The Moon, Lunar Nodes and Eclipses

We are entering eclipse season.   Eclipses occur approximately twice a year, generally in pairs, but sometimes in threes.  There will be a annular solar eclipse on October 14. Eclipses tend to fascinate the popular culture as well as astrologers. This is a good time to talk about the moon, the lunar nodes and eclipses, and what they mean astrologically.

Ancient Hellenistic astrologers, called the Sun and Moon “the ruler of one’s all”. According to the ancient Greeks, the Earth was a sphere at the center of the universe. Above it were seven spheres, each one ruled by a planet.  Beyond that there was an eighth sphere of the fixed stars.  Beyond the fixed stars, was the realm of the infinite. Ancient Greek philosophers understood the soul as the divine part of the human mind. The Sun serves as a direct link to the divine, and it is through the Sun that the divine intention, for the individual is most clearly indicated.  Prior to incarnation, the soul, lived out beyond the stars, and was part of “the all”. When the soul incarnated, it left the realm of the infinite, and passed through the sphere of the fixed stars until it encountered the spheres of the planets. Each planet was responsible for all of the energies and attributes associated with that sphere. As the soul encountered each sphere, it picked up the attributes of that planet.  The Moon is the sphere closest to the Earth. It consists of a mixture of the four elements: fire, earth, air and water.  The Moon transmitted, the influences of the divine celestial bodies to the terrestrial realm. Thus the Moon, the body nearest to the Earth was considered to have the closest connection to the human body, and consequently to matters of health and physical manifestation. It serves as the final link in the chain between celestial and terrestrial. It receives the vital, fiery energy of the sun and, via reflection, focuses it on the Earth. From an Astrological perspective, the moon signifies how the divine intention represented by the Sun can find physical actualization in a human body, and then be applied to the affairs of daily life and worldly existence.

The moon represents the realm of fortune and the embodied physical universe. In addition, it represents the constant fluctuations, changes, and the daily flow of events and the constant changing of our environments: our moods, our emotions, the thoughts in our mind, our body and our circumstances. The moon has always had a long-standing correlation to our emotional lives. More broadly,  the moon has to do with the flow of life itself, the great feminine metaphysical principle, life itself as a fluid changing dynamic. The Moon is like a river just moving along, never the same twice, encapsulating all of the fluctuations that we experience, which range from body, mind, circumstance, and mood.

The Moon also has topical significations. It represents how we nurture and feel nurtured. Throughout the history of astrology, the Moon has represented the body, mothers, women, home and family, ancestry, tribe, village, clan, and culture. It is associated with memory, habits and intuitive/psychic abilities.

Lunar Nodes: The nodes of the moon are points in space, not physical bodies.  They are the points in space where the plane of the moon’s orbit intersects the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the sun around the Earth. The ascending or north node marks, the point where the path of the moon crosses the ecliptic from south to north latitude. The descending, or south node, is where the path where the moon crosses the ecliptic from north to south latitude. Symbolically, the north node represents energies that are being made manifest, and the south node represents energies that are leaving manifestation.The lunar nodes are always 180° apart, and across from one another. The north and south nodes function as a polar axis rather than independently. They travel backwards relative to the motion of the planets, and spend approximately 18 months in a sign axis.  During that 18 months, the individual as well as society collectively is faced with issues described by those two signs for the past 18 months the lunar nodes were in Taurus and Scorpio.  Collectively, we were faced with decisions about our values and use of resources.  Over the summer,  the lunar nodes switched into the Aries/Libra axis. This means for the next 18 months, we will be wrestling with issues that relate to the balance between personal empowerment and growth versus how to relate to others. Eclipses are special version of new and full moons.  If a new moon or full moon occurs close to the lunar nodes, (usually within about 15°), we experience an eclipse. A solar eclipse happens on the new moon. A new moon occurs when the sun and moon are in conjunction. If they conjoin very close to the lunar nodes, the moon will actually obscure the sun. If the moon totally blocks the sun, it is a total solar eclipse. If the moon partially blocks the sun, it is a partial solar eclipse. The eclipse on October 14 will be an annular eclipse. This means the moon will mostly block the sun, but there will be a small ring of fire around the moon, because the moon is further away from earth than normal and thus appears smaller from our perspective. The symbolism of the solar eclipse is also tied to the node. The solar eclipse on October 14 will occur in Libra right next to the south node. Symbolically, eclipses, signify times of change. The new moon can be thought of as a new cycle, a new seed planting.The south node symbolizes energy that is dissipating.  It’s a time to reflect on what needs to be released in order to plant something new. It is asking us: Is there some style of relating that needs to be released in order to fully express your individuality? Or possibly,”Is it time to leave the group and venture out on your own”?

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