Eclipse Season: Bringing the shadow to light
This year the month of October ushers in eclipse season. In astrological terms, eclipses bring powerful events. They are markers of change.
Eclipses are literally defined as the total or partial obscuring of one celestial body by another. In the process of an eclipse, the Sun or the Moon creates a shadow, symbolically bringing night into day. Eclipses are powerfully symbolic of the alignment of our inner and outer world and are associated with the shadow.
In many ways, this brings to mind the ‘sacred marriage of the Sun and Moon (the light of the day and the light of the night astrologically) which in alchemical terms, is the symbol of the Conjunctio or the Heiros Gamos. This is a stage in the alchemical process where the higher and the lower meet, the physical and the spiritual worlds work as one.
This is the essence of what Carl Jung meant when he said “Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate. “ One of the two fathers of modern psychology Jung, over time, came to see the psyche as an inherently spiritual and fluid place, an ocean that could be fished for enlightenment and healing. In the shadows of our inner world these treasures lie but they are also reflected in our outer experience.
Eclipse season aligns with the path of the nodes of the Moon and as the nodes change signs so do the eclipses. October 14th’s solar eclipse at 21 degrees of Libra is our second this year along the Aries/Libra axis and October 28th’s Lunar eclipse at 5 degrees of Scorpio is the last series of Taurus/Scorpio eclipses that won’t return until 2031.
The entrance of both Aries and Libra seasons begins with the equinoxes as day and night, light and dark, are equally balanced. One way of thinking about the polarity of Aries and Libra is to see it as the dance between self (Aries) and other(Libra), independence(Aries), and compromise(Libra).
I am stretching a bit here as the houses within a chart are different from the signs, but metaphorically this could also be viewed through the lens of the 1st and 7th house in a chart. The first house represents ourselves and the 7th others. I am using this because in Psychological Astrology the 7th house also is known as the house of projection and the shadow. It is the house of the abandoned self. These parts of ourselves that we disown or deny we project onto others. This can show up in the form of some behavior that always triggers us in another person to something we have an innate talent for but didn’t receive a lot of praise for and thus discarded. As an example, in The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron refers to shadow artists, those who love artists and often end up representing them but are terrified of this part of themselves because of the vulnerability it engenders. As she points out renowned film Director Francois Truffaut was once a film critic who rather wryly said and I am paraphrasing here: All critics are blocked filmmakers.
My favorite way to work with astrology is to use it as a tool for personal development. In the case of eclipses, they offer the opportunity to work with our own shadow. To practice accepting the part of ourselves that we are unconsciously rejecting. Shadow work can be uncomfortable but I promise you it is freeing. In alchemical terms, this is how we turn lead into gold.
Robert Bly said, “Every part of our personality we do not love will become hostile to us.”
So much of our energy is wrapped up in avoiding our very selves, essentially hiding in the shadows.
During eclipses, we have the opportunity to identify our shadow. Subsequently, we can stop projecting it onto the world around us, and own and accept it as part of ourselves. I promise you the more you willingly explore your inner world the more your experience of the outer world transforms.
While shadow work is sometimes uncomfortable, it is also a gift. So much human energy is wrapped up in avoiding, projecting, and hiding our shadows. When we integrate pieces of our shadow, we reclaim that energy. It is part of our own life force that is simply waiting for us in the dark of our unconscious to bring it into the light.
Over the next month, during this eclipse season, I invite you to consciously work to connect with your unconscious, your “night” self. There are numerous ways to begin. Keeping a dream journal is a fantastic way to start. It doesn’t matter if you only remember glimpses, one of the most powerful things you can do is to simply ask yourself What was the primary feeling I experienced in my dream? That alone can connect you to this uncharted territory within and serve as a leaping-off point, From there you can journal asking yourself where you have experienced a similar feeling within your conscious “day” life. If you are experiencing an uncomfortable pattern, for example, a discomfort or sense of alienation in how those around you are treating you perhaps look at how you habitually treat/speak to yourself within your inner dialogue.
Eclipse season is a time when we are reminded that we are both light and shadow and that in the complexity of ourselves, there is room for all the different parts of us, all of what makes us who we are.