes of the Moon demarcate the places of eclipses whenever a New Moon or Full Moon forms in close proximity, they also mark dynamic points of change in lunar latitude that have been tracked by astrologers as far back as the cuneiform tablets utilized by ancient Mesopotamian sky watchers. 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.
Thus not only does the Moon in her fall symbolize descent, the fact that the Moon is crossing the ecliptic to descend into southern latitude through the gate of her south node further signifies descending into depths. Releasing, emptying, purging, detoxifying, decluttering and decomposing are all typical keywords that astrologers generally link to lunar eclipses aligned with the south node. Similar to how the south node can be a place of sacrificial fires of purification in Vedic astrology, Dane Rudhyar also described the south node as a place of sacrifice as in “making sacred” rather than egoic sacrifice in which we expect something in return. When the Moon descends across her south node from northern into southern latitude, it is as if the entire arc of material being assimilated since the most recent union with the north node (in this case the recent Taurus Solar Eclipse on April 30) becomes focalized for processing and release. Rudhyar further stated that positive relational material can become assimilated and integrated to produce new seeds of values and experiences when the Moon passes through her own south node, whereas there will be a disintegrative release of more negative relational material.
During the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse the Sun at 25º17’ Taurus will be closely aligned with the North Node of the Moon at 22º22’ Taurus, casting the shadow of Earth across the face of the Moon. Since the Moon holds memories and material from our past as well as unconscious patterns we have been replicating, the alignment of the Moon with her own south node can facilitate a release of past accumulated material as new developments, desires, and presence emerge through the alignment of the Sun with the North Node. Due to the Sun being co-present with Uranus in Taurus while also forming a flowing trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn, the breakthrough experiences arising in the wake of the eclipse could feel like stepping off a precipice into untold potential like the Fool arcanum in tarot. The trine between the Sun with Pluto as well as the sextile between the Lunar Eclipse and Pluto can help in letting go of resistance to the transformational impact of Pluto that ultimately empowers despite needing to face fears of having to let go of familiar sources of stability in the process.
There has been a long string of previous full moons in aspect with Pluto since the Pisces Full Moon last September 20, 2021 that was sextile Pluto: the Full Moon in Aries square Pluto on October 20, the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 19 trine Pluto, the Full Moon in Cancer on January 18 opposite Pluto, the Full Moon in Virgo on March 18 trine Pluto, and the Full Moon in Libra on April 16 square Pluto. Combined with the extended relationship between Venus with Pluto from December through early March due to Venus passing through her retrograde phase, we have collectively journeyed through a long stretch of needing to surrender to the underworld processes of decay and regeneration brought by Pluto. With the Scorpio Lunar eclipse sextile Pluto, whether we are feeling a new sense of power to claim or feeling powerless in the face of difficult challenges, by facing whatever issues are arising and staying present rather than avoiding through denial or resistance, there will be opportunities for integrating a deeper sense of resilient empowerment out of any experiences of loss or letting go.
The aspect that makes the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio especially jarring is that it is forming an intensifying square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn is moving slower than normal in preparation for stationing retrograde on June 4, bringing increased gravity into the tension formed by the star of Kronos with the eclipse. Saturn’s penetrating gaze and sinuous contemplation will be interfacing with the emotional dynamics and life changes unleashed in correspondence with the eclipse. Saturn demands the taking of responsibility and claiming of authority in acting with accountability and integrity. Yet with emotions and fears collectively running high due to multiple economic crises, polarizing political conflict, and violent warfare, Saturn grinding its motion to a halt while occupying the southern bending of the lunar nodes speaks to the potential for fears and overwhelming emotions having a dissolving impact upon the required boundaries, structures, and dutiful work needed to be implemented. The harsh square aspect between Saturn with the eclipse will make things real, forcing to the surface underlying emotional dynamics and previously hidden material that can be utilized to reassess boundaries within relationships as well as the needed use of time and space in our daily work and relating.
The longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that dominated the volatile astrology of 2021 and will continue to do so throughout 2022 is acutely triggered by the present eclipse season, as the Taurus Solar Eclipse on April 30 was applying to a conjunction with Uranus and the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse is in a close square aspect with Saturn. There are innumerable sources of rage and grief occurring around the world and within personal storylines, making the process of grieving and processing emotional content especially intense with the Moon also being eclipsed within her fall of Scorpio. Saturn’s tension with the eclipse can bring guidance in how to work with the grief and difficult emotions in ways that can help channel them into needed work and care within our communities and personal circles. Saturn will be bringing lessons in how to sustain the persevering resilience required to patiently, consistently, and reliably persist in building the life we desire for ourselves while contributing to the creation of the kind of world we wish to live in through embodying our most essential values within our thoughts and actions.
While the Lunar Eclipse is making a harsh aspect with Saturn, it is forming a flowing trine aspect with Mars and Neptune in Pisces. Mars rules the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse while applying to a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on May 17. The direct channel between the watery Scorpio eclipse and its fiery ruler Mars occupying the extremely passionate, final decan of Pisces can create a tipping point within emotional dynamics that require care and compassion. With Mars closely conjoining Neptune, many may feel a need to dissociate or escape from difficult emotional challenges and entanglements. Pay attention to what can be a healthy distraction or emotionally nurturing pursuit versus forms of escapism that will only lead to becoming further stuck in the quagmires of Scorpio. Mars with Neptune in Pisces ruling such a potent eclipse can also swing toward victimizing and blaming behavior or becoming overly self-righteous and aggressively crusading with belief.
