Solar Eclipse in Aquarius
The Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius on February 15 is not cloaked in total blackness such as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred last August 21, yet still opens us to the mysterious matrix of eclipses that bring significant shifts in circumstances and perception. Aquarius is the constellation of the Water Pourer, and even within the use of the tropical zodiac we still associate Aquarian meaning with the one who carries the enlivening celestial waters to nourish collective lives and ideals. The diurnal home of Saturn, it is a place of work yoked to transcendent vision and creates the contemplative space needed to break free of cultural conditioning at odds with essential values.
Astrology has an ancient tradition of associating our Sun with the celestial source of soul and our Moon with the worldly reception of soul in our human forms. At a solar eclipse, we can infer that our sense of soul purpose and creative actualization we associate with our Sun is being eclipsed by the mysterious darkness found deep within our body and psyche, a darkness full of rich fertility that brings forth new life. New forms move through our life with eclipses while old forms pass away, while what was previously hidden for whatever reason emerges with stark clarity. Since Aquarius is a fixed sign, a lot of the changes happening in correspondence with the eclipse will be slower to develop yet long lasting. Since Aquarius is an air sign as well as the location of the transiting South Node of the Moon, we can expect shifts in old mental patterns and complexes, with new ideas percolating and ready to fill freshly created space.
The Aquarius Solar Eclipse is taking place near Mercury and the asteroid Juno, signifying that our mental framework of relational patterns is primed for release of aspects that have been keeping us stuck. Mercury in particular is a vital component of the eclipse, as it will enter the heart of the Sun and perfect its Superior Conjunction within a couple of days of the eclipse. This means Mercury is being purified and in a rebirth process within the eclipse, facilitating the letting go of mental debris to clear space for the influx of dynamic new ideas. With Juno also present near the eclipse, we can gain new insight into our current relationships through shedding the skin of old relational wounds, peeling away perceptions keeping us blocked from meeting the actual needs of relationships in the moment. Eclipses tend to bring in new relationships while some of our older relationships begin to fade away, but with Juno also present with the eclipse it is worth paying attention to relationship dynamics more than usual and discerning which newly emerging relationships are worth focusing on going forward.
Saturn is the traditional ruler of the eclipse, situated in the twelfth place from the syzygy. Though not in aspect to the eclipse, Saturn does find its joy in the twelfth place due to its more isolated and hidden conditions creating fertile ground for rich contemplation. Uranus is considered by many to be the modern ruler of Aquarius, and Uranus is engaged with the eclipse through a harmonious sextile. The Solar Eclipse as well as Mercury in Aquarius interacting with Uranus through a sextile amplifies the potential of the eclipse to facilitate a liberation from old mental wounds and negative thought cycles that have kept us in a loop of limitation in one way or another. Uranus is moving direct through its final passage in Aries before entering Taurus later in May this year, and so there is a dynamic Uranian wave to catch at the eclipse and ride with the full force of the sign of the Ram. At the previous Solar Eclipse in Leo last August, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect, and during the last Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect with Mercury. If you have been working toward greater Uranian emancipation over the course of the past six months, pay attention to openings emerging with the eclipse that can make the desired changes enduring.
It will be helpful to consider all of the changes in your life that have been taking place over the past year of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius, since the Aquarius Solar Eclipse is roughly in the middle of their trajectory. There was a Full Moon in Aquarius on 16 August 2016 that some labeled an eclipse (but it had absolutely no visibility), but the sequence of Leo and Aquarius eclipses did not fully kick in until the Leo Lunar Eclipse that arose on 10 February 2017. The most potent of the eclipses was the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that happened 21 August 2017, and since the current one is at the polarity of that eclipse, its possible to now gain clarity regarding the changes in life direction and relationships that have corresponded with these eclipses. It’s always important to focus on the houses of your natal chart as well as aspects with Leo and Aquarius to fine tune your analysis, but simply reflecting upon the overall narrative will bring insight that can help you acclimate to the new shifts arriving with the current eclipse.
The partial solar eclipse in Aquarius is in a saros series that began with an eclipse in 1729 that featured Mercury conjoining the South Node of the Moon. While Mercury has separated eleven degrees from the South Node of the Moon in the present eclipse, Mercury is closely conjoining the eclipse itself on the side of the South Node of the Moon, echoing the eclipse at its origins. Bernadette Brady in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark wrote “this family of eclipses is concerned with ideas and their enthusiastic expression,” leading to an onrush of ideas that may flood one’s system, “but if you can go with the new ideas, they will have positive outcomes.”
