Partial solar eclipse in Capricorn

 
Just so you know, there's a space that only you can fill. (1).png
 

When I was younger I used to love to be in plays. I loved the excitement of waiting in the wings before the show started. I loved listening to the buzz of the arriving audience. One of the crew members would give us updates. “I saw your Mom and Dad!” “It’s packed!” “We had to add extra chairs.” So much of the overall production was out of our hands. Would the props work? The lighting and sound? Would my partner remember the dance sequence? Even after months of practice I was never sure I was ready. Would my voice crack? Would I forget a line? Would I fall? When the curtains opened it was always an act of bravery and trust for us to perform, because we really didn’t know how we would do or how the audience would receive us. We just tried our best.

I like the symbolism of curtains closing and opening for an eclipse, especially tied in with the new moon symbolism of beginning in darkness. If the sun in astrology represents us, today’s partial solar eclipse blocks our ability to see ourselves fully. So what might we be missing about our own potential right now? What part of us is trying to get our attention, that might be different from the self we’re used to? It’s terrifying to have most of our ego stripped away. But what does that make space for? What was always waiting in darkness or is ready to be seen now?

Saturn and Pluto are conjunct this solar eclipse in Capricorn, bringing up issues of age, excellence, achievement, and solitude, but also control. How much control feels safe for us? How do we over- or under- control? What have we steadily planned for, worked for, built? What’s important to us? And when the unexpected happens, when our hearts are broken in disappointment, what steadies us? What really matters and keeps us going?

I’m carrying the excitement of a beginning with me this new moon/solar eclipse but also the seriousness of Capricorn/Pluto/Saturn, because in some area of our lives the stakes are high. We might be overwhelmed or defeated or terrified. But all of our effort and all of our experience counts in ways we might not understand yet. And when we show up something powerful and unseen swells with love and pride, and marvels. And I hope we do, too.

The jarring Aries full moon: Growing -- and speaking -- up

The new moon that began this cycle symbolized the Virgo ideal: The worldly connecting us to the holy, like Barbara Brown Taylor's metaphor of laundry as prayer flag. Some part of our home base and identity takes on a level of higher meaning and becomes sacred through attention and ritual. But Virgo, as it seeks and reaches perfection, is a mutable sign. We never really stay “there”, or “there” changes.

And… so must we. This week's Aries full moon is revealing what’s no longer working as is through tension, passion, and conflict. It carries the energy of wanting to break out or break away – to shake free of complacency. Exploration. Fight. Flight. The Libra sun is rebalancing the scales somewhat. What truly fits or is fair now?

When I was growing up, the Thursday night NBC line-up was a big deal in our house. As New Yorkers in a large family The Cosby Show felt like watching ourselves: The doting husband, the sassy Mom, the occasional songs and choreographed dances. Eleven years ago, as Lang and I were about to start our own family, a Cosby Show marathon on the maternity room TV helped us relax, and even laugh, through some of my labor.

Yesterday Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison for drugging and sexually assaulting women.

Whenever Libra is involved, the paradox of two truths plays a role, and that’s a big message of Monday's full moon. It’s true that I'm nostalgic about The Cosby Show. It’s true that I stand with survivors of sexual abuse. But Saturn in Capricorn was the apex of that t-square between the Libra sun and full Aries moon. Now that I’m an adult, which truth is more important? And are they really equal?

I noticed that Lyndon is starting that walk-half-a-block-ahead-of-your-mother phase. He’s using teenaged phrases like, “Whatever”— but softly, carefully — like the first time you say a word in a foreign language. I’m usually the one forging ahead: the coach. But at this stage Lyndon is learning boldness, directness, and independence, and I’m learning a more supportive role, and often a more worried one: Will he look both ways when he crosses the street? Will he hug me for a full five seconds? The other morning as I automatically straightened out the waistband of his sweatpants, it dawned on me: I really should ask before I do that. It’s a matter of respect I simply never considered before.

Whether we’re learning to be more assertive or more cooperative – or both – this week can be emotionally tense and jarring, as we realize we need to draw or accept new boundaries, as we take on new patterns of being and relating.

Some behaviors are no longer appropriate. And some have never been appropriate, but now our eyes are open. The Aries full moon reminds us: Take an honest look before deciding something's sacred or even simply fine as-is. For all of us on some level, it's time for a change.

We're accountable in a way we haven't been before.

Before Virgo leaves....

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The sun in Virgo can be a fretful experience. Ruling Virgo is speedy Mercury, noticing everything, drawing our attention to this or that. It can be hard to feel settled. There are just so many coulds and shoulds — a never-ending to-do or to-improve list.

