21st June 2019 sees a number of astrological events occurring in quick succession, alerting us to a significant energetic shift. At 8:27 a.m. Neptune stations in its own sign of Pisces, beginning its annual five-month retrograde journey. At 2:03 p.m. the Moon becomes void-of-course in Aquarius until it enters Pisces exactly 24 hours later. This is a particularly long stint for a void-of-course moon. At 3:55 p.m. the Sun enters Cancer, marking the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere. Amidst all of this an eclipse season begins which lasts until 29th July, featuring a solar eclipse in Cancer on 2nd July and a lunar eclipse in Capricorn on 16th July.
When so many shifts coincide with the start of an eclipse season we know this will be an energetically significant few weeks. It may help to think of energy as encoded wisdom: a particular resonance or vibration with the potential to recalibrate our understanding of life in general and/or specific situations in particular. This current season will illuminate the feelings, sensations and intuitions which reveal the quality of any given moment. Like learning a new language, we can become more intimately acquainted with the nuances of our inner wisdom which will, in turn, help us draw upon the information encoded in the prevailing energetic field. We can invite guidance on how to integrate these new levels of awareness into daily life, seek clarity about when to share what we perceive and when to remain silent, and explore when to act on intuition and when to simply acknowledge its guidance, postponing action for another day.
Whilst the impact of eclipses always radiates through the following six months, the eclipse season itself establishes the perspective and state of consciousness needed to make the most of these cosmic graces. In this instance, the shadow work begun when Saturn and Pluto turned retrograde in April will act as an important foundation stone for us. The extent to which we’ve embraced the personal shadow as manifested in recent weeks, will in large part dictate the extent to which we can confront challenges and receive blessings in the weeks yet to come.
A Formidable T Square
But the real story begins on 18th June when Pluto begins to oppose Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer, all forming a T Square to Eris until 24th June. Here we find Eris poking at our sensitivities. Tendencies toward passive aggression and ‘acting out’ (whilst claiming we’re not!) may be heightened. Stay alert to your true feelings, aim for sensitive but honest communication and remember we’re all under pressure here and relationships may suffer as a result! This alignment demands a pragmatic approach to interpersonal dynamics alongside a willingness to recognise not only where our own wounds skew our perception, but also how we continue to wound each other.
This isn’t an exercise in self-blame, but in understanding the ego-force that inescapably shapes our lives. No one can avoid subjectivity. We all see life through our own eyes, assess it according to experience and react to protect what feels like a vulnerable core. In doing so we impinge upon the lives of others, often in ways we fail to perceive. Relationships are intensely complex. This T Square will bring some of those complexities to the fore, muddying waters and revealing the grey areas where we can’t simply point the finger and say ‘this is all YOUR fault!’. Only by setting blame aside can we make the connections which reveal what’s really going on.
This heavenly configuration acts as a doorway into the eclipse season, supporting those who seek to master emotions and penetrate their true message, not be forever swamped by their unremitting force. We cannot wait for feelings to subside, fear to abate, emotions to settle or our brains to churn out the chemicals of happiness to ease our lot. Instead we must get to know our feelings: how they arise, their triggers, their patterns and, most important of all, how we create, perpetuate and manage them. In doing so we may just discover an inexorable source of energy to draw upon when we life is overwhelming and we feel we don’t have what it takes. This T Square assures us we do. Always. As long as we’re prepared to call upon our inner warrior as much as our inner empath; to resist as much as acquiesce; to speak out perhaps more than we hold back, whilst knowing sometimes silence is the truest response of all.
The signature of this eclipse season is writ large by Neptune’s retrograde station at 8:27 a.m. on 21st June in the 19th degree of Pisces. The Sabian Symbol for this degree is a master instructing his disciple, a motif which speaks of the transmission of wisdom from one who knows to one who seeks. In its retrograde phase Neptune reminds us the knower and seeker are one and the same. We need only still the mind and look within to discover well-springs of wisdom: the very heart of all that we are. But how often do we ignore a wordless inner knowing and choose what’s ‘expected’ over what feels right? How often do we profess a certain belief only for it to go out the window once challenges arise? How often do our feelings tell us one thing but we do something else instead?
