A Very Saturny Lunar Eclipse


We're back in the eclipse zone, folks! The upcoming full moon on Thursday (Apr 25) is a lunar eclipse… which will be followed by a solar eclipse new moon on May 9, then another lunar eclipse full moon on May 24.

Yes, three eclipses in a row (as opposed to the more typical two) will essentially lengthen this span of accelerated climactic developments into a month-long event. During these weeks ahead, we'll notice 'the story of our lives' flipping from one chapter to another, drawing themes which have been active since the last eclipses (in Nov 2012) to a relative close and introducing a fresh narrative focus.

What's funny about this latest eclipse season is that it comes right on the heels of an already-pretty-dynamic period of change, courtesy of lots of Aries energy (throughout March and early April) activating the Uranus-Pluto square's revolutionary charge. Much action, therefore, has already gotten underway in these recent weeks. And so this eclipse pressure, then, seems less about 'getting things going'… and more about confronting struggles related to sustaining what's recently been inaugurated, in some solid form that outlasts its initiatory fever.

Judging from the astrological flavor surrounding this first lunar eclipse, we may only now be facing the complexities of integrating whatever new self-directed efforts we began into an more enduring routine, so we might enjoy those benefits which only come from cumulative consistency—and we could well find ourselves challenged, blocked or unsupported (by others or by circumstance) as we try to firm up these changes we're making.

Thursday's lunar eclipse occurs in Scorpio, with the Moon in a conjunction with Saturn… and in opposition to the Sun, Mars and Venus, all in Taurus. This is a strongly fixed signature, indicating a potential battle of stubborn wills between (1) the desire to dig one's heels deeper into the ground, in a commitment to stay the course on behalf of practical goals requiring persistence, and (2) the complicating pushback from forces threatened by such game-changes, who might seek to undermine the commitments or reclaim an upper-hand they perceive as having been lost, concerned about how someone else's self-determining actions might jeopardize their own power-advantage.

Saturn oppositions to personal planets—and we've got three in a row: Venus (Mon Apr 22), the Sun (Sun Apr 28) and Mars (Wed May 1)—bespeak of some inhibition or restriction in our ability to freely express ourselves, to attract what we want and/or to go out and grab it. Ordinarily, such a trio of Taurus planets (led by a happily-dispositing Venus in one of her home signs) would be able to follow a basic earth-sign formula of tangible acquisitiveness: Identify a desire, create a concrete vessel for securely receiving it, proceed sure-footed until reaching the goal, and then savor its physical rewards. But Saturn in Scorpio interferes with the simplicity, flashing us a peculiarly pungent response of resistance or antipathy. Who do we think we are for daring to be so firm? What consequences have we not considered? Which part of our personality has not yet sufficiently evolved, leaving us underprepared for this new level of accountability? Are we as thoroughly committed as we thought, or does there lurk a pernicious undercurrent of doubt or self-sabotage that could spoil all our apparent progress?

Saturn in Scorpio signals the hardest work in front of us is psychological in nature, forcing us to accept that we perhaps had been oversimplifying our perceived pathway forward… that we neglected to account for some hot-button issue, sobering obstruction, and/or intense interpersonal dynamic which, at this critical juncture, just cannot be avoided.

Saturn's present conflict with Venus, the Sun, and Mars could well play out inside us, as a clash between our purposeful inner pragmatist (who's probably pretty eager to help us bank our recent advances into more permanent life-change gains) and our emotionally-driven devil's advocate (who chips away at our confidence, distracts us with envy and undue competitiveness aimed outward at others, and/or seeks to protect whatever self-subverting benefits we derive from preserving our life as it's always been). We recognize this internal conflict when we find ourselves halted in our tracks by our own doing… and can't simply talk ourselves into continuing onward, not without delving deeper into the psychological roots of our resistance and fear. We'll probably need to allow for a temporary delay in our evident forward-motion, in order to focus on the cathartic work of excavating our past, identifying our psychic triggers, and staring the difficult feelings square in the eyes. Only then can we really move forward.

Of course, we may just as likely manifest this Saturn conflict as an external clash with another person… somebody who conveniently serves to symbolize whatever Scorpio undertones we aren't seeing as clearly in ourselves. Enter, for instance, the individual who asks the uncomfortable questions and, in putting words to the doubts we might also be secretly harboring about ourselves (or else why would their questions be so uncomfortable?), demands we engage in thorough deliberation on the issues behind those doubts. Or maybe it's a partner who subtly (or less-subtly) discourages us from strengthening our independent resolve, taking low-blow swipes to keep us under their control, cornering us into examining whether the relationship is actually impeding upon our personal evolution.

Any reactive instinct to orchestrate your actions as a means for getting under another person's skin, teaching them a lesson, or one-upping them should be a clue to investigate hour motives more fully. Why is the locus of your fixation being projected onto someone else? They are not what it's really about.

Lunar eclipses (which are essentially super-powered full moons) often magnify an emotional reality that has been previously underplayed or otherwise escaped our consideration, exposing it to clearer view so we may not ignore it any longer. With the eclipse axis (i.e., Moon in Scorpio opposing Sun in Taurus) mirroring the oppositions being made by Saturn to Venus, the Sun and Mars, this magnified reality will likely involve a sobering emotional encounter with the underlying reason(s) why settling into a more stable embodiment of the changes we recently initiated just isn't as easy as we'd like it to be.

While Saturn's conjunction to this eclipsed full moon could hardly be characterized as light or fun, it does call us to take full psychological responsibility for the foundational complexes resting beneath our heightened feelings. We have a chance to own the dynamic, rather than feigning powerlessness or pointing fingers at a convenient bad-guy. In fact, if we don't own it, we can expect to continue experiencing frustrated aspirations—an ongoing result from not looking deeply enough into what's holding us back.

Whether we're caught between conflicting drives (one conscious, one less-conscious) within our personality or in an externalized conflict with someone else, the dominant astrological energetics behind this friction are clearly relational in nature. We've recently progressed from a lineup of Aries planets led by a dignified Mars (an assertive, individuating archetype in a self-centered sign of action) to a concentration in Taurus anchored by a dignified Venus (a more accommodating, union-oriented archetype rooted within a shock-absorbing sign of containment), switching the overall current from yang to yin. Plus, a repeating theme of planetary oppositions (as opposed to any other dominant aspect) always brings relationality to the forefront of our consciousness: How do we balance this against that? my desires against yours? evolution against structure? simplification against complication? Successful solutions necessitate a bit of give, a bit of take.

The two weeks of waning moonlight following this first lunar eclipse are an excellent window-of-opportunity for dirtying our hands with whatever feelings get stirred up… to retrace any recent steps that too sharply or hastily railroaded over existing relational dynamics, giving them further care and consideration. It could indeed prove momentarily painful to admit where we had been short-sighted, careless, and/or blinded by self-concern. As we angle ourselves into a more empowered place in the world, we may also be approaching a final standoff with residual relationships (with ourselves or others) that cannot survive such transformation. In such cases, grieving is certainly in order. We might seek to 'clear the slate', as best as we can, in advance of the next eclipse—May 9's solar-eclipse new moon in Taurus, which occurs only after all the personal planets have completed their oppositions to Scorpio, largely unfettering us of the complicating obstacles now slowing us down, for good reason.