The yearbook photographer has taken up shop these last two days in the faculty/staff room in my school. Every time we initial the sign-in sheet or grab a cup of coffee, we're confronted with just how much we hate our own pictures. Those of us who especially despised last year’s picture have a chance to retake it, awkwardly, in front of everyone in the room. Often, the new one is no better. We borrow hair products from each other or try to make each other smile, but pretty much everyone I see walks away with the same reaction: It is what it is. Maybe use last year’s, after all.

Yesterday I couldn’t bring myself to eat lunch in the faculty lounge. I went to the quiet, dark chapel instead, and cried. I didn’t even know why I was crying. A colleague walked in, and sat in her own pew. When I passed her to leave I noticed she was crying, too.

On the stairs leading to the chapel hangs this picture of St. Clare.

Virgo season can remind us almost cruelly how life, and we, are less than perfect. That's not Virgo's intent, any more than it's the yearbook photographer's intent to make us all feel gross. But anything that's not-quite-right has gotten our attention and by now maybe somehow deflated us.

Tonight Mercury and the sun will be at the same degree in Virgo. In some way we need to attend to a new vision of ourselves. The astrological symbol of the sun is a dot surrounded by a circle -- the seed of potential within a vast and greater whole.

Tomorrow Mercury will change signs to Libra, and the next day, the sun will, too.

My frizzy hair and failings, your fill-in-the-blank. Before the mirror of eternity — even as we are right now — I hope we can see beauty and find peace.

The invisible comes to light: sun opposite Neptune

Today the sun in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces.

Oppositions can symbolize outside forces or what we project onto others and the sun represents our evolving selves. Neptune on some level represents both letting in and letting go.

The other day Lyndon was upset because one step in the video game he was creating wasn’t working. He wanted to give up. I watched Lang ask questions and explore solutions with him. I saw Lyndon reluctantly absorb some positivity and perspective. He went back to his game peppier and more hopeful, and I was relieved, until I saw how depleted Lang had become from the interaction.

Lyndon and I do this: When something goes wrong, we want to throw in the towel. We both have the sun and Neptune joined in our charts, and we start with a perfect dream in our heads. And then we feel doomed and defeated if we hit a snag or a problem. It’s so disappointing and overwhelming that we want to give up the dream completely. What’s the point? Who even cares? We do, and we’re crushed, but when that feeling comes we just want to give up.

And often Lang rides in to help us. So we give him our bad mood, and our litany of complaints, and he helps us break things down into achievable steps. He helps us see the positive. And I don’t know how often, but at least sometimes, we forget to thank him. I’m going on 17 years in this pattern. He loves me and he believes in me, and so he naturally helps and boosts me up. But because he loves me, it takes an emotional toll. How would it feel for both of us if he didn’t always have to help?

We were born to be fluid, but we get stuck in roles: The victim, the savior.

Today we’ll get flooded with images, and they can help us see which side of the coin we might be on in different areas of our life. Try not to let the new knowledge depress you. We can always make adjustments. Today will just open our eyes.

If you’d like, set an intention to rebalance yourself or an important relationship, so you can stop being stuck in one role.

 

When you can see what you really need to do: Gemini moon square Virgo sun

The moon is in the mutable air sign of Gemini and the sun is in the mutable earth sign of Virgo. At 10:37 p.m. EDT they’ll square each other. A square is a tense aspect that can prod us to resolution.

A Gemini moon can represent a mood of distraction – jumping from one thing to another, the eternal child or student never maturing or taking the reins to teach. That’s not a knock on Geminis. That’s an energy we all have inside us, represented by today’s Gemini moon. If we’ve been avoiding a commitment that would actually be good for us, that’s the tension in today’s sky: Hey, focus. It doesn’t mean we won’t have other options. It just means it’s time to come forward in one specific way. In a sense we’re trading some freedom for some agency, picking what’s more important to us.

Virgo can represent that part of us that always finds something the matter. It can also be the part of us that takes on a subservient role. It feels good to solve a problem or help someone. But taken to an extreme, Virgo can become invisible, either because we don’t think we measure up or because we think someone else’s needs are more important than ours.

Gemini and Virgo can collude: Don’t come forward in this one way because someone else can do it better. Or keep doing this hard thing for someone who doesn’t appreciate it because that’s easier than speaking up. Make sure you really worry.

If we resemble those statements, the tension in the sky could nag us today. It’s time to let some of that go.

