Since May, when Mars entered Aquarius and Uranus entered Taurus and the two began squaring each other, the changes have been overwhelming for many of us. And especially since Mars stationed retrograde in my eighth house at the end of June, still squaring Uranus, I’ve had to face all kinds of old blocks I thought I had moved past. Any eighth house transit is a therapy transit. You have to meet your shadow again and again. While not everyone is experiencing this Mars retrograde in the exact same way, eclipses are by definition a kind of shadowing.
In Babylon, an eclipse could foretell the death of a king. Measures were taken to protect the king, namely the practice of šar pūhi, the substitute king, where a decoy was placed on the throne for the time of the eclipse. Eclipses were omens in the ancient world, and a total lunar eclipse on Mars retrograde would have been seen as an ill omen. The destruction that precedes change has always been scary.
The modern eclipse cycle is still a cycle of change, and it can still be volatile, frightening, and unwelcome. But we live in a time of increasing disorder, so these days, you’d do better to embrace the chaos than to fear it.
I don’t go in for a lot of hype about blood moons, blue moons, or supermoons. All total lunar eclipses turn red. This one just happens to be more symbolically “red” by virtue of its conjunction with Mars retrograde. On the flip side, I’m not a fan of pseudo-astrologer-lightworkers who tell everyone that all eclipses represent a time to “go inward” and “get to know yourself.” I’m seeing this more prevalently with every astrological event, from retrogrades to new moons, full moons, and eclipses, and it’s just not always true. That’s a lazy interpretation. I’m an advocate for living in the moon house, for introspection, rest, review, and slowing down on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean it’s the central message of every transit. Don’t try to tell me this grizzly bear is a teddy bear.
Eclipse cycles are cycles of change. And they are always happening. Somewhere in your chart, every few months, you are experiencing a gradually unfolding 18-month period of transformation with some jarring spikes in your stress level. Some are bigger than others. Some are scarier than others. Some will require you to wrestle your shadow to the ground, and others may go practically unnoticed.
This Mars retrograde shows you where your freedom is restricted; where you feel frustrated. In what area of life would you kill for some freedom? What, metaphorically, needs to die so you can have that freedom? This week, as the eclipse energy grew stronger and Mercury stationed retrograde in the opposite sign of Leo, I began to see through some false barriers I had erected for myself a long time ago. Aquarius can’t stand binary thinking. Aquarius is just so far beyond binaries. Man/Woman, Reality/Imagination, Magical/Mundane, Religion/Science, Art/Commerce, Individual/Society, Literature/Mass Market, Can Do/Can’t Do. How flimsy and boring the barriers between these seemingly opposing things. There were several things that I previously crossed off my list of “can do” that I am now seeing uncrossed, part and parcel with the whole of what I already do. This is an eclipse for erasing the borders between things. For tearing down fences and gaining that freedom you so desperately desire. For conquering old fears that took the form of walls you built yourself.
Seeing past binaries and linear thinking is the first step in becoming antifragile. And I do believe that the best way to use astrology is as a tool for your own antifragility. So at this eclipse, make friends with chaos. See what kinds of freedoms you might win. You have more available to you than you may have seen before.
Image Credit: Jan Matejko, Astronomer Copernicus-Conversations with God