An Eclipse Invitation to Revisit Habit


Habits die hard, both the good and the bad.

For that matter, habits are just as hard to birth as they are to kill off. A wise decision at the height of inspiration, even with the noblest of intentions, does not come close to equaling the cumulative effect of doing that wise thing over and over… and over… and over…

We will never change our lives with a single brilliant epiphany, though we may justifiably cherish the profound shift in consciousness it carries, ringing through our mind like an angel's bell. We must follow through on it, loosening our behavioral patterns one modest step at a time, to prove our continuing seriousness even after the epiphanic high wears off.

This week's solar eclipse (on Thu May 9) is in Taurus, the sign most closely associated with consistency and the slow cumulative progress it nurtures. Another term we might use to describe this archetypal vibe is stubbornness… a trait that can work for or against us, based upon if we come at it as devotion to a commitment or whether it merely bolsters our refusal to budge, our resistance to change. Stubbornness has its merits.

Taurean types draw great comfort from routine. Its general predictability affords them a persevering peace-of-mind like no other, sustained by clearly foreseeing the rewards that will be theirs if they continue to see their efforts through. For each forty hours of work a week, I earn myself this number of dollars… and if I do that for forty years, I'll receive this pension plan. If I exercise for thirty minutes four times a week and consume only that certain number of calories a day, I will lose weight. Following these basic steps regularly over a length of time yields this result. Taurus loves these simple formulas for success. With needless variables eliminated from the equation, all that's required is steadfastness, which Taurus has in spades.

Of course, we can't really eliminate all the 'variables' which complicate that straightforward math and threaten to disrupt the slow-and-easy rhythm. Nor can we determine whether any variable is 'needless'. On the plus side, such complications help prevent Taurus from becoming so stuck in its ways that it develops a total aversion to change, grows fat and complacent, and plants itself too stubbornly in the same spot. Change is a constant of life; therefore, fostering too averse a stance towards it is akin to wooing death. On the other hand, habits keep us sane and grounded. Without them, we must essentially reinvent the wheel every single day, and what a waste of energy that would be. Taurus is an archetypal energy-conserver. When its conservationist rhythms are disturbed, anxiety arises (along with angry pushback from those most resistant) which can only be quelled gradually… through the process of re-establishing habit more healthfully, one grounding step at a time.

New moons provide us a monthly opportunity to reset our intentions and plant the seeds of that which we'll watch develop… and solar eclipses are the hyper-charged superhero version, bringing an extra life-transforming potency to whichever intentions we ritualize a commitment to shepherding into material being over the months to come. Thursday's Taurus eclipse is conjunct the lunar South Node, indicating that this one carries an energy of past habits culminating.

In the two weeks since Apr 25's Saturn-heavy lunar eclipse, we have become more acutely aware of how our long-repeated behavioral patterns have reaped certain results, which can only accrue over time... and of whether these results have left us delighted or disgruntled. Our recent attempts to alter the less desirable patterns likely reactivated them with renewed potency, as our inner stubborn-reactionary seeks to compensate for the discomfort of change. There is uncanny familiarity to this straddling of past and future. We have been here before. As we feel the attraction of that path-of-least-resistance pulling us backward into old habit, we can passively choose to succumb to its magnetic power—or we can stubbornly affirm our refusal to fall back, no matter the potential losses.

During the eclipse-dominated week ahead, Mercury and Mars will conjoin, an aspect that unites our mind (Mercury) with our might (Mars) for an unconflicted consolidation of personal energy. A Mercury-Mars conjunction means that our words will be undergirded by an attitudinal strength to carry through with what we say—an excellent influence with which to fortify our eclipse-inspired intention-setting. This conjunction also brings serious fighting power, should we need to demonstrate our unyielding resoluteness to those who may doubt us or threaten to obstruct our progress. Its Taurus tone permits us to be patient, should the situation demand that we restate our intent multiple times… but only up to a reasonable point. Once we cross that line to anger and/or discover the attempt to communicate our reality is falling on deaf (or just plain dense) ears, there will be no going back.

Just hours before the eclipse is exact, Venus will transition out of Taurus and into Gemini, a sign with a great deal more flexibility than its predecessor. (Venus stays in Gemini through June 2.) Considering that, as ruler of Taurus, Venus will serve as dispositor for the eclipsed Sun (as well as the Moon, Mercury and Mars), this dash of Gemini color promises to help us find alternatives in any circumstances where we have tired of hitting our head against an unmoving wall. Though our guiding resolve must remain firm if we hope to topple old habits and/or establish new ones, our relational methods of interacting with people who've been somewhat out-of-sync with our recent efforts to change could probably benefit from a bit of experimental tinkering.

During our roughest moments in the transformational process, according to Venus in Gemini, we might reach toward less obvious allies, folks with supportive sentiments we haven't already heard… try different modes of communication, diffusing any standoffs by adopting a 'side-door' manner of opening further dialogue… agree not to continue a dead-end debate, accepting instead the necessary partiality of certain interpersonal connections, learning to appreciate them for their areas of easier overlap while avoiding the touchier spots… and/or to simply turn the other cheek, focusing ourselves only on those social relations that help us get where we want to go and ignoring the others, temporarily or forever.

To consciously set a habit is to adamantly refuse to allow encounters with any complicating obstacle (whether an internal psychological knot to untangle or an external conflict to navigate through) to sap our spirit, discouraging us from believing we can succeed. To set a habit is to preserve our precious forward momentum no matter what it takes, even at certain collateral costs.