Lunar Eclipse in Cancer 2020

January 10 2:21 PM EST

This is a powerhouse full moon eclipse that, like a sleeping baby, is best approached with tenderness- and trepidation. Cancer, after all, is the sign of the mother- the zodiac’s care giver, and we may be tapped to explore our resources and tendencies in the care-giving department this month.

There are several reasons this is such a monumental eclipse. First of all, the moon is in the signs of its rulership in Cancer, amplifying its powers. In other words, the moon is always strong when it is in Cancer- but especially when it is a full moon, and even more especially when it is a full moon eclipse. The moon in Cancer tends toward protection, caution, keen observational skills and sometimes all consuming emotions.

Another reason for the potency of the eclipse is the stack of planets in Capricorn, conjunct the sun and opposite the moon. The sun is always opposite the moon during a full moon (which is what makes it a full moon) but it is rare that the sun is part of a stellium of heavy hitting planets. In this case Saturn, Pluto and Mercury are all within 2 degrees of the sun. The sun is at 20 degrees of Capricorn exactly conjunct Mercury also at 20 degrees, and Saturn and Pluto are both at 22 Capricorn. Ceres, the asteroid related to seasons and agriculture is at 21 degrees. While I normally do not include Ceres in these charts, her symbolism is significant and interesting here and I will go into more detail about that shortly.

Just out of range of the sun/Mercury/Ceres/Saturn/Pluto is Jupiter, at 8 degrees of Capricorn, exactly conjunct the south node of the moon. Jupiter amplifies, indeed sometimes exaggerates, what it touches. So to be passing over the south node, representative of our past karma, seems a sign that our ‘bad habits’ may be blown up, blown out of proportion, or in some way catapulted to center stage. We may have to step up (sun), communicate (Mercury) and take accountability (Saturn) for our intentions and use of power (Pluto). And again these could be both present and past intentions and actions (south node). While this seems to have clear resonance on the global political stage, it is also possible in our personal lives that situations from the past could resurface now, for clarification and resolution. Or that bad habits we have been sweeping under the rug may need to be addressed.

This is, however, a north node eclipse,  meaning that the full moon is conjunct the north node, symbolizing our future path and karma- pointing our way towards the current moments’ possibilities and away from the past. This is indeed a very powerful opportunity for deep change, transformation and catharsis. But things will have to be ‘tended to’. Again, the Cancer moon nurtures, facilitates, coaxes, calms and prepares- rather than sitting idly by. The Cancer moon is the ideal salve on whatever drama may be stirred up, and we should be ready to move to action and mend situations as we are guided.

This brings me back to Ceres, the asteroid in the mix here at 21 degrees Capricorn. In mythology she is the mother of Persephone, who is abducted by Hades/Pluto and brought to the underworld. In grief, Ceres/Demeter, stops the crops from growing, leading to perpetual winter. Ultimately, an agreement is made between the three of them, and Persephone rejoins her mother for half of the year, which in turn becomes the spring/summer when crops again thrive. This is an all too brief exploration of this fascinating and complex myth, but it highlights important themes of seasonality, practicality, loss, and the real world consequences of our actions. It is especially ripe considering that Ceres and Pluto are also conjunct in this chart.

It is common in our modern culture to want to be ahead of the curve all the time, to push ourselves, sometimes to the brink of exhaustion or even ruin. The 24/7 pace of the technological world gives us the false impression that life is a green light all the time. But this is not in harmony with the natural law. In nature, there is both day and night. There is summer and winter, as well as the bridge seasons between them. There is the inhale and the exhale.The wisdom of nature is to know when and how to act or not act- to be in right timing. We have lost this gift, especially in the western world when we desire to continually grow, force and expand- and consequently praise and foster only these attributes and activities. Unfortunately, the price we pay for being out of synch, and our resulting unreasonable expectations, can be a high one.

The letdown can feel as cruel and cold as Persephone being jolted from the arms of her mother. We too may have to face a seeming loss, or transition, in our lives. But in many readings of the myth, Persephone herself chooses to stay with Pluto. What is unrealistic perhaps is a mother’s notion that her child should remain with her forever. As humans, our natural cycle is to leave the parental home and begin households of our own once we are adults. Clinging, cajoling, guilting, pressuring and emotional victimization are all lower vibrational behaviors of the Cancer moon. Watch for any tendencies to act this way, or behaviors that are complicit in supporting others in this. Instead, we are invited to develop healthier emotional expression and coping mechanisms.

So what exactly are we to do here? How is this Cancer full moon eclipse, opposed by Ceres/Pluto helping us to navigate our expectations of ourselves and others? By gently (hopefully) bringing us back to EARTH perhaps. Capricorn is after all, an earth sign, and we indeed have a very heavy influence on the earth element at this lunation. Earth reminds us of the practical, tangible results of our thoughts and actions. Like dye being poured into water (though rarely as visible), our every thought, action and intention has an energetic ripple that permeates our world. Sometimes it take us seeing the results of that explicitly to remind us that that process is happening, whether we can see it or not. That is very much a lesson of this time and the results may surprise us, especially given the exact conjunction of Pluto and Saturn just two days after the eclipse. I go into greater detail about that aspect in a separate post, but it is very much a staring role in this eclipse.

And since lunar eclipses have a period of influence up to several months, we can expect to be feeling the echoes of this eclipse until the next eclipse season begins in June. We are being asked to let go of old outmoded, unreasonable expectations- and perhaps the not too great results they have brought into our lives- and instead replace them with a new grounded purpose, no less visionary perhaps, but certainly healthier and more achievable. And one that is worthy of our dedicated, caring and nurturing hand.

*artwork by HHEININGE