Eclipses Say 'Time's Up'


With the arrival of our latest set of eclipses—a lunar-eclipse full moon on Jan 31, followed by a solar-eclipse new moon on Feb 15—we enter a new chapter less favorable to shows of fiery bravado.

Instead, we're nudged further toward affirming the increasing importance of restrained-and-responsible Saturn, newly stern and stringent now back in Capricorn, over these months to come.

I've long interpreted eclipse-periods (or the few weeks surrounding a pair or trio of eclipses, which occur every six months or so) as chapter-flipping markers in the narrative unfolding of our life-stories. During an eclipse-period, ongoing developments quicken and intensify. Themes which have been accentuated in recent months reach their symbolic climax, passing the baton to fresh or newly-reemphasized concerns. We once again become closely acquainted with the always-spinning wheel of fortune: Its magical spin-cycle lands on the next destiny. We review the cards it's dealt us, and start deciding how to play 'em.

We greeted the last eclipse-duo back in August, a month dominated by an extended conjunction between the Sun and Mars in Leo… and thus marked by dramatic self-assertions and showy battles-of-ego. The Aug 21 total solar eclipse in Leo received more hype than the typical eclipse event, at least here in the US, largely because it cut a swath of visibility across the whole country and made a strong connection with both the President's chart and rebel-planet Uranus, a prominent player in last year's astrology. (Living almost directly in the path-of-totality myself, I found that August eclipse knocked my life on its ear, with unanticipated disruptions of such magnitude, I'm still trying to regain my equilibrium. I can't, therefore, feign the dispassionate-observer tone when telling you I, for one, am damn ready to flip to the next chapter.)

But just as this year is far more Saturn-centered overall than the volatile Uranian signature of '17, so too do these next eclipses serve as an apt gateway into the 'get real' themes which our planetary authority-figure is now foisting upon us. This is the first eclipse-period of the new Saturn-in-Capricorn era, and both of the upcoming eclipse events are ultimately disposited (or, based on the traditional rulership schema, forced to 'report to' in their expression) by Saturn.

Though Jan 31's total lunar eclipse will be in Leo, the Sun (ruler of Leo and thus dispositor of the eclipsed Moon) is concurrently placed in Aquarius, traditionally a Saturn-ruled sign. This astrological dynamic foregrounds the present need to mindfully position our first-person testimony (Leo), whatever it may be, within sensible context of the relevant consensus-reality (Aquarius) if it's to be taken seriously.

That the lunar nodal axis (an orbital factor which determines when eclipses will happen) is presently moving through Leo and Aquarius signifies a timely pressure to balance (1) our self-expression as the singularly special soul that each of us is against (2) our distinct role as but one part of a larger group or collective. While Leo leads from the heart with purity-of-personality and generosity-of-spirit, Aquarius operates more from the head, taking a systems-level approach in considering how different participants' contributions come together to create a shared experience. Too much Leo influence, and everything gets filtered through our own self-centering lens; too much Aquarius, and our full glory as individuals becomes subsumed by groupthink.

An interesting synchronicity from the current cultural zeitgeist: In October of last year, while Saturn was still in fire-sign Sagittarius and trining both Uranus in Aries and the Moon's north node in Leo, we witnessed a social-media swell of personal revelations from many victims of sexual harassment and assault, united into a movement under the umbrella hashtag #metoo. By the beginning of this year, once Saturn had made it to Capricorn, this evolving movement gave birth to a more organized initiative, now repositioned as #TimesUp. Any astrological symbol-watcher would, of course, immediately recognize Saturn's fingerprints all over this rebranding.

Fortified in strength by its planetary dignity, Saturn in Capricorn has now turned up the volume on any tick-tick-ticking of impending expiration-dates. This pivot in hashtag-strategy also balances the chorus of individual stories with a more explicit critique of the institutional factors at play, removing the first-person subject as its sole focus ('#metoo') and shifting to a more objective-sounding call to collective responsibility. While personal stories are essential for raising consciousness and evoking compassion, effecting any large-scale change always requires agreed-upon goals, structures, and guidelines.

The Feb 15 solar eclipse falls in the later degrees of Aquarius, in conjunction with Mercury and forming a gently supportive sextile to Uranus. This combination speaks to the positive value of thinking several steps ahead of any last-minute corrections, late-in-the-game insurgencies, or last-ditch attempts at innovation, prior to Uranus's initial ingress into Taurus in May. Yet, the eclipse is also squared by Jupiter in Scorpio, a complicating prospect due to its tainting of Aquarius's cool-headed conceptualizations with 'impure' emotion-driven motives. Herein lies a lurking caution against believing our ideas are more unbiased by our psychological makeup or detached from personal desire than they are.

In fact, throughout this entire eclipse-period and into mid-March, Jupiter will be in mutual reception with Mars in Sagittarius… which means their expressed energies will be feeding off one another in a positive feedback loop, adding both an extra charge of bombastic emotion to our notion of what's 'right' and a hastening of our trigger-finger responses to whatever we've deemed 'wrong'. Needless to say, this hot-blooded Mars/Jupiter mutual reception is at temperamental odds with the calculated restraint and pragmatic goal-orientation of Saturn in Capricorn—and because Mars and Jupiter are operating outside Saturn's dispositorship, their passion-induced shows of immediate desire, defiance, or self-defense will be precariously prone to breaching any predetermined bounds of strategic propriety.

But once it moves into Capricorn (on Mar 17), Mars will kick off an extraordinarily lengthy eight-month span travelling through the two Saturn-ruled signs (Capricorn and Aquarius), not leaving Saturn's dispositorship until entering Pisces in mid-November. That span includes a two-month Mars retrograde (Jun 26-Aug 27), which will be in high gear by the time our next eclipses roll through. Much of this eclipse chapter, then, may involve a quelling of premature impulses, a reinforcing pause to dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's, and/or a dutiful backtrack to readdress what was overlooked or ignored during these first weeks (i.e., through February and into early March) while renegade Mars was still so loose and indelicate.