The Sun rises in the second decan of Leo on the morning of August 2nd. The Sun will prowl this span of the sky until August 12th, when it enters Lion’s third and final face.
During the previous decan, we saw a serpent of incandescent spirit descend into matter. The fire snake coalesced into a lion and wrestler and their contest colored that time. They are followed by a second phase and face of the lion, in which power has been obtained, the cat harnessed and ridden to power.
In this face arise knights, conquerors, and villains. Texts abound with images and descriptions of bow wielding warriors, crowned by victory and ready for contest. It is a place of peak strength wielded for both good and evil. It frames the ordeal of triumph, whose challenge is not the acquisition of power but the right use of it. Many have sown their downfall at the point of their zenith.
Though the figures in the extant texts are largely male, if one stares directly into this face, it is difficult to ignore the lion-riding goddesses which flash through it. Glimpses of Ishtar, Durga, and others unnamed or forgotten present themselves here. There is something, in particular, about Durga’s serene, demon-slaying ferocity which hints at the slice of divinity hiding behind this 36th of the zodiac.
Leo’s second decan is an important piece of celestial real estate, as it contains a mid-point between the solstice and equinox, the cross-quarter of the solar year most commonly known as Lughnasa. This year, as the Sun passes this temporal powerpoint, a partial Lunar Eclipse lies in wait. Though the Solar Eclipse on August 21st has absorbed the majority of attention, the Lunar on August 7th should not be ignored. The Solar and Lunar Eclipses are paired in such a way that their meanings and effects are contingent upon one another. It is only by connecting the Head and the Tail that we can map the entirety of the dragon.
And so we find the triumphal one of our story, crowned with laurels, striding boldly up the mountain, seeking the highest point on the highest day. Atop the summit, they watch the Sun set in the West and the Full Moon rise in the East. Yet as the Sun’s rays vanish over the horizon, the bright Moon is lashed and darkened by the Tail of the Dragon. As the shadow creeps over the silver face, the scenery begins to change.
Images drift down from the Eclipse. The scene which takes shape is not unlike that found in The Star card of the tarot, though its palette is darker, and crimson edged. As in the Star, a woman, a goddess whose name has been forgotten or confused, holds two cups. She appears to be naked, though no detail of her can be seen, for she is veiled by a black, shifting mist which wreathes her. When her skin is exposed it appears to flow and change between black, white, and red, a sort of abbreviated rainbow. These are the colors of the primal alchemy. Like in the Star card, there is a pool at her left side, but it is crimson — a pool of blood. Looking deeper into the night-scene, it becomes clear that the pool leaks from a wounded lion. Although at first glance the woman appears to be pouring blood from her cup into the pool, on closer inspection, it is clear that the blood is actually defying gravity to flowing upwards into the cup. She is extracting it from the pool, her cup a sort of magical syringe. Her other cup is raised to the heavens, as if a torch, and from it the blood flows further upward, spiraling toward the Moon and stars. As the spilt blood floats skyward, it separates into small streams which take on the appearance of serpents, or dragons. These coil around the Moon and stars, staining a portion of Luna pink. You see now that she is offering this blood to the celestial lights, and although at first this strikes you as some sort of monstrous, vampiric sacrifice, you understand now that through this process she is somehow healing the beast at her feet. The blood has become tainted or diseased, and she is sending it to the Moon and stars for cleansing. After whatever mysterious alchemy is complete, you know it will be returned to the wounded lion below, fresh and full of primordial star-fire.
This Eclipse is the first of the series to take place in Aquarius with Ketu, the Vedic name for the South Node of the Moon, also known as the Tail of the Dragon. The shadow which falls across the Moon creates an emptiness which attempts to draw out what we no longer need. Failing conscious cooperation on our part, we may find that emptiness is more like a vacuum, pulling away what we think we want.
If we automatically equate draining and emptying with harm, then that means we assume fullness means health. Yet without both the processes of filling and emptying, there is no pulse, no rhythm, and no breath. Emptying is just as important as filling, but it is more frightening, for at it far extent lies death. Yet this outbreath may be the very sacrifice necessary to make room for what the Solar Eclipse on the 21st is due to deliver.
