Shadow Season—New Moon Solar Eclipse—October 14th
The beauty of darkness is how it lets you see. Adrienne Rich.
We’ve entered eclipse season, the season of shadow. As the days grow shorter a small flock of wild geese have returned to the estuary near my home. Spider webs glitter with dew in the misty mornings and scarlet hawthorn berries hang in bright bundles from bare branches.
As the shadows lenghten, the light of the sun will be darkened by the moon. This is the first eclipse of the autumn and falls at 21° Libra.
Eclipses arrive in pairs, and more rarely, in threes, and there is an eclipse every six months when a new or full moon conjoins the moon’s nodes. Symbolically, eclipses amplify the intensity of power struggles, life-changing choices, triangular dramas, those pivotal moments that change our destiny. A new moon eclipse in Libra carries the symbolism of the scales of balance as we weigh up moral and ethical choices pertaining to our relationships.
Mars the war-god entered the shadowy realms of Scorpio on October 12th, charging this new moon eclipse with passion and intensity. The luminaries oppose both Eris, Greek Goddess of discord and strife, and Chiron the wounded healer, associated with profound pain and woundedness. The eclipse also makes an unyielding square to Pluto.
Now as the dark shadow of war stains the Middle East, eclipsing the devastating conflict in Ukraine and the myriad conflicts that fester in forgotten countries, we glimpse the gateway to hell.
As a tornado of destruction rips through the land, Pluto turned direct this week (October 10th at 27° Capricorn) bringing into our consciousness the insanity of war. Pluto (collective and generational survival angst) moves Retrograde every year for five or six months, dredging up the darker elements of life: issues of power and powerlessness, death, survival and fate, prompting us to look at the shadow we cast across other people’s lives, so often quite unconsciously, by our thoughts and our behaviour.
The attack by Hamas on Israel has been described by some as a “Pearl Harbour moment”, “an opening of the gates of hell”. The event chart for the flare-up of the conflict is remarkable. It contains numerous painful and explosive conjunctions that reflect the enormous scale of the pain and wounding on both sides as this relationship breakdown will displace, wound, kill, and polarise so many people. As the Biblical “eye for an eye” commandment, is reactivated, measure for measure, the trauma of this war will reverate for generations to come. Historian and author, Yuval Noah Harari writes, “the current conflict is likely to put the last nail in the coffin of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
The essence of Libra is paradox. Richard Tarnas, author of Cosmos and Psyche, writes, “Our time is pervaded by a great paradox. On the one hand, we see signs of an unprecedented level of engaged global awareness, moral sensitivity to the human and non-human community, psychological self-awareness, and spiritually informed philosophical pluralism. On the other hand, we confront the most critical, and in some respects catastrophic, state of the Earth in human history. Both these conditions have emerged directly from the modern age, whose light and shadow consequences now affect every part of the planet.”
In the scales of Libra, we hold the tension of opposites. Light and shadow. The paradox of our humanness in the eye of the storm. Compromise or polarisation. Judgement or discretion. Quiet desperation or the grace to remember that this is precisely what we have come here to do. Perhaps, as Carl Jung believed, if we hold the tension between two opposing forces, a third way emerges, uniting, transfiguring, transcending the two, giving birth to something new.
For those with planets or angles at 21° Libra this new moon solar eclipse offers a powerful boost of energy and an opportunity to reflect on the changes that have prompted us to learn and grow since the spring eclipses (solar eclipse in Aries on April 19th and lunar eclipse in Scorpio on May 5th.)
For us all, this is a time to rebalance and reflect on how, in the words of author Stephen Richards, “our level of love or our level of fear determines the state of our reality.”
Our evolutionary challenge this month is inner serenity and a selective, deliberate focus on those things that are right in the world and in our relationships. Life coach and author, Shannon Kaiser offers a reminder to return to a prayer or a mantra when we feel frazzled or fearful, exiled from unshakable inner peace. “The outside world is going to keep being chaotic. When we’re looking out there, it will pull our energy. It will keep us stuck in fear. It will keep us in exhaustion… when we use a mantra such as “can choose peace instead of this… this anchors us back in the moment, to the light within you.”
The essence of Libra brings harmony to polarities, offers a possibility to let go of the melodrama, to transcend the personal, and touch the heart of another with hope.
“I know that hope is the hardest love to carry,” writes Jane Hirshfield in her exquisite poem, Hope and Love.
This from poet and mystic, John O’Donohue: May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquillities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.
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