I’ve always had a special reverence for the moon, a lifelong infatuation handed down to me by my mother. The Moon is an ancient symbol of the mother, both literally and in a broader, conceptual sense. As a little girl, I was always excited to look up at the sky and find what we called a “fingernail moon" — my mom’s favorite phase, and the one that I was born under. I didn’t understand or follow the cyclical waxing and waning of the moon, so it always felt like a wonderful surprise to see a tiny crescent slicing through the heavens.
The moon is that which nurtures us. It is the sources of comfort and safety that we draw our energy from. It doesn’t so much fuel us (that’s Mars) as it fills our spiritual cups. This is no easy feat; an ask that big inevitably entails encounters with the subconscious, with dreams, with secrets and sorrows. In order to glow, the moon channels and reflects the light that the rest of the solar system revolves around. It takes the sun and suffuses its rays into a gentler, closer source of light. This is similar to the moon’s emotional significance in our lives.
By studying its role in our lives, we can use the moon's reflective surface to find light where there would otherwise be darkness.
An eclipse magnifies these forces even more. The total Lunar eclipse in Leo on January 31, 2018, is asking us to do the hard work of examining our shadows, digging deep into our hearts, and looking for answers we can only give to ourselves. The moon nurtures us by knowing us, for better and for worse — and like the best maternal figures in our lives, loves us through it all.
As the nurturer and guardian, the moon is an excellent framework to use when engaging in self-care. But self-care is emotional as well as physical. It requires us to do the hard work of knowing what wounds it seeks to heal. If self-care is meant to help us love and nurture ourselves, we need to be able to identify what needs nurturing.
Deep, lasting self-care requires us to ask a lot of difficult questions of ourselves. The eclipse embodies this lunar duality so well, offering both tough love and tender security. Read the horoscope for your moon sign in addition to your Sun if you know it (feel free to email me if you’d like to know more about your moon sign, or enter your birth info here).
These horoscopes are meant to mirror that beautifully brutal juxtaposition. They encourage you to have an honest conversation with your own heart, but they also provide suggestions for restorative acts of self-compassion. Mother yourself. You deserve it.
There is something you have to offer the world that you’ve been letting gather dust. Maybe it’s been there for so long that you’ve forgotten about it entirely. Aquarians are revolutionaries, but they sometimes struggle to turn that innovative, altruistic energy inward. What revolution is your heart waiting to fight for? What do you need to step-up and claim for you and you alone? Take some time during the eclipse to ask yourself what you’re meant to share with your world, so that when the limelight does come your way — and it will — you’ll be ready for it.
The sun is in your sign: on top of the usual New Year renewals, you’ve also got a birthday thrown in the mix, which many people think of as a sort of New Year for their individual bodies. Notice the delicate balance the winter season creates — a delicacy that is also sturdy and resilient. Snowflakes brew together to make ice storms; birds and monarchs use their fragile wings to travel vast distances in search of the sun. Remember that your life cycle is a part of this balance: beautiful, tenuous, vibrant, and able to weather all the seasonal storms thrown your way.
There’s always a lot going on with you behind-the-scenes, but an eclipse in Leo brings things center stage. Your introspective nature can be challenging to communicate to others, but it can also be tricky to communicate to yourself. Some emotions feel too big for words, but it’s absolutely vital that you seek them out anyway. One of the best ways to do this is to reach out to someone you love and trust to talk through your experiences with them. Now is the time to do just that. Don’t hold your cards so close to your heart; you never know who might be willing to trade you for a winning hand.
But don’t forget also to heed the counsel you find from solitude. Write about what you’re working on in a journal or even a notes app. Alone or with others, the message is clear: concretizing and verbalizing that which weighs heavily on you will more than just lighten your load. It will move you from the shadows and into a show-stopping central role worthy of standing ovations.
It’s time to rock the boat. You’re good at this already, but some things require sustained, persistent resistance on a grand scale. Politically, we’re in an age where white supremacy, racism, sexism, homophobia, and hate, in general, are becoming increasingly visible and violent. It is important for everyone to resist, but there are different ways in which we each best enact that resistance. This eclipse has you in your element: fire. You may feel an initial spark of passion for challenging your personal status quo demons, but the hard work lies in building that fire up. Feed it kindling that burns long and slow. No matter how thrilling a splash of gasoline is at first, it needs something sturdy to hold onto.
