The much-talked-about “super blue blood moon” is now two weeks behind us, its appearance heralded in the first eclipse of 2018. Feb. 15’s partial solar eclipse, though only visible in Argentina and parts of Antarctica, signals the close of eclipse season.
Eclipse season comes twice a year, roughly six months apart when the sun comes into the vicinity of the points where its orbit intersects with that of the moon. It is in the surrounding degrees that all eclipses take place. The points of intersection do not remain in the same position relative to the zodiac. They slowly rotate through the six polarities approximately every 19 years. Eclipses will occur in the same two signs for about 18 months at a time, offering four iterations of eclipses during that time period.
In astrological terms, the two points of intersection between the sun and moon’s orbit do not have the same significance. The moon’s orbit is inclined five degrees to the sun’s. The effect is that at one of the intersection points, the moon descends across the sun’s orbit (marking what is known as the “south node”), and ascends across the opposite point (the “north node”).
While there are several different interpretations within astrology as to the significance of these points, the north node generally represents the area of life that is ripe for growth and expansion, while the south node marks the area of restriction or purging.
We are currently experiencing eclipses in the Leo-Aquarius polarity, which began with the penumbral lunar eclipse in Leo on February 10, 2017. For this particular iteration, the north node is in Leo and the south node is in Aquarius. Leo represents the strength and joy of the authentic self and the present moment. Leo energy is warm, enthusiastic, and generous; it is willing to be in the spotlight and draw attention to itself.
Aquarius opposes Leo; symbolizing the greater good, the importance of the community over self, and the foregoing of present pleasure for future good. Both have their shadows. Leo can be self-dramatizing, indulgent, and bombastic. Aquarius can be aloof, head-in-the-clouds, and unwilling to connect with the people and causes immediately before them.
Each eighteen-month session of eclipses churns these polarized energies, inviting us to examine and make necessary adjustments. For example, the south node in Aquarius invites us to look at our role in the community and examine whether it is in alignment with our ideals.
Are we too aloof? Or maybe we are lost in dreams of the future and not addressing the issues of the present with the proper attention they deserve? The north node in Leo empowers us to take action on our beliefs and to be brave enough to stand for our authentic selves. The power of the Leonine heart paired with Aquarian humanitarianism could be the ideal balance of these two energies.
Thus far I have written about these energies on the collective level, but they can be deeply personal as well. In each individual’s birth chart (a circular map of the planets onto the zodiac at the moment of birth), the lunar nodes are also present. Wherever these nodes were located when an individual was born marks an axis of polarized energies that the individual may strive to bring into balance over an entire lifetime.
Often, the south node in an individual’s chart shows the area of life that the individual has a natural affinity for and comfort therein, while the north node indicates an area needing development and growth. For example, a person might be born with their south node in Libra and their north node in Aries. This person would have a natural ability to respond to and consider others in their daily lives, but struggle with making decisions on their own and knowing what’s best for them apart from the needs of others. As the nodes transition through the zodiac, they will place more or less emphasis on the need to balance different areas of the an individual’s life.
So what does this mean for the recent eclipses? It means that somewhere in your birth chart and in your life, certain areas and energies are churning and changing, possibly in surprising ways. These changes are part of a larger story that began a year ago and will continue to develop for some time yet. These eclipses merely herald the next six month chapter.
Whitney Will is a Carbondale native and student astrologer who holds a BA in the History of Math.