Such common-place self-betrayals cast into exile the part of us that actually knows what’s best. Our inner guide can no longer communicate because we’re shutting it out. A vibrant and wise part of us is silenced. We continue with our lives largely oblivious to this fact, but each time we agree when we want to disagree, act when we want to stand back or say nothing when we want to speak up, another part of our core essence is cast into darkness. The longer we live this way, the more of our psyche and spirit is disenfranchised and the smaller our lives become. Eventually, when we really need to draw on our inner-sage, we don’t even share the same language and our exile is complete. The journey of awakening is akin to emerging from this exile to embrace fully the role of wise counsellor, teacher and seer, to and for ourselves.
But in its alignment with Saturn, the Moon’s Nodes and Jupiter this month, Neptune alerts us to the risk of ‘spiritual-bypassing’. To awaken is not to escape into bliss or to avoid the cut and thrust of daily life. We awaken within the fabric of our humanity, not to escape it. We continue to live in a world on the brink, where societies have been torn apart by deep divisions of suspicion, hatred and fear the world over. Where human activity threatens the survival of countless species including our own and patriarchal posturing continues to eclipse a more equitable and heart-centred expression of our humanity. To awaken is to see all of this and our part in it. And then to birth a wise and noble Self that counters the dominant narrative of greed, aggression and war with a commitment to peace, wisdom and hope.
Void of Course Moon in Aquarius
Between Neptune’s retrograde station at 8:27 a.m. on 21st June and the solstice point at 3:55 p.m. when the Sun enters Cancer, the Moon begins a twenty-four hour void-of-course period in Aquarius at 2:03 p.m. A void-of-course Moon makes no more aspects to planets until it enters its new sign, and therefore signals a time of stillness during which activity and effort produces few useful results. Given the Moon’s key role in any eclipse season (both solar and lunar eclipses are dictated according to the moon’s cycle), this is an important significator for the coming one, best read as a warning not to invest too much importance in the effectiveness of our doing but instead focus more on the quality of our being.
This void-of-course Moon speaks of loneliness. It digs at those parts of the self which feel out of place and make it hard to fit in when we most want to. Not to be confused with the uniqueness so cherished by the Aquarian spirit, this disheartening experience of not finding our space in the world can leave us ever more isolated. We may increasingly feel this way as the eclipse season progresses, or we may encounter others struggling to find their place in a confusing world. It may be tempting to feel something’s seriously wrong, that we’ll never find our way back to a sense of safe community. But take heart: every void-of-course Moon is resolved as it enters its new sign, and as much as this one will colour the coming weeks, so too will that sense of resolution.
An Aquarian Moon is resolved as it enters Pisces: the final sign of the zodiac where individuality surrenders to the imponderable mystery from which all life is born. If we feel out of step with our environment or alone in our pain, this Moon connects us with the Great Heart vast enough to contain all joy and suffering, all hope and despair. And as the Sun enters the Moon’s own sign of Cancer at the solstice, it affirms this heart as our true home, offering sanctuary from the growing dislocation of humanity in the ever more frantic modern world.
Eclipse seasons often pose challenges, disguised as disasters or strokes of good fortune in equal measure! Even the best that life offers can stress us out if we let it! What if we mess it up, or it doesn’t live up to expectations?! The mind can turn anything into a source of trouble and eclipses often bring out the inner drama queen or king! So if you find yourself spiralling off into an emo-meltdown, spiritual emergency or plain old temper tantrum in the coming weeks, bear that in mind! Things just may not be as dire as they seem or as far beyond your influence as they feel. A change of perspective may be the key to a change of fortune. And some good old-fashioned patience could be the difference between make or break in the weeks to come.
We have a solar eclipse in Cancer on 2nd July and a lunar eclipse in Capricorn on 16th July. I’ll be sharing more about these specific eclipses soon.