The Still Point


January 31, 2018 at 5:28am PST / 1:28pm UT

Moon and Sun opposed at 11°37' Leo/Aquarius

picIn just a few days, we arrive at the Full Moon, culmination of a cycle that began at the Capricorn New Moon two weeks ago. But no ordinary Full Moon is this!

As the second Full Moon to fall in January, it is a Blue Moon PLUS a Super "perigee" Moon — falling near Luna's closest approach to Earth and bringing more of those especially high King Tides. It also falls on Imbolc eve, one of those four powerful, cross-quarter days (more on that in a separate post); and, last but not least, this Leo Full Moon is also a TOTAL lunar eclipse.

Seeing Red

During a total eclipse, the Moon does not completely disappear, instead, during the maximum phase, it turns a shade of red, varying from a light coppery orange-red to a deep rose red. The color is due to the deflection or "scattering" of the sun's light by particles in the Earth's atmosphere. Shorter wavelengths are more likely to be scattered, so longer wavelengths prevail which we perceive as red.

LOOKING AT THE CHART, we see the Leo lunar eclipse action bolstered by two other celestial bodies — both of which are feminine. Venus widely conjoins the Aquarius Sun, while on the other side of this Full Moon opposition, pic we have Ceres VERY tightly conjunct the eclipsed Moon. What is the message then in this swirling mix, lunar eclipse, "Super Blue Blood Moon" falling in Leo?

Ceres amplifies the Moon's own emphasis on home and family, nurture and sustenance, enlarging the concept to include the entire planet, our greater home, Ceres is archetype of Mother Earth. In mythology, Ceres is the Goddess of the Grain and Harvest, and also well known as mother to Persephone, who became Queen of the Underworld and wife to Hades. Ceres is strongly associated with agriculture, the seasonal changes in the year to which farming is entirely subject. She signifies the importance of nurturing and protecting living, growing things: farming and cultivation, the domestication and husbandry of farm animals, and all the other ways in which we need to nourish ourselves — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

VENUS'S INVOLVEMENT in the eclipse brings in issues of relationship: that old challenge of give and take, risking the heart, what stands in our way of true intimacy. Venus represents the quest for relationship bliss. Venus, however, is more than just the planet of love and relationship, it also associated with personal values and aesthetics: Where is the music and the meaning in life? Is it integral to our daily existence, or missing? has it been stowed away as if joy and happiness are optional?what we consider worthwhile and beautiful. In this sense, as astrologer Howard Sasportas pointed out, Venus serves the Sun — that solar urge to be exactly who we are: to grow and develop into a unique individual. Venus is an important inner compass, for if we lack a strong sense of what we personally value, how do we make appropriate choices? How do we prioritize effectively? How do we effectively direct our lives?

Questions for this Venus- and Ceres-Infused Eclipse

What really matters? Where is the music and the meaning in life? Is it integral to our daily existence or missing? has it been stowed away as if joy and happiness are optional? Are we living a life that reflects our inner values, or are we more like actors performing in someone else's play?

Venus IS our joy, our birth right, and when we neglect to build these important inner values in life, we lose out in a very big way. If you often feel like something is missing in your life, understanding the message of your natal Venus can help guide you in the right direction, especially right now standing as we are at an important threshold for eclipses are just that, often bringing sweeping change that can alter the direction of our lives for good. So these are among the main challenges right now, and over the next few weeks — even longer if 11 degrees of Leo/Aquarius forms significant ties to your chart.

Leo/Aquarius Eclipse

With each Full Moon, we arrive at the culmination of the cycle when the Sun and Moon gaze at each other from opposite sides of the wheel. Opposing signs are "electric" poles: magnetic complements that naturally attract each other. Air is associated with the cool intellect, reason and mental function: logos. Fire is warm, radiant, passionate and inspiring: eros.We experience life in polarity: light/dark, happy/sad, male/female, you/me. The zodiac reflects this in its six polar pairs, one pair featured at each Full Moon. What the two signs involved represent provide important clues as the special quality of the "illumination challenge" right now, at this particularly potent Full Moon eclipse.

Each year the Sun enters the sign of Aquarius around the 20th of January, when the increasing light, here in the north, is evident, the dark nadir of winter has passed. Aquarius is an air sign, part of an elemental triplicity that includes Gemini and Libra. Air is associated with the cool intellect, reason and mental function: logos. Leo is part of the fire triplicity that includes Aries and Sagittarius. Fire is warm, radiant, passionate and inspiring: eros. Leo, of all the fire signs, is the gallant leader, the performer with charisma, the engaging storyteller who can transport you to other worlds.

A core challenge associated with the Leo/Aquarius opposition lies in the difference between the trappings of the ego versus true self esteem, and the resolve to deal honestly what what is really going on in the emotional realm. This is after all a LUNAR eclipse, these "turbo-charged" Full Moons. The Moon represents these deeper feelings and emotional reactions to life.

What pain, fear, or wounding experience are you carrying, still unresolved? What do you hold in your heart (Venus, widely opposed the eclipse) that needs healing and release? How is the past keeping you from fully participating in life now? In what ways do you hold back who you really are in your heart of hearts? How have you fallen short of your full creative potential? (eclipse in Leo) due to Happiness and joy make life worth living, and as we go about handling the chores and responsibilities of life, it is too easy to neglect this critical facet of life.fear of failure? rejection? security? wanting too much to please others? to prove your worth? In what ways do you neglect to nurture sufficient joy and happiness? fail to "follow your bliss"? Happiness and joy make life worth living, and as we go about handling the chores and responsibilities of life, it is too easy to neglect this critical facet of life.

DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN EGO and true self esteem is something we don't always do very well, yet it is an important distinction. And I'm not talking about that phony, superficial, narcissistic ego-bolstering that passes as self-esteem. True self esteem, solid self-confidence, comes from a far deeper place.

"Vanity and pride are what most of us tend to think of when we think of ego," Eckhart Tolle stated in one of his lectures, "but ego is much more than an overinflated sense of self. It can also turn up in feelings of inferiority or self-hatred because ego is any image you have of yourself that gives you a sense of identity — and that identity derives from the things you tell yourself and the things other people have been saying about you that you've decided to accept as truth."

"One way to think about ego," Tolle adds, "is as a protective heavy shell, such as the kind some animals have, like a big beetle. This protective shell works like armor to cut you off from other people and the outside world. What I mean by shell is a sense of separation: Here's me and there's the rest of the universe and other people. The ego likes to emphasize the "otherness" of others." Tolle further explains this armoring of the ego:

Well, first there is the ego self-esteem. Which is really, even if you have high ego self-esteem, there's always hidden fear underneath it. It's always there to compensate for the fear you feel of not being good enough or perhaps failing. So you need to play a role of being big to compensate for fear of failure that's deep down. But that's usually, the world calls it, the world would say he or she has high self-esteem, [these] people who have big egos. But the world doesn't realize that that's not true self-esteem.

True self-esteem goes much deeper. It's finding the source of power and aliveness deep inside. Realizing that within the depth of your being, there is that continuous source of intense aliveness and power, which is the stillness out of which everything comes. The potential, the unexpressed potential for all form is there for every human being. You have to become still.

* * *

San Francisco's lovely Grace Cathedral and labyrinth: replica of the one in Chartres Cathedral.

A labyrinth provides a fitting symbol for our upcoming lunar eclipse in Leo, blessed as it is by Ceres and Venus. Walking a labyrinth is about arriving at one's calming, healing center, and as described in Grace Cathedral's website, the walk has three stages/purposes:

"God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." — Nicolas of Cusa

SO WE HAVE a Full Moon and lunar eclipse falling in Leo, the sign ruled by the infinite Sun, which labyrinthine purpose is exactly that lifelong unfurling of our full, unique and glorious potential.Think of it — the simple act of drawing a circle encloses infinity: both the point and the circle represent the boundless, limitlessness of space.

The glyph for the Sun, above, is also the symbol used for gold, and in esoteric circles represents Spirit Manifest. It also resembles a fertile egg. In mathematics, a single point has no dimension, and the circle contains an area impossible to calculate. Think of it — the simple act of drawing a circle encloses infinity: both the point and the circle represent the boundless, limitlessness of space. As close as we can get to calculating the area of a circle is represented by pi, or 3.141592... — only an approximation. The smartest cookies from ancient times have tried and tried to figure it out, but to no avail, because it's a fool's errand, an impossibility.

THE ASTROLOGICAL SUN represents many things: the Divine Guest, the higher self, the psyche, the temporal self or ego, one's life force, life purpose, personal mandala, what one is building in this lifetime, one's potential, vitality and essence. This rather long list of associations itself implies the obvious: we are ultimately limitless. Astrologer Alice O. Howell writes so well of this parallel between the circle and the psyche:

The parallel to the psyche is there: the chart as a mandala is by implication infinite. No one can either define or limit another, one can only help the unfolding. Our own potential is limitless.

— Alice O. Howell, Jungian Symbolism in Astrology

The Sun is our nearest star, it represents wisdom, enlightenment, and all things warm and rousing: being inspired to greatness, setting a glorious example, shining our own individual, unique light — believing in our worth. The Sun is euphoric, unselfconscious, gleeful delight at being alive, something we tragically forget to pack in our bags when we depart childhood. The Sun and Leo are reminders that we are, every one of us, young and old, made of this same infinite, vital light.


At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is

— T. S. Eliot, from Burnt Norton, The Four Quartets



Stages of the lunar eclipse, plus moonset times for major US cities. Credit: NASA

Who Gets To See this "Super Blue Blood" Moon?

Over the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, Alaska, the Western Canadian Yukon, New Zealand, most of Australia and Indonesia, eastern Asia will be able to piccatch the lunar eclipse from start to finish. Viewers on the North American west coast can see the early stages of the eclipse through the entire total phase (the Moon will set while the final "penumbral" eclipse is still in progress). Here the eclipse will begin at 3:48 am PST, with totality starting at 4:51 am. The best viewing will be between 5-6 am. In the North American Central and Mountain time zones at least part of the total phase can be seen. (If you are not in the above mentioned areas, check at Time and Date to see if the eclipse is viewable from your neck of the woods.)

At 5:30 am EST on the morning of the eclipse, a live feed will be offered on NASA TV and NASA Live.

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The lovely photo of the stained glass lights striking the labyrinth at the beginning of this article was taken at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and from this blog and the larger photo of Grace Cathdral's interior and the full labyrinth is from this SF tourism site.

Howell, Alice O. Jungian Symbolism in Astrology. AFA, Tempe, AZ, 1987.

The painting of Ceres (1901) is the work of American painter Alice Pike Barney, 1857-1931.

Eliot, T.S. Four Quartets. New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1943.

Here's the text for Eliot's Four Quartets from which the above excerpt was taken (Burnt Norton).

Eckhart Tolle: Free Yourself from Your Ego Armor

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