Solar Eclipse: Break Habits, Start Habits


Ready to clear out the clutter, now that it's been rooted from its concealment chamber?

The solar eclipse new Moon on Fri Sep 22 is an invitation to do just that. After all, the eclipse is in Virgo, the fastidious logician with the neat-freak reputation who loves nothing more than to put things in their proper place. And since this is a South Node solar eclipse, the proper place for such clutter is behind us.

Two weeks ago, we greeted an emotionally electrifying (and erratic) lunar eclipse full Moon in Pisces. That influence was enough to getting us feeling stuff we'd stuffed away in a dusty chest in the attic and forgotten… or tried to forget.

But there it was, shoved back in our faces, gripping our hearts and churning our stomachs… realizations like,

'I'm sad about what happened, and I hadn't dealt with it until now.'

'I'm tired of suffering at the hands of my own self-delusional hopes.'

'I'm done putting myself second, just because I love you. Love ain't enough.'

'I'm ready to break away from the psychic sinkhole. It doesn't have to be this way.'

At the previous solar eclipse in March, I encouraged you to write down what you wanted and send it to me, with the intention of helping to manifest your desires by putting them into material form and releasing them to the universe. But I'm not doing that this time. That last eclipse was in Aries, the first sign and the crudest, under the influence of which we are encouraged to assert uncompromisingly… without the blush of self-consciousness or other-centered hyper-considerateness tangling us up. Aries is all about 'what I want' and whatever spontaneous actions I take to get it.

This eclipse, however, is in Virgo, a sign far less outward-oriented, which wields its careful precision in quiet workshop corners or at giant desks, tinkering diligently for hours. As an inspiration for our eclipse intentions, it's a down-to-earth practical energy, assisting us in the understated private task of improving upon the day-to-day habits we keep.

Virgo likes its habits. Regular repetition of routines enables us to work out the kinks and inefficiencies, bringing us ever nearer to that ideal of imagined perfection (though never, obviously, all the way). But when we concentrate too close on perfecting the teeniest of tiny details, we totally miss those glaring blindspots right in front of us—which we'd notice if we just looked away from our microscope, and up at our surroundings.

When we stay stuck in our rote reiterations of the same familiar methods (because we've told ourselves it's the right way or the best way or the only way), we may eliminate the annoyance associated with variables—while, at the same time, limiting our potential to grow and evolve, since there's no pressing reason to improvise or innovate. Isn't evolution ultimately reliant on mutation, an error or mishap in replication?

Habits in themselves aren't bad, as long as we've chosen to repeatedly repeat behaviors that promote our health and support our accomplishment of goals. Good habits help us achieve something we can only reach from sustained effort over time, rather than from one-time-only bursts of fervor (no matter how fervent).

Examples: Habits of balanced dietary intake and regular exercise reward us with fitter, firmer bodies. Artists who habitually attend to their crafts are able to create masterworks or refine their skills to celebrated levels. Parents who instill predictable routines in their children's upbringing are providing them a gift of stability and self-discipline, one that can last their whole lives.

Friday's eclipse falls at the very last degree of Virgo, only hours before the Sun moves into Libra—the event that marks the fall equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and the spring equinox in the South. What better concurrence than this, to accentuate the eclipse's 'chapter-flipping' power? We are literally changing seasons at this event. Such junctures are our summons to don different clothing (metaphorically, if nothing else)… to drag out or put away our beachwear, raingear or heavy protective outer layers.

Furthermore, now that Pluto has reached the last few degrees of Sagittarius—putting him within striking distance of the Capricorn cusp—he adds his brutish depth by forming a wide square to the eclipse. In fact, for the next couple years, he will form a fourth-harmonic aspect (conjunction, opposition or square) to every seasonal change, both the equinoxes and the solstices.

As we move ever closer to the more dramatic astro-events we'll witness as the '00s give way to the '10s, Pluto's presence at the seasonal turns will remind us of this with transitions packed with extra oomph. Each season that passes adds pressure on us to face deeper truths, in order to evolve… or else confront deeper pain, in the refusal to move on.

But even such macro-level transformations are built on efforts taken in much smaller steps… the mundane 'meat-and-potatoes' of what we toil at work, how we care for our bodies and keep all the gears turning, day in and day out.

At this eclipse, consider how your smaller steps and little habits are adding up to something—a beautiful rebirth, or a slow descent.