A time of endings, and of shadows, as we face this October 18 lunar eclipse.
The Sun is in the latter degrees of Libra, the sign of the harvest—but what is harvest but the taking of life’s potential from the dying stalks of this year’s planting?
Libra, the sign of the group, the diplomat. Of marriage, of coming together to do tasks that one cannot accomplish alone—like the harvesting of crops. So much to do in so little time. Gather in the grain, pick the apples. Store them tight and dry against winter’s cold and hunger. Call the community together to labor so that all may be fed. Know that your work today in a neighbor’s field buys his labor tomorrow in yours.
But what if this coming together no longer serves? What if your community no longer fills your needs, is strangling the person whom you know you should become? What if you know it is best for you to lay down your scythe, pick up your bow and arrows, and walk alone into the forest? Or forge your plow into a sword?
That is Aries territory, the path of the lonely and the brave. Aries is little Bilbo Baggins bouncing down the Road without his handkerchief or any idea what dangers he would face. Just the knowledge that his snug hobbit hole might as well be a prison, and his placid neighbors his jailors. And our bright lovely moon is in Aries as the Earth’s shadow passes over her during this eclipse.
The dance of self and others—of civilization and its discontents. Jupiter is in Cancer, squaring the Sun-Moon opposition. Many of us might be asking whether the groups we are in truly nurture the self we want to be. Or whether we might actually be more secure walking alone. Or, perhaps we look for new groups to join after seasons of solitude, needing the joy being with others can bring.
For me, this eclipse is being felt in a couple ways. My sweetie and I continue to look at houses. We always knew we wanted a home that would have spaces for us to be together, and for us to be separate. Each of us has lived alone for several years. We know we will need privacy and autonomy. We want to nurture our private selves as well as our coupled selves. And lately, we’ve realized that we also want a home that has ample guest room. We have many friends and family members who live hours away by car or plane. We want to make space for them. “Guest Room” has gone from frill to necessity. And we’ve gone from individuals, to couple, to family.
Last month, I went to a weekend intensive to hone my ritual skills. The group sponsoring the weekend, The Grove, is carrying on the Reclaiming-based work developed at the Diana’s Grove retreat center. I attended many lovely weekends at that center in the Missouri Ozarks, then left for another spiritual journey which better suited my needs.
I have spent the past several years working with the on line study group which grew out of the two years of quarterly, in-person meetings I left to join. We have a goal of meeting once a year, but were unable to get together this past spring. I have missed the magical intensity of a group which is skilled in ecstatic ritual, and fired by energetic alignment. I have felt alone.
Last weekend, people I knew from Diana’s Grove and some I have met since worked with a portion of Joseph Campbell’s archetypal hero’s journey: the hero’s leaving of the enchanted land, and her return to the tribe to share the knowledge gained from the Gods, or the Fey, or the Ancestors. We created a ritual structure to honor this over lunch. We fleshed it out in afternoon meetings. We had a quiet dinner, then made magic in the firelight. And I was no longer alone.
This eclipse calls us to look to the ways in which we feed our groups, and our groups feed us. There’s plenty of planetary energy calling for the end of structures which no longer serve, for us to break free and go it alone if it’s necessary. Or maybe, to find a community when we least expect it.
The eclipse energy will resonate for the next six months or so. A door closes, a cycle ends. The beginning is there in the shadows.