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.
The stained light of the Eclipse spills across what you create. It is there — in the life that you make, the style in which you adorn yourself, and the moments and objects you bring into being — that your authenticity can be best seen. This is a vital, life-giving process, and well worth protecting. If you let other’s opinions intrude too deeply into your creativity, you may find your art devolve into mere entertainment.
The shadow of this Eclipse falls across family and home. It is a signal to more fully and authentically inhabit the place you’ve chosen to dwell, to make it your own. The Eclipse’s odd light also illuminates your familial roots. Look back at your origin story, and consider the way you tell it. It would be time well spent to go through at again, making sure you haven’t simplified any of the actors into simple, one-dimensional characters.
The Eclipse spills across your weekly ramblings to and fro. Who are you in the middle of your day, between appointments and errands? Although this area of life seems incidental, accidental, mere mesentery, this is where we spend so much of our time — dashing here and there, doing this and then that, talking to him and then her. By learning to more fully inhabit these between-spaces, you can reclaim a vast territory.
The Eclipse’ strange light falls across your bank account and store of possessions. Do the material constituents of your life reflect you? Ask yourself what equipment you need to live more authentically. A boxer needs a heavy bag, a writer needs a fine pen. What equipment does being-who-you-are require?
Feelings related to money may also emerge under this configuration. Pride in earning, shame in poverty. Neither of these is essentially who you are, yet if they matter to you, let them. If you desire to see yourself crystalized into a pile of silver, then so be it. Material wealth is not the measure of value, you are. Yet if you decide you value the material, then it is no less, and no more, valuable than anything else — for you are the final arbiter.
The Eclipse washes over your sign like a red flood. Your passions will likely rise to high tide, with 20 foot swells of shame and pride. Your job is to let these mighty waves wash up and over you without being swept away by them. Though some may bring pleasure and others pain, it is a sea of medicine whose swells crash against you, each wave making you that much more whole and complete.
The Eclipse’s strange light falls on persistent issues of pride and shame. For many born to the Virgin, it is not shame which is hidden, but pride. The credit you don’t get is the credit you refuse to accept. The praise you reject feeds this golden shadow. Own it, slip into it like a glittering robe. Your greatest fear, that there is a part of you which is obnoxiously fabulous, may in fact be true. Deal with it.
The shadow of the Eclipse falls across your public persona. It may be time to let a bit more of you show, and not just the painstakingly-crafted Libra bits. You may want to consider letting some of the less tidy parts show — a bit of claw here, an inappropriate halo there. Authenticity isn’t always pretty, but nothing can match its beauty.
The tinted light of the Eclipse falls across the landscape of your professional life. How does your work in the world reflect you? Are you present there, or just putting in hours? Prioritizing authentic labor may stir your ambition to secure a different spot in this world, or it may simply help you remember why you do what you do. Whatever the case, remember to bring your soul to work with you, even if it is occasionally inconvenient.
The odd light of the Eclipse illuminates distant goals. Instead of gazing at these victories from afar, thinking of how they will change or justify you, consider that you are already the same person as that future, accomplished self, just as the arrow mid-flight is the same arrow which strikes the target. Let yourself feel the satisfaction of being en route, already loosed and on your way.
Ruddy lunar rays wreathe the exchanges between yourself and others. Stained moon-light falls across the umbilici which connects you to others. Packets of time, energy and money race back and forth, feeding you, feeding them. This Eclipse is a call to sort through the way you characterize these back-and-forths. You are not a giver, you are not a taker. You are both of these, and more. Reconsider simplifications of your transactional self.
The odd light of the Eclipse falls across the image of your beloved, revealing the passionate contradictions within. Light and shadow intermingle on the Other’s face. See in them the complexity you know to be found within you. Remember that the face they daily wear is but a limited expression of the being within. Let your understanding reach out and embrace that vast territory.
The strange light of the Eclipse trickles down into the crevices of your daily habits and obligations. It may be that no vision of angel or demon within awaits you during this Eclipse, as the Pisces ego is already composed of such exotic material. No, it is the portion of the Self lost amidst mundane details which needs to be reclaimed. What is hidden is not a god, but someone content with the small and unimaginative. Reclaim this unimpressive self, this boring character you’ve done your best to banish.