We’re still in an eclipse season, with the Sun in Taurus, and on May 5 at 10:34 a.m. on the West Coast, the Moon will reach its full phase at 14° 58’ of Scorpio. This May lunation is called the Flower Moon. It’s early May, just after the cross-quarter holy day of Beltane, a time of balance, midway between the March equinox and the June solstice.
Taurus and Scorpio are two of the four fixed signs, in the earth and water elements, respectively. Taurus, ruled by Venus, loves beauty and beautiful things, seeks pleasure, comfort. and security. Scorpio, ruled by Mars, is probing and mysterious. It’s the kind of stable water found at the bottom of a dark lagoon: murky, fetid, like the compost on which life relies. The Taurus/Scorpio axis is regenerative.
An eclipse is a New or Full Moon close in degree to the Moon’s nodes, the invisible points where the Moon’s path around the Earth intersects with the Earth’s path around the Sun. The signs of the pair of lunar nodes change about every 18 months – they will shift from Taurus/Scorpio to Aries/Libra in July. The nodes of the Moon reflect both individual and collective destinies, meaning that the nodal shift to the Aries/Libra axis will shift our collective focus to issues of self and other.
At the Full Moon eclipse, Mercury will be in the midst of one of its periods of retrograde motion, having just passed through “the heart of the Sun” on May 1. Mercury in Taurus, ruled by Venus, is in what’s called a “mutual reception,” with Venus passing through Gemini, one of Mercury’s home signs. Mercury’s domain is thought, perception, communication, and networking. With the Scorpio Full Moon opposing Mercury on May 5, this is a time when unconscious emotions may reveal themselves in some communicable form. It’s a good time to journal or write a poem and ask yourself: what am I really thinking and feeling right now?
The Sun, at the time of the Full Moon eclipse, will be close to the midpoint between Mercury and Uranus, also in Taurus, suggesting that one’s thinking and speaking may take an unconventional tone. It’s also a good time to take care of one’s body and basic material-world needs. Pluto, having made its first foray into Aquarius, is squaring the Taurus/Scorpio lunar nodes, adding to the tension of the days leading up to the Full Moon.
The Full Moon in May is my favorite as it coincides with the most auspicious time of year in Buddhist cultures. Called Vesak Day, the Full Moon in May marks the day when Siddhartha Gautama was born, as a prince; the same day, as an adult, when he attained full enlightenment and became the Buddha; and the same day that he died in old age after a 40-year teaching career.
No one knows the exact date of the Buddha’s birth, attainment of nibbana, and death. But if we look to religious myth for its symbolism, then in terms of the western zodiac, the cycle of the Buddha’s life reflects the Taurus/Scorpio axis. Taurus, the second of the zodiacal signs, is about physical incarnation and survival. Scorpio represents psychological life and the capacity for transformation. Both signs are about the fleeting nature of what we experience as our “self.”
By determination in his ardent meditation practice, the would-be Buddha cracked through layers of mental confusion and conditioning. On the morning of his enlightenment, he declared his first realization:
“There is suffering.” Everyone seeks security, but there is really nothing to hold onto. The Buddha’s central insight is that we suffer not because we have desires—as many desires are quite wholesome—but because no matter how much we grasp at our perceived reality, we cannot evade the truth of impermanence.”
In the springtime lie the seeds of decay that will surely come in autumn. Wisdom is the intention to live in harmony with the truth that everything and everyone we love will one day be gone.
I write this now and dedicate this essay to my beloved dog Maggie, my best friend for ten years. She has arrived at the end of her short and magnificent life. She will live in my heart for the rest of mine.
I call to mind a verse from the Diamond Sutra, which captures the Buddha’s teaching on the beauty of reality:
Thus shall you think of this fleeting world: like a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lighting in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.“
Blessings for the Scorpio Full Moon eclipse!