The Sun rises in the second decan of Aquarius on January 30th, just prior to the total Lunar Eclipse in Leo. While the first face of Aquarius entailed initial encounters with the unknown, the second decan sees us thoroughly engaged with what is beyond the boundaries, whether they be the boundaries of the ego or what one believes to be reality. Here we see scientists and anthropologists deeply embedded in their chosen mysteries, exotic technologies, and visitors from unfamiliar worlds.
This decan, ruled by Mercury, is a place of commerce and conversation with what is alien, both within and without. There is much to be gained, and much to be learned, by dialoguing with the unfamiliar.
While the Sun travels the second decan of Aquarius, the Lunar Eclipse occurs in the opposite place — the second decan of Leo. Leo’s second decan depicts the triumphant conqueror, whose sovereignty expands to include the entirety of the known world, the known self. This Eclipse thus challenges us incorporate the unknown into our conscious world.
This decan’s biggest moment is, without a doubt, the total Lunar Eclipse in Leo. The Eclipse is centered on the Pacific Rim, and will be visible to all of those living on the Ring of Fire. For those of in North America, it will straddle sunrise, as it is most perfect at 5:30 AM Pacific on the 31st.
The Eclipse’s rays drip thick down to earth, a mixture of light, blood, and shadow. If you but hold out a cup, you will soon find it filled with strange visions. The total Lunar Eclipse in Leo thus arrives as a great Crimson Mirror. In it your whole nature and Original Face might be glimpsed, but through a lens darkly. That great face is wreathed with living shadows, doppelgangers smirking in your peripheral vision.
That face may strike you as alien, as it is larger by far than your conscious personality. It is so vast it would take a lifetime to entirely explore it. It is its own landscape, its own adventure, containing its very own heavens and hells.
In that mirror you may catch a glimpse of Aion-Mithras, lion headed and encircled by a snake. A vision of the whole Self will always look Baphometic — a disturbing chimera of the celestial and chthonic, bestial and human, male and female. It is what we look like before our light is parsed into an array of masks. You will know it when you see it, because it is both more and less powerful than yourself — uglier and more beautiful, crueler and infinitely more kind.
That image lives in the past, as your Original Face; what you have never escaped being. It also lives in the future, as the tantalizing result of your Great Work. It is the success of alchemical embodiment, the final transmutation and reconciliation of existence. Its contradictions do not shatter it, they affirm it.
The spectacle of wholeness unfolds in that mirror, but wholeness is not happiness. It is not a state without flaws, or claws. Wholeness is both strong and weak. It has both a halo and teeth. Wholeness has the beatific visage of a saint, a sorcerer’s grin, a child’s pain, and an adolescent’s awkwardness.
Wholeness, or health, is not achieved by deciding which pieces of ourselves to accept and which to reject. These limited collages may appear superficially pretty, but they can never be beautiful.
Though you might get a glimpse of this larger Self in the Eclipse mirror, your conscious identity-structure will never be big enough to include all that you see. What we identify with at a given moment, the mask we’re currently wearing, is a representation of one portion of this mysterium tremendum. It cannot encompass it entirely, for we possess millions of forms of being.
Yet a glimpse of the ugly beautiful Original Face should inspire our mask-making. This vision is the prima materia of Self which we are challenged to assemble, artfully, into an identity. To progress, we must learn to craft more subtle masks, with more detail, more striking contradictions. Part of the work offered by the Eclipse is this — to incorporate more of your shadow, soul and spirit into the way you wear and perform your role(s).
Such revelations should also serve to remind us that there is always something beneath the mask, something more complicated. That something is us, and it is also everyone else. Taking the mask for the face will always lead to confusion. Remember that you are acting out a portion of yourself, and so is everyone else. We often make a cruel audience for one other, waiting for someone else’s mask to slip to catch a glimpse of an inappropriate claw or a skewed halo. Remember the vast and varied landscape of your Original Face. Let it move us to works of art and compassion, for ourselves and one another, for we are all so much more than what we perform at any given moment.
This Eclipse cycle, with the Head of the Dragon in royal Leo, has as one of its mundane themes a troubling and churning of the idea of royal power and leadership. With the world’s thrones in disarray, it falls to us to take up scepter and crown. To be whole and sufficient, wise and potent. It is upon us to lead ourselves and inspire each other. The King is dead, let us consume his strength as a pack of Lions.