Welcome Eclipse Season
Eclipses are wildcard lunations that represent the apex of changes that have been brewing for the past season or two. The moonths following eclipses are where we integrate those changes. The unexpected rules the day as much that was obscured is revealed. If you're not sure about something, now is a time to expand your ability to sit with that uncertainty, setting intentions for actions you wish to take, feelings you wish to feel more, rather than forcing a particular plan or outcome.
August 7th brings the full moon lunar eclipse where our intuitive knowing and emotional insight is most activated, while the inner shifts gestate before taking form in the externally oriented companion eclipse on August 21st. This solar eclipse is getting a lot of attention because it will be visible across the contiguous US and will be total in a path that begins in the Pacific Northwest and ends in South Carolina. These locations are known for their long histories of racist segregation. With the success of efforts to remove statues that elevate that terrible past, we must not forget that we must do the work today that undoes the inheritance of said oppressions. The sources of profit and privilege persist in shameful and disturbing ways. Our efforts are often symbolic and must be much more than that too.
Leo is the sign of royalty. There is something disturbing about the way astrologers emphasize this without questioning the celebration of colonialism that this can represent. When we celebrate the part of us that centers ourselves in our own stories, we must make every effort to do so in a way that doesn't deny others that same right. If our regalness is built on the backs of others then the emporer has no clothes. Standing naked in the vulnerability of doing our best, honest about our not enoughness, can be a liberation of sorts.
The Sabian Symbol or evocative image associated with the Sun's degree during 8/7 eclipse is "Brilliant sunshine just after a storm" and the Moon's image exactly opposite that is "A big business man at his desk." These images echo that sense that while we must enjoy the relief that we might feel whenever we can, at every small, not enough creative or political victory, we must remain vigilant around the forces of profiteering corporate greed and exploitations. The Sun and Moon join on 8/21 at the degree "A mermaid emerges from the ocean waves ready for rebirth in human form." The mythopoeticspiritual part of us that can both breathe underwater and sacrifice (to make sacred) itself to be reborn on land is calling us toward these bigger purposes. Like the sun and moon are reborn through their cycles, we can turn this wheel evermore towards justice.
The planet Mars, protector and activator, is accompanying us on this solilunar journey and asking....what can I protect? What am I hear to take care of? What am I willing to do with my energy? Mercury goes retrograde on August 12th-September 5th and will station and go direct on the same degree that the solar eclipse activates. Expecting unexpected answers to those questions would be wise. Perhaps the whispers of spirit we've been hearing will be harder to ignore. We must be willing to take more risks and show up in all our fierce truth and compassion or we risk losing our self respect. As is often the case in these times of surrender to the larger cosmic cycles, plans will shift and life will reveal to us what's wanting to happen. Keep doing the next right feeling thing, allowing nature and your own intuition be your guide.
Ways to honor these eclipses:
-Reflect on what was happening in your life in August 1999 and July 2009 when these areas of your life/chart/sky were last activated by these particular cha-cha-change energies
-Enjoy sunflowers & sunflower flower essence
-Do heart opening body movements & meditations
-Gather with your favorite people to bear witness to this magical moment (get your eclipse viewing glasses to share so you can do so safely). Best info for what will be visible when wherever you are is available here.
-Reflect on what you most want to protect (give that Mars a mission)
-Play and create
-Be inspired by pampered house cats (especially when they're purring) and children (especially when they're sharing)
-Adorn yourself in ways that make you feel radiant and alive
I'll be hosting an intimate gathering of folks who want to explore these themes more on Thursday, August 10th at 7:30pm. RSVPs are required so I can plan (hahahaha...) accordingly. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're in the SF Bay Area and would like to join us. Mermaids ready for rebirth are especially welcome.
Above image acknowledgement and gratitude to Judy Schmidt and Astronomy Picture of the Day. Below image is in the public domain found on Wikimedia.
What were you doing last April? How are the issues that were coming up then finding greater resolution? What are you relieved about? Regretful about? This is all good information about the eclipse season we’re in now. Eclipses put more force behind the full moons and new moons that they fall on as apexes of changes that have been building for the past three-six months. The first eclipse falls on the late night/early morning (depending on where you are) of October 8th and since it falls in Libra/Aries, keep in mind that there is no such thing as other people’s stuff.
It’s a wild card time in general, but with the grand trine in fire signs and mercury’s retrograde in Scorpio/Libra and Uranus and the Sun forming a lightening rod for cosmic energy, expect the unexpected. The grand trine in fire (now through the 8th) encourages us to use our creativity and spiritual aliveness to focus on all that warms our heart. It’s no surprise that San Francisco is being hit a heatwave. Monitor your energy levels for information about what brings vibrancy and go for more of that. Be careful of burnout though and remember to take refuge in the shade. A blow torch is more powerful than a bonfire or a burnt bridge though I can’t deny that we all don’t have some part of us that loves to watch it all burn. Burn candles, old sheets imbued with sex with an ex or old files that are dragging you down. What phoenix part of you might rise from those ashes?
