Following the April 30 New Moon eclipse in Taurus, we have a Full Moon eclipse a little over two weeks later, late on May 15, with the Moon exactly full at 9:14 p.m. on the West Coast. The eclipse of the Moon will be visible in much of North and South America, parts of Europe and Africa, and it will be lengthy, about 85 minutes. With the Sun still in Taurus and the Moon in its opposite sign, Scorpio, and much closer to the Moon’s nodes, this will be a total lunar eclipse. This Blood Moon will look like red earth.
As opposites, Taurus and Scorpio both have to do with what we have and need. Taurus is our fixed earth sign and is more worldly. It’s about what we earn and accumulate, and all the pleasures that come from having stuff. Scorpio has more to do with things disintegrating, losses, and the necessity of having to reconfigure and put things back together. Scorpio symbolizes transformation. Whereas the Moon is said to be exalted, or comfortable, in the sign of Taurus, this is not so with a Scorpio Moon. Scorpio’s imperative is to dive deep, to investigate, to keep on shedding skin.
At this lunation, the closest aspect is the one made by transiting Saturn, in Aquarius, squaring the Sun and Moon and the lunar nodes. Squares are aspects of dynamic friction, which is necessary for any kind of growth. But it is not always pleasant, to say the least.
Until telescopes were invented, Saturn was the furthest out of the known planets. Saturn is about limitations, endings, and it is associated with deaths.
Squares present something that gets in our way, but we must accommodate because we can’t get rid of it. Saturn’s current square to the lunar nodes is a transit, distinct from a square in a person’s natal chart which is life-long. But Saturn squaring the nodes right now makes this particular Full Moon eclipse especially tense. Something difficult is being illuminated for the whole of humanity. I think I say that frequently. It’s one of the keynotes of the times we’re in, and at junctures, for all times.
Saturn squaring the Moon’s nodes on a personal level suggests the possibility of being stuck in old habits. How can we break out?
There’s a clue offered by Aries, the sign of taking fierce, initiatory action. From May 2 to 29, Venus, the planet symbolizing what we love and value, is in Aries. At the time of the May 15/16 lunar eclipse, Venus in Aries will be conjoined with Chiron, the small planetary body named for the mythical centaur called the “wounded healer.” In myth, Chiron was accidentally wounded and could neither heal, nor could he die, as he was an immortal god. But then he did die when he sacrificed his own immortality in an exchange that freed Prometheus, the god who stole fire and gave it to humanity as an eternal gift.
Aries is the sign of the Warrior, which has archetypal meaning beyond physical violence, though that’s part of it. Aries asks: what are you willing to fight for? Aries is guided by the planet Mars which also guides the Scorpio Full Moon.
Just days before the lunar eclipse, on May 11, Jupiter changes signs and enters Aries as well. Jupiter, the Great Magnifier, is the opener of doors of opportunity, including our own journeys to find what is meaningful and true. Later in the month, on May 24, Mars, too, will arrive at home in Aries. All at once, Chriron, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and briefly the Moon, will be in Aries, in the wake of the Scorpio eclipse.
If ever there were a time to take bold action, this will be it.
But toward what end?
Everyone has their own desires and projects that could use an infusion of the energy of fire. Is that all there is for us to seek, our own fulfillment?
I’ve recently reviewed a book by shamanic teacher Evelyn Rysdyk called Shamanic Creativity. She emphasizes that creativity is more than something we want for ourselves, to be a better artist. Creativity is a collective phenomenon. Now more than ever, we need individuals to heighten their innovative thoughts and actions as a counterweight to the destructive forces that are killing our planet. By raising the level of individual creativity, together we might have a chance.
I mention every year at this time that the Full Moon in May is sacred to practicing Buddhists and throughout Buddhist cultures. The Full Moon in May, called Vesak day, commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and parinibbana (final enlightenment and passing away) of Siddhartha Gautama, the prince who became an Enlightened One. Siddhartha pursued a path of meditation, Scorpionic self-inquiry and renunciation — not renunciation of all desires per se, but renunciation of attachments to particular outcomes — with the vigor of an Aries Warrior. His ardent practice under a bodhi tree was met with the Grace that allowed him to see reality clearly, as it is, that everything is impermanent and that all beings experience suffering. His journey was not for his sake alone, bur rather to forge a path for the cessation of suffering.
During an eclipse, the Earth blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon, making the Moon look red. Similarly, our own earthly quandaries are beautiful and awesome, even as they obscure — for a time –our own clear seeing. Then the light comes again, revealed, and full.
Blessings for the Scorpio Full Moon eclipse and Vesak Day!