Mercury is separating from a sextile with Uranus and applying toward a conjunction with the eclipsed Aquarius Sun. Mercury has also separated from a square with Jupiter in Scorpio, adding to overarching influence the Star of Zeus in the sign of the Scorpion exerts over the eclipse. With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our ideals, with the Jupiter and Mercury tension pulling us into the core of difficult questions regarding the current state of the multiplicity of civilizations around the planet. Though Jupiter has now separated from its previous opposition with Uranus, we are still in the wake of the catalytic tidal wave instigated by Jupiter and Uranus reaching the peak of their cycle in 2016. The influence of Uranus and Mercury within the eclipse facilitates opening minds to answers that reframe circumstances and allow a bigger vision to help discern smaller choices made in the present.
Fantasy novelist Ursula Le Guin passed away earlier this year about nine days before the recent Lunar Eclipse in Leo, revivifying the memory of her work that was able to create entire worlds unto themselves, often centered around idealistic perspectives such as feminism. After receiving the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014 she spoke the following words:
I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. …
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.
– Ursula Le Guin
Gary Caton’s recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year does a marvelous job of illuminating the elemental meaning of the six pointed star Mercury forms each year within its synodic cycle. In the present year we have Mercury forming retrograde unions with the Sun in the Fire triangle, while forming direct unions with the Sun (like we are experiencing now) in Air signs. Caton wrote that since Air and Fire share the characteristic of heat, yet differ in that Fire is dry and Air is moist, it means that the Aquarius lesson of moistness “means curbing your tendency to go it alone, and joining with like-minded allies before adventuring.” Be alert for opportunities to join with like minded souls in coming weeks and months; after the eclipse Mercury will begin shifting into becoming a visible evening star again and will be moving direct until stationing retrograde in Aries on March 22 following the equinox.
The sabian symbol of the eclipse reflects the symbolism of releasing Aquarian air to fuel the fire of the Leo north node: “A tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter.” Dane Rudhyar wrote the keynote of this symbol involves “knowledge and skill used in its natural surroundings for the satisfaction of vital basic needs,” based upon “intelligent foresight.” Rudhyar beautifully concluded that “in meeting the hardships inherent in an existence close to nature, strength, efficiency and intelligence are needed, but they are incorporated in a life in which every act can be part of a harmonic and beautiful ritual permeated with deep significance.” Moreover, the sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury’s superior conjunction with the Sun that will occur on February 17 is a “butterfly emerging from chrysalis,” again reinforcing the themes release and rebirth. As we let go of the past and what has been holding us back, a new presence may emerge deeply sensitized to both the resources and needs of the surrounding environment.
Venus in Pisces is closely applying to an integrative sextile with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the eclipse, heading toward union with Neptune. At the same time, Mars in Sagittarius is applying to a superior square with Neptune in Pisces and as the Moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus will form a waxing square with Mars. Additionally, as Venus moves across a union with Neptune in the forthcoming lunar cycle toward a square with Mars, Venus will also be forming a harmonious trine with Jupiter in Scorpio. Venus in Pisces is playing a mediating role within the eclipse and portends positive potential growth within relationships. The influence of Neptune brings some fogginess of illusion to cut through, as well as over zealous martial crusaders to contend with. Yet the coming union of Venus and Neptune is also the sort of dreamy transit to allow yourself to indulge in, luxuriating in whatever you find pleasing and soothing.
Aquarius 3 Decan
The Solar Eclipse in Aquarius rises in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Similar to the union of Mercury with the solar eclipse, we can see a bit of Hermes in the image’s thief stealthily removing five swords from the scene, leaving two firmly planted in the ground. The five swords bears numerical resemblance to the Five of Swords card associated with the first decan of Aquarius, a face that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to in his book 36 Faces on the decans. Coppock ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius aligned with the 7 of Swords card, noting that the figure of the thief in the image has already undergone a process of what to leave behind in the place of the known as he embarks with what he has selected to take with him on his journey into the unknown. Coppock astutely used the symbol of the knot to explore the karmic binds that often keep us bound in the place of the known and familiar, rather than liberating ourselves from frustrating situations in order to enter the unknown and risking exile in the process.
Venus rules the third decan of Aquarius within the triplicity rulership scheme, while the Moon rules the third decan of Aquarius within the descending rulership scheme. Since the Moon rules this face and the Moon in Aquarius is eclipsing the Sun, the Moon is at an advantage with regards to essential dignity as it darkens our view of the Sun. The Moon will additionally occult Mercury in Aquarius hours before the eclipse forms. While the hectic pace of daily life and its gravity of responsibilities may make it difficult to create space for reflective solace at the exact moment of the eclipse, make the effort to create room for contemplation when the moment allows. Allow your mind to open to the possibilities of the vast unknown of the future, and as you gain intimations for who you can become find places, even within the most mundane of choices, to begin realizing more of your envisioned potential in the present.
Brady, Bernadette. (1999). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser.
Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.