Know that while eclipses bring change and fire signs love spontaneity, due to mercury’s retrograde, caution is indicated especially around anything that you might not be able to back out of. Feel free to write those harsh emails, but don’t necessarily send them without a trusted advisor’s revision. Burn those letters and journal pages where you've purged your vitriol then perhaps you'll be able to write from a more effective place.
Don’t overcommit yourself based on the intensity of the moment. If you’re even a little uncertain, breathe deep and expand your capacity to sit with the not knowing rather than forcing a resolution. When we’re seduced by the need to find closure, it’s almost always a sign that we're avoiding the work of sitting with our feelings. The solution is usually to put the phone down, come back to the present and know that the answer will come at the right time (if it hasn’t come, it’s not the right time).
There’s nothing like astrology to give us a sense of right timing and nothing like tarot to get us through those moments of uncertainty. The only question that matters right now is “what wants to happen next.” Pull out the tarot if you’ve got too many options and/or are feeling overwhelmed. Pull a card for each option and see what feelings arise from there. Keep in mind that the cards are a reflection of your relationship to the option in that moment. It’s okay to say “no” right now and you become a “yes” later, when the time is right and more information has been revealed. If you don't have a deck or are away from it, this is a sweet online resource. Use this wild card time to lean on our wild, artful divinatory cards.
As mercury's retrograde moves back into Libra, if you have trouble deciphering the message with all the taboo shit stirring that the Scorpionic energy brings, consult with another person. Take it all with a grain of salt because you’re the ultimate authority on your life, but there’s some clarity that can come only from sorting stuff out with another being. It will be much less about what’s being said and much more about what’s being felt. This is a great time to practice using feeling words in a non-blaming way (NVC anyone?). Good luck!
The final eclipse of this cycle is on October 23rd in Scorpio. We enter the depths, letting go and sinking in to all that we’re here to learn about our psyches. I’m planning to spend that night making a collage honoring that “no” is a complete sentence. What small, often quiet voice in you do you hope pay extra attention to as the energy of the moment shifts?
Have a blessed Samhain and happy new year to all the witches out there!
For folks that have been wondering where my more regular postings can be found, for the past six months or so, I've been toying with Facebook so follow me there for more consistent & brief astrologically inspired nuggets of wisdom. It's not my favorite platform, but it does make it easy.
Choose Your Struggles
God is Change
And in the end,
Kindness eases Change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.
-Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents
Photo Credit: Nathan Taylor
I've got a penchant for apocalyptic mythos (Octavia Butler's Parables series is a favorite I've recently re-visited). I am especially fond of those that assure me that though transformation can be quite painful there is tremendous hope for shaping our breakdowns into breakthroughs. At the same time, I'm with Saul Williams in "calling all tarot readers and sparrow feeders to cancel the apocalypse." This dark moon in Aries (March 30th) I find myself steeped in both the fear of change and craving the promise of newness, of hope, of possibility born from destruction. Aries needs something to protect so all that fiery, fierceness has somewhere productive to go. This lunation allies with trickster Uranus and Juno, protector of the underdog invoking our unique inner hero's journeys to be allied with the greatest good of all. Use the unexpected to that advantage. Now is the time to ask yourself where you want lightning to strike in your life?
April moves us into eclipse season (4/15 & 4/29) and a grand cross in the cardinal signs (exact on 4/23). I adore when the gregorian calendar and the astrological match up and a tax day lunar eclipse is no exception. Practicing war tax resistance has made me conscious of war nearly every day. It's a small way to resist, to ensure that the nearly half of my tax dollars that go to war do not go there easily. It feels right, good and terrifying. I remind myself all the time that it's nothing compared to the terrors of war or the acts of resistance by folks like Chelsea Manning, and it's something that I can do. The feelings we have about our struggles get highlighted especially in relationship to others. The solar eclipse that follows brings shifts in our bodies and beings toward greater wholeness in the cognitive dissonance.
The grand cross brings us to this moment's crossroad. Dynamic tensions invite shifts that have probably been brewing for a while. It's our work to find integration and wholeness in the shifting possibilities. Uranus in Aries asks us to find deeper liberation of the self and courage in creating change. Jupiter in Cancer asks us to give and receive deep nourishment to our families of origin and those with whom we have chosen kinship. Mars (retrograde) in Libra asks us to return to familiar territory in relating so we can take action differently the next time around (and the next, and then next...). Pluto in Capricorn is asking us to let go of the illusion of control so that real power can come through in service to deep, lasting transformations that serve us through difficult times as well as through bliss. What is your sweet and powerful Positive obsession to guide you through this month?
As Julie Simmons says of this dark new moon time "Step inside the cardinal cross. Bring your friends. There is actually no other place to be. Imagine yourself at the center where the four directions meet. You are the keeper of the directions of your life and today or tomorrow you must make your intentions clear. You want change, you need to feed and nourish your people, you must be a leader but not a dominator and you must have extreme courage to face the fear that there is simply not enough. Whether this is true or not, is not for you to know. What is known is that there is great fear which will require great courage."