This isn’t something to do on your own. Without support, community, and cooperation, this blazing resistance is not sustainable. Seek out those who’ll help you do the hard work, especially people who’ll stick around to treat any burns you incur along the way.
There is a strong urge to hide from or obstruct a series of new revelations about yourself; fight it. “Revelation” is the key word here — there is something holy about this work of excavating the deepest parts of the self, the things that have been hidden or buried too long. Without these precious gems of truth, you will not be able to fully commit yourself to the creative endeavors and fulfilling relationships that come your way. Though these truths might seem like too much to comprehend, there’s something important they’re trying to tell you. Keep listening.
With the big internal shifts happening as a result of this deep introspection, consider pampering your body — the part of you that deals with the external world — with something new to restore balance. It could be as simple as a new lipstick or a haircut, or even rearranging your living space. Add a new source of beauty to your life, something that jumps out and captures your heart whenever you look at it.
If you hesitate to seize the things you want most, they very well might pass you by. What are the fears and beliefs that hold you back from your desires? If we don’t engage ourselves with the tension between our deepest fears and our loftiest dreams, the tether that connects them will snap, leaving both incomplete and unrealized. You cannot have dreams without also experiencing the fear of those dreams not coming true. We fear for that which we value. The most important things to us are also the things that scare the absolute shit out of us. Mastering this delicate balance between fear and aspiration is what gives us the drive to succeed. Too much fear and we are paralyzed — often so much so that we are unable to remember what it was we were aspiring toward. Too much dreaming and we become unmoored from the reality that we hope to give those dreams.
If you’re looking for inspiration, read a biography of someone you greatly admire and pay special attention to their fears — including the ones they failed to conquer in their lifetime. Remind yourself that at one point they, too, wondered how they would ever be able to accomplish what they wanted to. Take comfort in their moments of foolishness, hubris, and diversion. The dreams of our lives are a lot like the dreams of our sleep in this way: neither are linear.
This eclipse is practically at your doorstep. Cancer rules the moon, but this lunar eclipse is also decidedly solar, occurring in your neighboring sign, Leo. The sun and moon make a powerful pair: the illuminated and the hidden, individualism and connectivity, masculine and feminine. When these two forces come together, one word, in particular, comes to mind: transcendence. Question that which you feel sure of — what appears to be a binary is often more like a duality. Fire and water are opposites, but they are also the two elements that humans learned to harness and shape into entire civilizations. What will you build with your own flawed and perfect contradictions?
Take time to appreciate all that you value, be it material, physical, or spiritual. Commit to surrounding yourself with these things, to creating an environment of preciousness that can cocoon you as you do the hard work of transforming and transcending.
When was the last time you looked inward? With so much going on in your external life — and so many of your most effective motivators being externally-oriented — it’s easy to overlook the abstract, the internal, the quietly vibrant and vital. This eclipse is in your sign; it’s urging you to harness the moon’s nurturing and introspective qualities to ask yourself hard questions. The moon’s light is a reflection of your natal planet, the sun. But where the sun shines, the moon glows. What can you do to amplify that inner glow in your own life? What orbiting bodies can be illuminated by your light, and how do they reflect that light back your way? What subtler, more abstract positions of authority or leadership could you best inhabit? For answers to the last question, pay special attention to close friendships and collectives to which you belong.
Care for yourself by listening to your inner child. If five-year-old you showed up alone on your doorstep the night of the eclipse, how would you treat them? How would you make them feel welcome, loved, and nurtured? What wounds would you find and treat? Do that for yourself — the moon is also the Mother, and you could use a little more of your own maternal attention and energy. Cultivate a practice of basking in your glow without using any external forms of validation or encouragement. Just be. Don’t excel, don’t perform — just exist. That’s all the sun ever does, and here we are, circling it just the same.
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The best antidote for restlessness is taking action. Baby steps are not enough — you need to go big or go home. And even if you do go home, there’s an eclipse going on next door. There’s no avoiding life itself, and sometimes life requires us to make a power move. Now is not the time for convention or even caution. Aim far, aim wide, aim true. But what are you aiming for? That’s a question only you can answer.
Refuel yourself by revisiting a childhood favorite, be it food, a movie, a book, a video game — even a particular memory. Not for the comfort of nostalgia (though that’s always a nice bonus), but for the sense of stability a familiar favorite can provide. When we make a significant shift, it can be hard to find our footing without something we recognize to ground us. Eclipses ask us to let go so that we might take on something new, but that doesn’t mean we need to abandon everything we hold dear. We need to clear out what is not useful so that we can move on to what will help us grow, but there’s nothing wrong with carrying a totem to remind you of what makes it all matter.
