Take up the blood from the grass, sun.
Take it up.
These people do not thirst for it.
Take up the insect children that play in
the grass, sun.
Take them away.
These people are sick of them.
Take down the long slender reeds, sun.
Cut them down.
These people cannot make flutes any longer.
Now sun, come closer to the earth!
Even closer than that.
Closer. Now, sun.
Take away the shape from the metal, sun.
They are like stone, these people.
Now make them lava.
— Henry Dumas, Kef 12
Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius
Eclipses bring shadows. Shadows that cloak and conceal light. Shadows that disrupt your carefully arranged plans and destabilize your certainty. Eclipses bring the timeless into time, the primordial into the present. Some say it’s a dragon that consumes the Moon. A dragon whose tail weaves around you like a snake and pulls you into inner depths. Some want to slay the dragon, while those over there want to ride it. Its silvery scales reflect back all of your dogma with the glare of your ideals and self-righteousness.
The Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse on June 5, 2020 is the first of a series of eclipses that will occur in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius until December 2021. With the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, the Gemini side of your natal chart will be receiving a surge of increased curiosity and desire to ask questions and gather information. The influence from Gemini disrupts and divides in order to form new connections that weave together a greater diversity of perspectives. With the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, the Sagittarius side of your natal chart will be called to release the ways in which society or your surrounding culture has conditioned you into beliefs that are no longer aligned with your experience, as Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto dredge up the accumulated toxicity of civilizations impacted by colonizing empires.
A confrontation is necessary with the inner source of your perceptions, the place your perspective projects from and distorts your relationships with others. Discernment is needed regarding which beliefs need to be sacrificed and let go due the way they have become interwoven into structural systems of societal oppression that cause harm through institutional “-isms” like racism and sexism. This inner work is vital due to the likelihood that the many people unwilling to do this inner work will only have their dogmatic and self-righteous beliefs reinforced and amplified in reaction to the web of events unleashed by the eclipses in the next couple of months.
Eclipses can feel like a tidal force taking you into the unknown, ready or not. Eclipses involve the ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms. In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflects the ability to purify material attachments. Eclipses open a period of great change during which we can more readily release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new forms coming together can be felt. In the United States of America, the protests and riots that have erupted over the murder of George Floyd have made it clear that the Gemini-Sagittarius dragon beginning to take form will be demanding a confrontation with the racism that has been embedded within the societal structures of the USA since the dawn of its creation and which has been part of the militarization of its police forces.
During a lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our Earth upon the face of the Moon, turning it blood red during a total lunar eclipse. However, the Gemini Sun is too far from the lunar nodes to redden the face of the Sagittarius Moon and will instead project a diffuse shadow. Although it’s not a total eclipse, the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius is extremely potent due to the Moon applying closely to an intensifying square aspect with Mars and the eclipse forming only a couple of days after Venus retrograde has been reanimated by the Sun. The death of the previous phase of Venus and the revitalization of values reseeded by the recent union of Venus with the Sun will be projecting the shadow through the solar rays, calling each of us to search within our inner shadows to be accountable for whatever ways we have been complicit in sustaining the systemic forms of oppression that have been erupting and demanding attention in correlation with the paradigm shattering astrology of 2020.
As the shadow projected from the Gemini Sun will obscure and inhibit the light reflected by the Sagittarius Moon, there is a traditional association of the populace being more impacted than those in positions of rulership or government leadership. We will be experiencing three eclipses in a row, with the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5 and the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4 being much weaker in impact than the Solar Eclipse in Cancer on June 21 that will be extremely close to the North Node of the Moon, resulting in the visual effect of a glowing ring encircling a completely blackened Sun. Thus while we will enter and leave the eclipse season of June and July with eclipses more directly impacting the people, the most intense and disruptive eclipse in the middle is focused more intensely on those in positions of leadership and high office. We will all be impacted on deep levels by the Solar Eclipse on June 21 that will occur on the Solstice, and this means that its coming intensity will be increasingly felt during the waning half of the current lunar cycle.
In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Linking the Moon to what we carry from the past within our body and mind, the past transmutes in the shadowy face of the Moon to allow for new emergence and presence. Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that at a lunar eclipse “the traditional perspective born of past experiences of adjusting to life and society is blotted out by an eagerness to meet experience in a new, original manner.” Rudhyar’s emphasis on new choices and vision is amplified by the Sun being on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini. Yet it’s also important to bring discernment toward the tendency of the North Node of the Moon to amplify ambitions, especially as we get closer to the North Node Solar Eclipse on June 21. The Sagittarius Moon heading toward a union with the South Node of the Moon can bring balance by letting go of the material attachments that need to be released.
The Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius is applying closely to a catalyzing square aspect with Mars, bringing a lot of volatility, destructiveness, and super charged passions into the impact of the lunation. Mars is also being initiated into a key phase of its synodic cycle with the Sun as it forms a waxing first quarter square with the Sun. As Mars enters the second quarter of its cycle it will become increasingly heated, maturing in power as it approaches its retrograde phase in Aries that will begin in September. Mars is one of the key players in the astrological drama of 2020, not only due to the hard aspects it has been and will be continuing to make with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, but also due to it forming a series of three first quarter square aspects with Venus during the year. Now that we have passed through the second square aspect between Mars and Venus this year, the societal issues of strife that need repair, the levels of protection that need to be implemented, have become much more obvious.
In the week following the Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse, Mars will be getting closer and closer to its conjunction with Neptune it will complete on June 13 at 20º56′ Pisces, around the same time that Venus retrograde will be returning to visibility in pre-dawn skies in its Morning Star phase. As the present Venus retrograde began with a square aspect between Neptune and Venus, there has been a great dissolution of Neptune looming over and flooding events. Many blame Neptune as being a source of poisonous illusions, but perhaps it is Neptune that exposes one’s own inner poisons and the ways one has become consumed by linear concepts of time and perspectives disconnected from relationship with the interconnected web of meaning underlying reality. Neptune is capable of flooding structural systems with a wave that will persist and dissolve attempts to hold it back through control. The present movement of Mars toward Neptune is likely to result in a persistent push within the populace to protest systems of oppression with inspired determination.
Mars in Pisces is also heading toward a square with the lunar nodes at the southern bending, a place in which its fiery desire will be kindled by the full potency of our unconscious. Vitally, Mars is presently at the southern bending of the nodes of Uranus, as the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius is aligned with the planetary nodes of Uranus. While the Gemini Sun is conjoining the North Node of Uranus, the eclipsed Sagittarius Moon is conjoining the South Node of Uranus. This means that both the eclipse as well as Mars are activating the archetypal sweep of Uranus at an incredibly deep level. This brings a full activation of Uranus into the Lunar Eclipse that carries the legacy of previous movements for emancipation and liberation across time into the present. With regard to the United States of America, it is further compelling that the Sibley chart often used as its national nativity has an ascendant close to the South Node of Uranus and a descendant close to the North Node of Uranus.
Moreover, the nodes of Venus are also activated in addition to the nodes of Uranus, as the recent inferior conjunction of Venus on June 3 was conjoining the geocentric North Node of Venus, and the Lunar Eclipse is also in alignment with the heliocentric nodes of Venus. This further means that not only was Mars recently forming an exact square with Venus, it also is forming an exact square to the heliocentric nodes of Venus. Again, this points to the extraordinary confluence of century old issues of oppression becoming activated and how the police murder of George Floyd just as Venus was descending into darkness has been able to demand more attention than ever be brought to the longstanding oppression of black people by law enforcement in the USA. The complex astrology of the nodes of both Venus and Uranus being catalyzed by the Lunar Eclipse reveals the extraordinary potential of the moment for a deep confrontation with one’s inner values and to what degree we are embodying and living in full integrity with our authentic values.
Mercury is the ruler of the North Node and the Sun in Gemini and is out of bounds in Cancer. Mercury is also at maximum elongation as an Evening Star, meaning that it is slowing down to reach the same speed as the Sun in preparation for stationing retrograde on June 17. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha revealed that Mercury reaches maximum elongation around the same degree where it will eventually experience it’s union with the Sun when retrograde (in this case it’s 9-10º Cancer on June 4 and June 30) and that this sometimes happens in close proximity with a fixed star. For this cycle of Mercury, its maximum elongation is occurring close to Alhena in the heel of the immortal twin Pollux in the Gemini constellation. Bernadette Brady described Alhena as the “Proudly Marching One,” the “heel of an immortal or sacred one who touches the earth with great pride” and “is associated with the following of a cause, a belief for which one will march”
The Lunar Eclipse is ruled by Jupiter in Capricorn as it approaches its second conjunction with Pluto that will form on June 30. Jupiter aligning with Pluto in its fall of Capricorn has been exposing numerous issues of injustice and oppression within society, but as Jupiter carries significations of justice it is especially relevant for the entire system of justice and law enforcement within the USA to be on trial during the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius. The passage of Jupiter passing through its fall of Capricorn under the wing of Pluto will not be easy, but the societal atrocities and injustices it will continue to expose will be necessary in order to have any hope of addressing and repairing them through reformation. Things must fall apart before they can come back together, and so as structural systems continue to become destabilized and destroyed it will be vital to maintain ones inner sense of integrity, accountability, authority, and responsibility in order to help guide us through to the other side.
Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years, including in previous years of immense volatility in society such as in 1968 and 1931. The present union of Jupiter and Pluto has been similar disruptive as 1968 and 1931 due to it also being part of larger outer planetary alignments. While in 2020 we have Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning a new cycle together, in 1968 we experienced Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto ending and beginning new cycles together. Furthermore, the 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.
The worst side of Jupiter Pluto conjunctions can be seen in the rise of totalitarian groups following the economic instability surrounding the 1931 conjunction. In Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology, André Barbault demonstrated how the roots of the totalitarian surge in 1931 can be found in nationalist groups that began rising in power following the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction in 1918 and the economic crises of that period. This is the compulsive side of Jupiter and Pluto that involves obsessive desire for power sourced from shadowy fear that we need to be on guard against as we enter a time period of not only great economic instability but also amplified conflict over racism and the militarization of law enforcement.
The asteroid Pallas Athena is co-present with Jupiter and Pluto during all three of their conjunctions in 2020, and has recently slipped through the border between Capricorn and Aquarius to rejoin Jupiter and Pluto in retrograde movement through Capricorn. Pallas Athena brings a complicated mythology with her, an upholder of law and order in civilization whose mythic origins link her further back to the divine goddesses of Cunning Wisdom and Justice whose power goes far beyond attempts of control by ruling empires. Above all, Pallas Athena brings the gifts of strategy and the kind of prophetic vision that can anticipate troubles and formulate effective strategies in response. As Pallas Athena moves retrograde through Capricorn with Jupiter and Pluto, as issues of injustice and inequity continue to be exposed, it will be up to each one of us to formulate effective strategies of response to protect those who are vulnerable and to be accountable in devising cunning ways of bringing about a fundamental reordering of societal structures.
Sagittarius 2 Decan
The Moon will be partially eclipsed in the second decan of Sagittarius associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a bandaged and alert figure stands with his chosen staff planted firmly in the ground, with eight other wands of varying size rooted behind him. There is a resilient strength and courage to persist in the face of opposition found here that resonates with the meaning of the second face of Sagittarius. It is significant that the figure has been wounded at the top of his head, as Sagittarius unifies fiery spirit with the will of the body. Since the Moon and Mars rule the second face of Sagittarius, the fact that the eclipsed Moon in its own face is forming a square with Mars makes the meaning of this decan especially activated.
Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, stating that the battles and conflicts pictured in the Nine of Wands card “are necessary to inflame the will and provide the heat necessary for the fusion of the mind and body.” Coppock praised the capacity of the second face of Sagittarius “to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces,” as its rulership by the Moon and Mars brings the ferocious resiliency needed to protect what we most value in the face of opposition with all of the odds stacked against us. Yet Coppock cautioned that while the second face of Sagittarius “represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition,” we must discern when circumstances “do not demand, nor reward such a response” but instead require yielding to develop a different strategy.
The dichotomy of fighting to protect a vision, whether it is securing a boon through victory or bewailing the loss of defeat, is found in ancient textual images of the second decan of Sagittarius. In the Birhat Jakarta a golden woman of grace picks up gems from the ocean, while in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra as well as the Yavanajataka there is a chest of golden ornaments and jewels set before a beautiful woman. These images are in contrast to images in other tomes signifying sadness and fear, such as a “lamenting woman” in Three Books of Occult Philosophy. These images of mourning and unearthed treasure are also curiously resonant with the figure of Kore (aka Persephone) who was ascribed to the second face of Sagittarius by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Austin Coppock linked Kore’s presence here with her form as Persephone Praxidike, mistress of the furies and the forces of nemesis that create the adversarial force necessary to bring forth our most heroic qualities.
Kore, daughter of the sky god and earth goddess, queen of the underworld, is interesting to consider in relation to the Lunar Eclipse coinciding with the nadir of the present Venus retrograde in Gemini with Venus passing through the underworld. Within the next couple of weeks, Venus retrograde will re-emerge from her present underworld passage into visibility again as she continues to slowly move backwards in retrograde motion. When Kore ascends to the upper world she retains connection with her presence in the underworld where she is a mediatrix of soul. While Kore conducts work and connects in relationship above ground, she remembers her role underground guiding souls.
At the present time of the Lunar Eclipse, however, we are only beginning to emerge from the deepest levels of purgation brought by Venus retrograde. Allow the inner burning of her inner fire to melt down your fixed notions of certainty so you can align with want wants to emerge from you in the new cycle of Venus to come. As we deepen into the chaotic flux of eclipse season, be willing to listen to what the wider community needs from you and the gifts you possess that need to be developed to support, protect, and inspire others.
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Barbault, André. (2014). Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology. The Astrological Association.
Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.
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.