There’s currently a lot of hype surrounding the name of this eclipse – the ‘Blood Moon’ – it sounds very ghoulish, and makes a great headline. However, while it’s true that the Moon will turn red, this lunar eclipse will not look different to any other lunar eclipse.
So before we begin, it is probably good to dispel a few myths…
The fact is that every lunar eclipse turns the Moon a reddish hue. Astronomically, this is the result of the reflection of the earth, backlit by the sun, which is projected onto the surface of the Moon as it passes through the earth’s shadow. It’s colour is one of the reasons why the Babylonians (who ‘invented’ astrology) hated lunar eclipses, seeing them as a bad omen.
Longest in a century
However, that doesn’t mean that this eclipse isn’t special. For one thing, it promises to be one of the longest eclipses ever recorded, lasting around 103 minutes – just shy of the record which is 107 minutes. However, only those in western Australia will be able to witness it from start to finish. To find out more about visibility, scroll to the bottom of this page.
Red Moon + Red Planet
For another, it’ll occur at what astronomers call ‘opposition’ – that is, when the Sun, Moon, Earth and Mars all line up in a row. Although this form of opposition in itself isn’t that rare (it takes place every 2 years or so), it doesn’t often occur on the same night as a total lunar eclipse AND at a time when Mars is passing very close to the earth, making it much brighter than usual. In fact, the last time the red planet was this bright was back in 2003 when it came the closest it has ever been to the earth in 60,000 years.
So put together – a dark red Moon appearing in a line with an extra bright red planet, it’s easier to see why this eclipse might be considered a little bit special, and where it might have got its name from…
Astrology = Big Deal
Astrologically, though, this particular eclipse is a big deal!
In addition to its association with a very prominent Mars, it will also form part of a T-square with explosive Uranus AND take place a day after Mercury turns retrograde. It also occurs between two solar eclipses, which is rather unusual. You can see why this might lead to more than a spot of bother – and emotional overload!
As I explained in my July 2018 solar eclipse forecast, this eclipse is all about purging – coming to terms with, and then letting go of our shadow stuff – what weighs us down, keeps us stuck in unhealthy emotional patterns and self-destructive or addictive behaviours.
So although in the short-term, it’s likely to force us to confront a lot of difficult and challenging stuff, on the flip side, it also offers us an opportunity to make some radical changes to our lives – one that will set us free of emotional burdens and enable us to live in more authentic, meaningful, grounded and connected ways.
To understand the mechanics of this, read on…
This lunar eclipse picks up themes from the Supermoon eclipse series we experienced in January-March 2018, occurring in the same fixed signs of Leo-Aquarius, only this time in reverse. Instead of a Leo lunar eclipse, we have an Aquarius one – so, on the opposite end of the zodiacal spectrum, thus balancing things out a bit on the emotional and psychological front.
In terms of outer events, the Blood Moon eclipse is also likely to bring situations or events that began around the Aquarius solar eclipse in February to their climax or conclusion. Once again, another opportunity to bring things full circle.
Sandwiched between two solar eclipses, it also acts as a halfway point, giving a chance to process – and hopefully purge – some of the difficult emotional stuff that the Sun’s tour though Cancer has thrown up, especially around self-protection, self-nurturing, family dynamics, home and belonging. You can read through my Cancer eclipse forecast to remind yourself of likely themes.
The idea being that if you’re able to release some of that deep, watery, unconscious, touchy-feely stuff, you’ll feel lighter and more able to press the emotional reset button come August when a fresh six month cycle begins.
With five planets currently retrograde, the focus is very much inwards and what is happening for you psychologically and emotionally. It also points to the need to heal the wounds of the past if you are to move forward in a healthier, less burdened way.
Of course, it’s also likely that difficulties relating to Mars’ retrograde spell in Aquarius may crop up now, especially given the red planet’s starring role in this particular eclipse. Themes here are likely to revolve around unacknowledged hurt, unresolved anger or hidden aggression, so things like passive-aggressive behaviour, underhanded digs or even moral outrage, which can often spill over into self-righteousness and judgemental behaviour.
Given that the Moon is in Aquarius, this eclipse is also likely to carry themes around:
It is certainly echoed in the Sabian symbol for the degree of the Moon at this eclipse. More on that below.
This eclipse occurs at 5th degree of Aquarius-Leo.