"The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others." -Carl Jung
On this healing path, I've worked a lot on "not taking on other people's stuff." This is a phrase we speak often in bay area healing circles. While I've benefitted immeasurably from the meditations where I've given people back their stuff, envisioned myself surrounded by a protective orb of energy and all that powerful woo, I'm feeling more and more like it's a lie that reveals the truth rather than the truth itself.
This Friday, October 18th the full moon brings us a lunar eclipse in Aries/Libra. So much of the Aries/Libra story is about self and other. Over the next year or so, our job is to learn as much as we can about how we relate and how we act as individuals in those relations. Now is a moment where we're probably getting a lot of information about that. I keep thinking about an old neighbor who was struggling with addiction. He was abusive, acting out in all sorts of ways and destroyed my garden more than once. Nothing I did got him to act more sane until I stopped trying to get him to do anything, hung up some mirrors on the front door and in the garden and started wishing him well. Even then, not much changed with him, but I did. Years later, in retrospect, as the child of an alcoholic, I can't deny that me learning how to live with addiction is completely my stuff.
It's so easy to get caught up in feeling wronged, feeling that if other people would just do what we think is best then we could finally relax and life would get better, we get distracted from what we actually can change: ourselves. The crucial thing to remember in this eclipse heightened time is that whatever is coming up is a mirror. All the things, especially when we're obsessing about the outer world, are just reflections of our inner life. Often they are mirrors of your beauty. Sometimes though facebook, our friends, our family, our inbox, etc. are reflections of our unresolved stuff. The good news is we're being given the (sometimes) agonizing gift of greater resolution and healing, if we take the time to go inward.
Two weeks from now on November 3rd, that inner work will help us rise to meet a solar eclipse in Scorpio. Along with mercury retrograde also in Scorpio (10/21-11/9), now is a time to look at that part of ourselves that keeps getting attracted to the same lessons, that keeps looking in the same mirrors (over and over and over again). Invite your psyche to tea and ask the bigger questions of what you are to learn from this shifting time. Let go of blame and heal what only you can heal.
Halloween and Day of the Dead remind us that Scorpio's time is a one to sit with the reality of death. Somehow this unifying thread amongst us all, this promise of a returning to source, even just as compost, helped me to see that the more I embraced the mirrors in my life, the more clearly I could see myself. Yes, we are separate, embodied beings AND in this mystery of oneness, whatever Scorpionic sh*t you're called on to deal with now is yours to compost, even if it appears to be somebody else's. Perhaps it's as simple as there is no other? Perhaps it's all just a lie that reveals the truth? Either way, enjoy the reflections.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor
I'll be honest folks, these eclipses have been kicking my ass in the best and worst ways. Eclipses as the apex of changes that have been brewing for the past 3-6 months tend to do that, especially when they are activating tender parts of us. Sometimes the universe just knows we need to be further tenderized. In these times, I find myself leaning into care and community. I find that's where the meaning to near constant seeming barrage of transition and change crystalizes. Community and care is also where I find the magic insight I need to accept what is so I can rest in the chaos (something I'm learning how to do better and better). I figure I might not be the only one who needs to up the stress relieving ante right now and in that spirit, I offer you these:
Community Care Resources
Acupuncture - http://www.caworks.org/ (LOVE)
CIIS student therapists - http://www.ciis.edu/about_ciis/counseling_centers.html (sliding scale work that I've mostly loved as long as I've gone in telling them what I'm needing and being willing to change therapists if it's not working out)
Massage - http://nhi.edu/massage_clinic/index.html (sometimes amazing massages by students, not always, but you're not allowed to tip so it really costs what it costs)
Massage & acupuncture & herbs/nutrition & some free classes/support groups - http://www.kwanyinhealingarts.com/
Acupuncture - http://www.actcm.edu/content.php?topmenu=7 (haven't been here in years since community acupuncture opened near me, but I loved it and it helped me thru some tough times. They even have free ear acupuncture clinic where the suggested donation was $5)
Herbal medicine - http://herbesofafeather.com/about/ (so good)
Flower essences - http://starsinjarsessences.blogspot.com/ (spiritually nourishing)
Yoga by donation - http://www.athayoga.com/2007/01/mondays-from-8-to-930pm.html (most delightful yoga teacher I've experienced)
Haven't experienced these but know they are out there:
Therapy - https://www.queerlifespace.org/ (heard it's great)
Reiki - http://www.meetup.com/Reiki-Healing-Center/events/114047742/
Acupuncture - http://missionsfca.com/
Acupuncture - http://www.circleca.com/
Herbal medicine (east bay) - http://www.ohlonecenter.org/clinic/ (this is where the above herbalist studied and teaches)
Yoga - almost every studio I've been to has a community class aka more affordable. I've heard there are free classes out there, but none come to mind immediately.
These are by not means exhaustive, but rather what came immediately to mind. I'd love folks to share their websites and recommendations in the comments so we can build even more resourced movements and healing communities. Obviously, these are pretty SF bay area specific. For folks that don't live around here, I hope this helps you think outside the box to find the wellness resources in your communities. Please share them here for the rest of us. I travel a lot and have been amazed by the community acupuncture movements expansion to give working class folks access to those deeply healing needles.
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