Art: “The Nemean Lion” by John Martineau
Wednesday, Jan 31 at 5:30am PST
This full moon is a blue moon, supermoon and total lunar eclipse – holy shit! (Blue moon means two full moons in one calendar month – this one is extra cool because it’s the first time in 150 years that the blue moon is a total lunar eclipse. It is also the third supermoon in a row. A supermoon can be a full moon or new moon, occurring when the moon is at perigee or within 90% of perigee [the point at which the moon is nearest to the earth in her monthly orbit]. The supermoon on Jan 1 was the closest full moon of 2018.) The internet is calling this a “super blue blood moon”…badass. It is also known as the Full Snow Moon. On full moons, Luna rises at sunset, peaks at midnight and sets at sunrise. When the sun goes down, this is our cue to head outside and gaze profoundly at the moon as she rises majestically beyond the horizon.
In your mind, see the earth sandwiched between the moon and the sun; this is the planetary configuration at each month’s full moon. (Earthsky.org has incredibly helpful astronomical information – check it out for more details on where and when you can see this eclipse, as well as the difference between solar, lunar, “partial” and “full” eclipses). Draw an imaginary line from the center of the earth beyond the sun, and directly “behind” the sun we find the constellation of Aquarius. Draw a line through the moon, and we find Leo the lion. Whenever the earth hangs between two planets – be they sun, moon or any of the other planets – we have an astronomical/astrological “opposition.” Every opposition naturally occurs in constellations which lie directly opposite one another. Oppositions are polar, dual. The supermoon lunar eclipse in Leo is an examination of the Leo-Aquarius polarity, and all the ways in which these archetypes both complement and antagonize one another.
Leo emanates from the heart chakra and rules identity and self-expression. At worst, Leo is proud, forceful, blinded by ego. Leo is pure fire – think melodrama, unchecked passion and reactivity. The lion has trouble venturing beyond the confines of himself. He’s got ego issues because this is precisely how he creates and maintains reality: from the inside out, radiating from the center of his heart. Though he would never admit it, Aquarius, too, is a passionate preacher, especially when it comes to social justice, and thoroughly convinced that his visions will single-handedly revolutionize the world. The truth is that they are equally self-assured and hellishly obstinate. Indeed, the insalubrious Aquarian is no different from Leo. If he feels that his freedom is threatened, Aquarius is merciless, hallmark altruism rapidly replaced by dark shades of anger disguised as logic/objectivity/intellectualization.
Here’s where I stop and clear something up: Leo teaches that once we love ourselves and appreciate who we are, then we have endless fuel to love other people and practice unprecedented generosity. That’s really what Leo is about, or what the archetype aims to teach us. Together, Leo and Aquarius are agents of self-empowerment. If we consider that Leo is the first step, and Aquarius the final destination, the journey to self-love – the opening of the heart chakra inward – is prerequisite entrance to the Aquarian domain. Opening the heart chakra inward is deep work, often painful. It ends, however, in colossal celebration and orgiastic liberation. Judging by the difficulty of those first leonine steps, you’d never guess this to be the case, but it is!
What is the Aquarian domain, where are we going? Aquarius is our beloved rebel and nonconformist. He takes individual consciousness and weaves it upon the great cosmic loom. Threaded and pressed, our own color fades blissfully into the rainbow. Aquarius is synonymous with change and freedom.
Leo-Aquarius junctures are a unique marriage of the right and left brain. A dose of Aquarian rationale suffuses Leo’s heart, propelling us on journeys otherwise impossible. At this eclipse we draw clear boundaries between me and we. These are meant to be helpful, healthy boundaries, not self-isolating or exclusive. In drawing these boundaries, we free ourselves from people who have held us captive psychologically or emotionally. Aquarius evaporates these binds and bonds and tethers with a wink of his magic turquoise eyes.
Yes, we may seriously struggle to understand other people and judge them harshly due to the influence of fixed energy. Leo and Aquarius always need to be right. They not so quietly believe that only their knowledge/methods/prescriptions behoove the greater good. But if we can get over that, move beyond it, we bite into the juicy berry of self-love and self-expression, then roar up to the stars with newfound freedom in the heart.
The earth’s shadow consists of two parts. The shadow cast directly behind the earth is known as the umbra, and the fainter, fan-like shadow surrounding the umbra is called the penumbra. At penumbral eclipses, the moon often looks just as she always does – in other words, no dramatic, visible change in appearance during the eclipse. Penumbral eclipses are considered “partial,” while umbral eclipses provide a more classic eclipse experience, with the moon turning deep crimson. It is only at this time, when the moon falls behind the umbra, that an eclipse is considered “full.” Lucky for us, we get the real deal baby, total umbral eclipse.
Full moons are felt not just the day of, but for 2-3 days before and after. They heighten emotional and intuitive energy, such as women experience right before menstruation. All of this is greatly exacerbated by the fact that this is a supermoon, and perhaps it goes without saying that the Supermoon + Lunar Eclipse combo packs a serious punch. In the week following the eclipse, momentum gathers. Eclipses are potent seeds that unfold as the days pass. Take action on the eclipse, then wait for the full effects of your decision to manifest later in the week. Meditate on the solar eclipse from August 2017 to understand what we are facing now. Inculcation bursts in a tongue of starlight, and the lion stretches with self-satisfaction. Be fierce as fuck with Leo Yoga. To find your personal moon sign, click here.
Mantra: I express myself