The Sabian Symbol for this degree is:
The first thing this image conjures up for me is those wonderfully wise Native American elders whose quotes you see occasionally on social media posts, especially those warning of ecological disaster if we don’t get our act together as a race and start living more sustainably.
The ancestors are important to the spiritual practices and beliefs of many cultures too, particularly those that involve shamanism, and this also seems to be important somehow. I was so struck recently by these words from shaman and medicine man, Alberto Villodo, and I feel they have a great deal of resonance for the themes constellating at this particular blood moon.
“The person of power sits alone before the fire. He confronts his past. he hears the testimony of these spectres and he dismisses them, one by one. He acquits himself of his past.
The man of power has no past, no history that can claim him. he has cast aside his shadow and learned to walk in the snow without leaving tracks.”
Given how much this full moon seems to be about purging, this practice seems especially relevant right now. What do you need yo forgive yourself for? Who is it time to let go of?
Lynda Hill’s Sabian Oracle also offers up a few other keywords worth contemplating at this time:
Keywords: Inner knowledge. Instruction. Direct tap roots to deep sources of energy. Karmic connections with the past. The place one comes from. Ancient wisdom versus “old fogies”. Parents and grandparents. Families and family lineage. Proving bloodlines. Committees, boards and councils. Memories of those who’ve gone before. The Akashic records.
The Caution: Reliance on conservatism. Obsolete boards of authority. Not being able to move with the times. Needing the nod of approval from others to validate what one’s doing. Not being free to do what one wants. Having to please the elders in some way. Bound by family or past-life karma. Nagging negativity. Old fashioned views that limit expansion.
This eclipse forms part of the van den Berg series no. 124 – Brady does not cover Saros series information for lunar eclipses.
According to NASA:
Lunar eclipses of Saros 124 all occur at the Moon’s ascending node and the Moon moves southward with each eclipse. The series began with a penumbral eclipse near the northern edge of the penumbra on 1152 Aug 17. The series will end with a penumbral eclipse near the southern edge of the penumbra on 2450 Oct 21. The total duration of Saros series 124 is 1298.17 years
Last August we experienced a partial lunar eclipse in Aquarius, during which Mars made a conjunction to the Sun. This year, Mars will be 180 degrees from that position: conjunct the Moon and in opposition to the Sun. This will make it exceptionally bright because it will be reflecting the Sun’s rays.
With Mars so close to the earth and prominent in the night sky, it’s likely to be super potent, making this particular opposition more powerful than usual. When Mars opposes the Sun, and conjuncts the Moon, it can result in a selfish, me-first attitude, especially within relationship and domestic contexts.
However, I think it is important to consider that Mars is in Aquarius, and that together with the luminaries it will be making a T-square to revolutionary and uncompromising Uranus. The upshot: this energy around this particular event is likely to be highly volatile and explosive. Think emotional outbursts or fits of temper than come from nowhere.
However, we can’t neglect the social aspect of Aquarius and it’s ruler, Uranus – something that is echoed in the Sabian symbol for this eclipse.
This is Robin Hood energy – the warrior rebel, and given Uranus’ position in earthy Taurus, the causes this archetype may be predisposed to defend could well be connected to the environment, as well as financial and food security.
However, because of the difficult aspects involved, this could manifest as smug self-righteousness, a sense of moral superiority or indeed, someone who will stop at nothing, even terrorism, to get across their message, even if it is in the name of a good cause. So perhaps not the best time to get into an argument at a dinner party over political, ethical or religious topics – things may go more than a little pear-shaped!
And unlike autumn 2017, we won’t have benevolent Jupiter to ameliorate the situation or dilute what could rapidly descend into a very tense and volatile atmosphere. Just worth bearing in mind next time you are on social media and leaving comments about a contentious topic…
Remember to that Mercury also turns retrograde today (technically, it stationed yesterday), exponentially increasing the likelihood of misunderstandings. When in doubt then, opt for silence…
On an individual level, much will depend on where these planets all land in your natal chart, as this will determine what life areas that are most likely to be affected for you personally.
Traditionally, a Sun-Mars opposition tends to evoke a desire to impose your views on others, get your own way or alternatively, become defensive in anticipation of possible personal attack. With Mars is currently retrograde, this energy is far more likely to play out on a more internalized level. And while there’s no doubt that this is infinitely more preferable scenario to an outwardly directed – and afflicted Mars = increased violence, harmful accidents and verbal aggression, it can still potentially lead to problems. For example, self-harm is a distinct possibility with this placement, as is a propensity for increased irritability, over-hasty judgements and meanness towards anyone in your immediate vicinity.