Sometimes we have to fight for peace. All the diplomacy in the world can’t move an impassioned opponent; the only thing that can do that is an equal and opposite passion of your own. Maybe a better question than ‘What is worth fighting for?’ would be ‘What are the things that you cannot surrender?’ We cannot please everyone around us all the time and at the same time be our authentic selves. To fully inhabit your life, you have to accept that you will make people unhappy. There will be people who do not like you. There might even be people who hate you for merely living your truth. That doesn’t make it any less true. Don’t negotiate for what you need; take it. It is already yours.
It can be difficult to choose your own adventure when you’re so used to someone setting up the narrative for you. But life is so much better when you live it on your own terms, even if it takes you a little while to discover what those terms even are. You’ll get there. And you won’t need anyone else to tell you when you’ve made it.
Have you ever gone to pull up a fairly benign looking plant only to find it stuck in the ground so deep that you have to grab a trowel and try digging it out bit by bit? How about one that won’t even budge after that? It’s torturous work, and after long enough, it starts to feel like an exercise in futility. The plant seems fused to the earth, as immovable as stone. When you finally pull it out, the culprit is clear: roots. A massive tangle of underground branches, far larger than the plant attached to them. And even though your work feels finished, you’d better get back down in that dirt and make sure your ripping and tearing didn’t leave any fragments of root behind. If you don’t get it all, the plant could grow back rooted even deeper in the ground. You have to be brutal yet precise — just as you must be when you find similar plants growing in your mind.
Much of what we consider our “problems” are actually symptoms of a central and rooted source of pain or unhappiness. If we focus only on mitigating the symptoms rather than digging and uprooting the network of trauma that bore them, we will never be able to banish the source of our pain fully. We won’t be able to plant the things that help us flourish. You do well down in the depths, examining the parts of yourself most people would prefer to ignore. But there are bits of root that you still need to find and take care of. Only then can the seeds of hope you’ve been keeping safe in your pocket find fertile ground. Plant them as soon as you can — spring is coming soon.
There are ways in which wounds can ultimately expand and enrich our lives. The thing that we thought would break us eventually ends up making us stronger and bolder, if only so that we can survive the breaking in the first place. This isn’t some of that “Everything happens for a reason!” bullshit — it’s just the warm, bright truth of the matter. When a marine volcano erupts, magma pours from the earth’s wounds like blood. It is destructive and toxic, but eventually, it cools. Waves crash over it, time passes by, and sometimes, after a long, long while, it cools long enough to touch. The magma that was hidden deep within the earth rises and becomes new land. Birds stop to rest, and algae creep along the new shoreline. It is slow and difficult work, but there is something new and miraculous at the end of it.
The only way to find out what new and miraculous things might spring forth from your own wounds is to heal them. This is not something that can be rushed; this requires patience and compassion and persistence. None of those are easy things to give to ourselves, but we need them — especially when we have been hurt. There is no glory in suffering, but there is a wealth of meaning and opportunity to be found in the process of healing from that suffering. Give yourself the space to do that. Let your magma cool and coalesce. Who knows? You might capture a molten bubble at just the right moment and find yourself with a gemstone you never knew you could create.
There’s a lot of mental and emotional clutter to sort through, but at the end of it, there will be clarity. Clarity is not poetic or pretty, but it is still pretty goddamn important. Clarity is preceded by honesty — most importantly, honesty with ourselves. Brains are tricky, squishy things. They absorb our traumas and hurts and to-do lists so well that a lot of the time we hardly notice. Which makes it very easy for our minds to hide things from us, things that might be inconvenient or even downright dangerous. It’s a survival mechanism, but it can persist even when the danger has passed. Survival morphs into suppression, fear, suffocation. If you don’t take stock and clean house, you can end up buried alongside all our darkest parts.
This eclipse is asking you to come into the light. This light can easily be too much, too bright, too fast. This is not the time to leap into the molten hot core of your trauma; maybe use a little of it as a reading light at first. Then use some of its heat to prepare yourself a meal. Get comfortable with your discomfort. This is not fast work, and it requires lots of rest throughout. But it’s time to start doing it.