Mars is not only applying toward a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces but also an integrative sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Altogether these aspects can also facilitate taking inspired action rooted within one’s spiritual as well as personal relationships, finding ways for sources of spirit and imagination to open a larger view of reality and future goals to work through. The alignment between Mars and Neptune is occurring near the same place where there was a conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces on April 12. Whatever new dreams and visions of creative possibility or insight were experienced during the time of Jupiter and Neptune coming together will likely be experiencing an acceleration of development with Mars now coming into contact with Neptune. There will also be a need to contend with whatever disruptions to life structures and relationships were created by the impact of Jupiter and Neptune dissolving the familiar while opening awareness to exciting new possibilities.
In contrast to the ruler of the eclipse and the South Node of the Moon, Mars, forming a conjunction with Neptune, the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Taurus, Venus, is in close proximity with Chiron in Aries. Venus and Chiron in Aries bring up the wounds we hold within our numerous relationships with humans and the other-than-human, the collective wounds involving the separation of humanity from nature as well as the way our wounds and trauma create separations within our personal relationships. Although Venus and Chiron in Aries can activate relational wounds, they also hold the medicine within their union for discovering the agency required to tend and work through the wounding we carry. Venus and Chiron in Aries also can nurture extraordinary resiliency in bearing one’s personal wounding in order to take action on behalf of what we love and desire to create. Take whatever space is needed for rest and restoration during the time period around the eclipse, finding the relationships in which mutual support and listening are present to engage in.
Adding to the subterranean quality of the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse is the fact that Mercury is retrograde in Gemini. Mercury is at the threshold of his retrograde journey when he crosses into his phase of combustion with the Sun, entering his most intense psychopomp phase of putrefaction and regeneration as the Moon turns blood red. Fortunately, Mercury is also applying toward a harmonious sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries that will become exact on May 19. The sextile between Mercury with Jupiter can bring support for attending to whatever issues become stirred up by the eclipses so that we can better understand how to situate ourselves within the life changes we are experiencing. Furthermore, within a week of the eclipse on May 21, Mercury will pass through his regenerative conjunction with the Sun which will bring a reanimation of ideas, seeds for new visions of development, and greater clarity concerning the changes being experienced.
Jupiter in Aries is also receiving Ceres through a catalyzing square aspect in his exaltation of Cancer. Ceres in Cancer in square with Jupiter is another indication of difficult emotional content being brought to the surface for processing and grieving, yet also speaks to the potential of finding ways to take action on behalf of one’s values of care for others in the wider community. Jupiter occupying the first degree of Aries and Ceres occupying the first degree of Cancer place them on the equinox and solstice points of the cardinal axis, pointing to the likelihood that numerous issues relating to the tension between Jupiter and Ceres will become manifest in personal and collective events. Making their dynamic even more powerful is the fact that Uranus in Taurus is occupying the midpoint between Ceres and Jupiter while also at the cross-quarter, fifteenth degree of Taurus. The collective tragedies and crises emerging in timing with the eclipse will have an especially shattering emotional impact as a result, revealing the fault lines of collective issues that need attention and will be the sources of further conflict if left unaddressed. On a personal level, the dynamic between Jupiter, Ceres, and Uranus can activate acute awareness of old emotional patterns in need of release in order to step more fully into the dynamic creative potential emerging.
Scorpio 3 Decan
The Moon will be eclipsed in the third decan of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The third face of Scorpio has an amplified alchemical quality that is well suited for the Total Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio. Ruled by Venus and the Moon, it is a decan in which we must come to terms with the essential desires driving us through experiences of loss and decay, revealing the heart of whatever matters we are facing in the process. In the image of the Seven of Cups each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers. The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire that cast the shadowy veil of the material world we traverse while often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image. Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.
Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires. Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire itself. Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires. Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”
In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the curious deity Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect. The presence of Kairos in the third face of Scorpio points toward the importance of being in touch with the ripening of the moment and taking action on behalf of our true desires ripening instead of refraining out of fear.
T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets linked the Seven of Cups tarot card with the third decan of Scorpio through the power “to transform what is broken, spent, and corrupted into something new and beautiful,” writing that “the way to reap the Seven of Cups’ treasure is to pay your tribute in the form of art: paint, write songs, make music, poetry, dance.” Chang wrote that Venus ruling the third face of Scorpio reveals her secret strength in this decan for works of imagination that see beyond appearances, such as when “the painter who captures the fleeting vision of her inner eye metabolizes her inspiration into art.” Artistic processes and creativity of all forms will be one way to process the material coming up in the weeks surrounding the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse. As the meaning of the third decan suggests, the more deeply we can come into relationship with the material and our associated desires, the greater potential we will have for shedding what needs released from the past in order to experience a renewal and regeneration of our true desires.
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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.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.