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Palm Coast, FL, March, 2007

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Ruins of Delos, from the late Helenistic era of Greece, as seen in spring 2005. Photo by Eric Francis.
Ruins of Delos, from the late Hellenistic era of Greece, as seen in spring 2005. Photo by Eric Francis.

Under a Changing Sky
By Eric Francis

WE ARE in the last moments of the astrological year. The Sun is now at the end of Pisces, heading for Aries, which will be preceded by a partial solar eclipse on Sunday. An eclipse at equinox, though it seems to be a simple coincidence, is really the simultaneous alignment of several different solar and lunar cycles.

Consider the structure for a moment. The Sun, in the last degrees of the annual cycle, is met by the Moon, completing one trip through the zodiac. Even an ordinary New Moon at the Equinox would be interesting, but this is a New Moon where the Sun is partially obscured by the Moon. We could say that for a moment, we're aware that unconscious forces represented by the Moon and Pisces dominate the conscious, active, heroic ones represented by the Sun.

This will feel different for everyone paying attention, from deep and emotional to exciting and dynamic. For others, they may be able to look back and notice that their life crossed a natural crease in the landscape of time. The symbolism of an eclipse in Pisces right at the end of the solar cycle is, in any event, strongly suggestive of completions and of the invocation of a new phase of life. Since we are aware of it, we can use it.

The eclipse is conjunct Ceres, formerly the largest asteroid, now the nearest dwarf planet. Ceres represents the nexus of emotional process and nourishment. The two are closely related; emotions and the gastrointestinal tract are closely related. Both are also enmeshed with the whole discussion of boundaries, since to be emotionally healthy we need boundaries and the intestines represent a boundary through which the body absorbs nutrients.

At the moment of the eclipse, Ceres is closely square Pluto, suggesting that there is some intense inner working out of grief, alienation and emotional longing that is one step removed from our relationships. But the results of this process will soon enough be available to work with. The Ceres-Pluto square is part of a collection of major and minor planets in Sagittarius and Pisces that are square one another.

Eclipses (or lunations of any kind) while the Sun is at an angle (such as at equinox or solstice) have at times arrived with extreme or dramatic results, though currently we're in an extended phase of such astronomical events during a time in history when no matter how weird something is, it seems like just the next weird thing. So we live with a perceptual distortion that makes it difficult to sort out the background from the foreground, and to distinguish events that are significant from those that are less so. The same may be true in our personal lives, though this is often the case.

This week's conjunction of Mars and Chiron emphasizes the point. All conjunctions are the endings and beginnings of cycles. Mars almost always represents action, self-assertion and the willingness to confront life and change the world. Chiron balances that energy with an introspective quality, social awareness, and the focus of intention, but is at the same time another form of warrior energy. Chiron teaches, mentors, endures and negotiates, and Mars takes the learning of Chiron and puts it into action.

Mars in Aquarius will be doing a lot of that lately, as it soon sweeps through the Saturn-Neptune opposition before moving on to Pisces. This is a nearly simultaneous opposition of Saturn by Mars, then a conjunction to Neptune.  Venus is also about to enter Taurus and is now exactly trine Pluto in Sagittarius.

Mercury, for its part, re-enters Pisces on Saturday, March 18, less than a day before the eclipse. This has been an emotional Mercury retrograde for many people, though from what I have been learning over the years, these retrogrades never affect the whole population in a consistent way. Some people don't even notice; others have their lives turned upside down. That is Mercury for you. Over the next few weeks we will get a rather interesting journey of Mercury through Pisces, which will soon conjoin the North Node and Uranus in that sign.

In sum, we have many solar and lunar cycles changing over; we have the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus about to change signs; and we have Mars rather active in the sky, stirring up the will-to-change and making sure we pay attention to our environment, be it mental or physical.

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