So how can one flip such a bum lot of astrological circumstances from a positive to a negative?
First of all, when it comes to T-squares the astrological rule of thumb is to look at the opposite zodiacal position to that of planet sitting at the nub of the triangle – in this case, Uranus at 2 degrees of Taurus. While there is no planet located directly opposite Uranus, if we look to the Sabian symbol of the opposite sign – the 3rd degree of Scorpio – we get an interesting message: “A house raising.” This is all about community spirit and a ‘many hands make lighter work’ mentality. Once again highlighting the idea of people coming together to relieve burdens and help each other out. Is it time you put your pride aside (very Sun in Leo) and asked for assistance?
So on the positive side, this could mean fining positive ways to channel the Uranian need for personal freedom and/or societal reform into community-based projects or through group efforts.
The Caution: Taking advantage of group generosity. Refusing group endeavors. Bickering over who does what. Not trusting people’s input. Shutting off from others.
But what about the dark side of this? After all, we do have to bear in mind that Mars is with the Moon, and both are orbiting close to the south node. The south nod,e or Dragon’s Tail, is all about what we need to release or let go of – where we become too comfortable and get stuck. So although it is generally considered a good thing to channel your inner Pollyanna and be a good sport, it may be that in certain instances, it isn’t always healthy. This is the tension between individuality and group dynamics, between Sun in Leo and Moon in Aquarius. And let’s face it, Moon energy can be very tribal and not always that rational, even in a detached sign like Aquarius.
For example, are you always a team player? If so, the dark side of this tendency could mean that you’re afraid to shine your light too brightly in case somebody criticises you or cuts you down. Alternatively, could it be because you’re terrified of responsibility? Very often, people who are team players aren’t considered leadership material because they’re often less obviously charismatic and aren’t as quick to toot their own horns, which in some circumstances, is necessary. So if you keep getting overlooked, it may be worth stopping to consider if why this might be…
Of course, so much depends on your natal placements that is hard to give examples that will apply to everybody. So if you are taking strain around the eclipse, and can’t quite figure out why, then it might be a good idea to book a reading or go and talk to someone.
Chiron – A Chance for Healing
The one redeeming feature of this particular event, in terms of transits, is a trine between the Sun and Chiron. This offers us a ray of hope that any conflicts or difficulties which arise now have the potential to facilitate personal healing.
Chiron is an asteroid that orbits between Saturn and Uranus. Named after Kheiron of Greek mythology, it represents the archetype of the wise healer or teacher who was once wounded himself. Astrologically then, Chiron symbolizes what in us may be damaged and in need of healing. It encourages a heroic outlook and the desire to be the best possible version of yourself – so a strong call to growth and therapeutic self-regeneration. Positioned in Mars-ruled Aries, it suggests a need to heal a fear of self-assertion, overcome the damage caused by a physical head wound or brain injury, or issues around being the best, speaking out first or initiating.
If we consider this in relation to the Sun in Leo, then it suggests a need to find a way to allow yourself to shine more in the world, use your unique gifts to inspire or contribute to society, or help others come to terms with their own pain. Sometimes the way to do this is by becoming a role model, mentor or just simply being the best person you can be.
After all, in the words of Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birthday was celebrated recently:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Sadly, this eclipse will only be visible from east Africa, the Middle East, India, westernmost tip of China and Western Australia. North America and Greenland will not see it at all.
Although the best views of it will be in Asia, Western Australia and the Middle East, people in the UK will be able to view it at moonrise, which is just before 8pm BST. The eclipse will already be in full swing, so it will rise in the south-east already a dark red colour. Coupled with the fact that it will appear with an exceptionally bright Mars (the red planet will be almost as close as it was to earth in 2003), it should be a pretty spectacular sight.
This lunar eclipse will also be exceptional for its length – totality will last almost 1 hour and 45 minutes, making it the longest eclipse of this century, and very close to breaking current the record of 107 minutes for the longest lunar eclipse of all time.
Although the Moon will be in Apogee, which is the opposite of a Supermoon, it will sit very low on the horizon, which helps to create an optical illusion that makes it appear larger than usual, which should also make for a very special sight.
To learn more about the astronomy of a lunar eclipse visit, the NASA website.
During the last two centuries, this group of lunar eclipses (known as Van Den Berg Saros series 129) previously occurred in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964, 1982 and 2000 and will not take place again until August 2036.