The partial Lunar Eclipse on the 7th casts its compromised light across the terrain of your social life. This is the first in a series of Eclipses which will attempt to persuade you to spend less time trying to control your social world. Try letting go of your ideas about how your friends should act, and who you should know. These mandates are likely taking up energy you need for other things, and furthermore, it is only when you stop trying to push people into acting one way or another that you get to see their true nature.
The partial Lunar Eclipse casts ruddied silver light across the landscape of your professional life, where it will reveal what you’ve been trying too hard to control. Survey for the bits you’ve invested tremendous energy into but have barely budged, as well as the portions which you’ve successfully transformed and no longer need so much attention.
The shadow of the partial Lunar Eclipse on August 7th falls across your long-term goals, as well as the curvature of your over-all trajectory through life — your path. It may be time to detach a bit from some of the outcomes you’d hoped for. Not necessarily permanently, but just for a moment — just long enough to look at things afresh. Is it possible that having your eyes glued to the horizon has blinded you to the work directly before you?
This Lunar Eclipse is situated so as to pull your focus away from those entanglements of time, money, and energy you have with others. Your attachments in this area are impeding the flow between yourself and other people. It may be that you’re stuck expecting things from others they can’t or won’t deliver, or it could be that you’ve blocked people from providing you the
help and support they want to lend you. For at least a moment, let go of your expectations about exchanges and just see them as they are, without wanting or trying to control them.
The partial Lunar Eclipse on the 7th throws pink and silver beams at your relationships. Try, for just a second, letting go of what you expect of people, how you should be treated, and how they should behave. You can remember later, but under the pink tint of the Eclipse, try forgetting how the people in your life should be. In that odd light, you will be able to see your relationships more clearly than during the blaze of mid-day.
The Lunar Eclipse targets the mundane portion of your life, all the chores that need to get done and all the bills that need to be paid. When the red and silver light of the Moon strikes them, you may see some things start to evaporate from those to-do lists, a sort of pinkish mist. That is the lifeblood you’ve invested in the small and concrete things. It’s not that the details aren’t important, its just that they’re not as important as you’ve made them. Let that life-force drift and coalesce where it may — which is probably exactly where it is needed.
This partial Lunar Eclipse beams its compromised light into the well of your creative power, tinting its fecund waters red. Look to the buckets which you use to draw on and distribute that power. What have you watered with that sacred store, and what has grown as a result? Take a moment, amidst the moonlight, to consider what plants, people, and projects may not deserve the sacrifice of your lifeblood.
The partial Eclipse fires its rusty silver beams down to your foundations. The light reaches into the basement of your home, and illuminates the ghostly silhouettes of family members. An exorcism of one sort or another may be called for, whether it be a psychic disentanglement or something more literal.
The partial Lunar Eclipse sees red and silver rays stream down onto your calendar, showing the events and obligations written there in a rare light. Certain commitments and patterns stand out, begging for inspection. Close up, you’ll see that they’re the ones clogging up your time, demanding more effort than they’re worth. It might also be that your focus on those little things is what’s keeping you from making more progress on your big goals.
The compromised light of the Lunar Eclipse falls onto your prized possessions, bank statements, and stacks of hidden emergency cash. The light of the Eclipse grasps at them and tugs. It might seem like a thief is trying to make off with your gold, but in truth, the Moon is trying to separate the actual funds available from your psychic overinvestment in them. Try and see, for just a bit, what it would be like to stop comparing what you have with what you think you should.
The partial Lunar Eclipse is the first in a series which will ask you to stop trying so hard to be yourself. For just a bit, try letting go of the ego-ideal — who you’re trying to be. Take off that ill-fitting costume. Look at the shape of the person you are rather than the one you aspire towards. Do so without comparing, judging yourself for not yet being what you’re becoming, or what you wish you were instead. Use the Eclipse-beams to see your true colors.
This partial Eclipse falls in some cob-webbed corner of your mind. It’s slightly bloodied light falls on all of the outposts you’ve worked so hard to construct in your unconscious, the little frontier bases you’ve built for adventures into the labyrinth of your own mind and even further out, into the odd magical terrain which appears to underpin reality itself. Though they’ve served to support your adventures into the weird, it may be time to stop spending so much time thinking about how to improve them. Trust in the psychic structures you’ve built, and invest more of yourself in more concrete matters.