The blessing of the mutable signs is that they remind us that nothing is permanent. Time is fluid and so are we. If we’ve been stuck in a way of thinking or behaving, today can remind us that there’s more to explore. We all have resources. We have options and skills. We're surrounded by creative solutions.

Gemini and Virgo are both ruled by Mercury, the planet of noticing and sharing, by our words or by what we do.

Today our restlessness can reveal what needs adjustment. The quarter moon forces some resolution of last month’s Leo new moon. We had something to say and do then, that might not have been obvious to us yet. Today it can come to us in a whisper or a shout.

Goodbye for now to the Leo sun

"A man eats on a bench" : New York Historical Society, Getty images

"A man eats on a bench" : New York Historical Society, Getty images

The sun will change signs from Leo to Virgo tonight just after midnight EDT. The personal drive shifts from who am I to what can I do?

Hopefully we’ve gotten a healthy glimpse of our own worthiness. Hopefully we’ve followed the instinct or intentionally opted to create, play, take up some space, and love. One day this month while Lyndon was away, Lang and I went to the beach instead of the supermarket, and that was a middle-aged Leo victory for us. We chose fun. Another night we double-dated with my parents. My Mom stage-whispered inappropriate comments into my ear to make me laugh like she used to by dancing in public. Those Leo moments were perfect. I wanted to freeze them in time.

Others were harder, as I struggled to know who I was and what I wanted to say. I felt an inner drive for impact – am I making the most of my talents, my life or this summer? I could sense more power but I didn’t always know how to direct it. Is it enough to just sit here and notice how great Lang is – or my mail deliverer, or that celebrity, or the lady who talked to me on the F train last night – and how great I am, too?

I think it can be. I think some of Leo homework is to let that sink in: a compliment, joy – being impressed or satisfied: The lion, confident and at rest. But after a long day at the beach we can get a little tired of the sun.

So on this last Leo day, fill up your cup somehow. Relish a moment or another being. Take stock of what’s great about you.

Tomorrow, even if you've needed or loved this Leo time of being, start to see what you're ready to do.

Venus in Gemini with a Saturn Overtone: The Thinker

 
The Thinker , Auguste Rodin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Today Venus enters exciting, expressive Gemini, where it will be until May 19th. How can we bring a beginner's mind of openness, curiosity and flexibility to our relationships, to our own wellbeing, and to what we create? Why is now a good time for it? 

Crucially, it will energize us. While the sun is in Taurus, Taurus's ruling planet, Venus, holds a key to accessing our life force and well, shine. Opening our minds and our senses will be tied to feeling the power and brilliance of our sun and the steady, comforting peace and strength of Taurus. But getting to that peace and strength will take some different and possibly challenging strategies until May 13th.  

Why? From May 13th - 19th, Venus and Mercury, the planet that rules Gemini, will be in each other’s signs – Venus in Gemini and Mercury in Taurus – so symbolically they can excite and support each other in a positive feedback loop that in turn energizes the sun. But before then, in true Gemini fashion, we'll be bouncing around a Venus trail that leads to Saturn, and Saturn's not the fun and airy ending that Gemini might have had in mind. (Astro jargon background: Until May 13th, Mercury in Aries “disposits” Venus in Gemini, Mars in Capricorn disposits Mercury, and Saturn in Capricorn disposits Mars, making Saturn the Final Dispositor.) So although Venus in Gemini is about being open to variety, newness, fascination, learning, movement, and change in love, inner peace, and art, the symbolism of Saturn in Capricorn adds an editing quality to the Venus: a careful planning and consideration. What’s truly important to say to another person or to express in your art in this moment? How can maturity, patience, integrity and wisdom inform the beginner's mind? How do experiences of personal struggle, loss, and grief shape the love you can give to yourself and to others? Can they empower and embolden you, steady and inform you but not scare you, control you, or entirely define you? Can you leave some lines blank? 

Saturn's connection with Venus until May 13th reminds us that what we express in love and art lasts – in a hug, a kind word, a letter, a creation. And that can be frightening and intimidating. You may be tempted to stop yourself before you even begin. And so give yourself time and solitude to sort through what you take in every day and what you want to express. Organize and set goals if that helps. But in the next few weeks challenge yourself out of your comfort zone a little, too. Try your best to move, explore, and grow incrementally -- as a parent, a partner, a relative, an artist, a friend. The highest expression of this Venus transit will be to open yourself in fascination to all that's still left to learn, and to share with others — simply, profoundly – who you are right now and what you have to say.