Traditional astrological lore holds that the influence of an eclipse is strongest on those who are in its path. The Leo solar (New Moon) eclipse of August 21, 2017 has been given the tag “The Great American Eclipse” because the path of totality for this eclipse runs from the west coast to the east coast through 14 contiguous states.
Additionally, the chart of the eclipse itself is remarkably tied in a variety of ways to the chart of Donald Trump. Given that traditional astrological lore also states that Leo eclipses portend the “fall of kings”, it seems that our country is in for some drama (a notable characteristic of Leo). Personally, I believe that Donald Trump, just like any other human being, can take the energy of the eclipse and use it for positive, helpful change, should he intend that. But someone who is so quick to blame others is unlikely to even attempt to work with the energy consciously, and so is more likely to be vulnerable to external events. The eclipse itself is also in opposition to the USA’s natal Moon, representing the people. Conflict is going to be hard to avoid.
One thing we can be sure of with eclipses is that they bring change, and an eclipse in Leo brings the need for personal reflection, and appreciation of others in all their diversity. This is true for us as individuals, as well as for the country. Let’s look at how this chart will affect us on an individual level first.
The chart of this eclipse will be in effect for many months to come. Think of it as a tide, not a single event. How it affects each of us personally will depend on our individual natal charts. But there are some general influences we’ll all be working with, to one degree or another.
(I know you hear "it depends on your natal chart" from me a lot, and I’ve finally found an inexpensive ($20) computerized report I like that will help you figure out just how some of these events might affect you personally. You can read more about it and purchase it here.)
The chart strongly emphasizes the element of Fire — so strongly that it would be helpful to do some kind of focused meditative/magical work over the next few months to contain this fiery energy, and direct it towards growth and inspiration. Think along the lines of the fires of Burning Man — spectacular, ritualized, transformative, but nonetheless carefully managed and contained.
We’ll have plenty of inspiration to work with, but some of us may get carried away with enthusiasm — or anger. Both are very much in the air. So is transformation, and it will help to keep in mind that sometimes, when you’re in the middle of a transformative event, things can get pretty scary. But Fire also brings us the courage to do what needs to be done in spite of our fears.
We can find that courage in our spiritual convictions and our connections with the gods, ancestors, spirits, and/or archetypes that we work with. Make some time to sit at your altar and connect with your personal guidance, because there’s a “Look, Ma, no hands!” vibe about this eclipse that suggests things can get out of control quickly. Some psychological preparation and bit of spiritual help steering can help you keep the bike under control while you’re zipping along.
You might also want to work on balancing Fire with Water. Feelings can get trampled in fiery enthusiasms, and relationships are on notice in this chart. Make sure you know which ones you value, which ones drain you, and act accordingly.
Leo is the sign the eclipse falls in, and it’s worth considering some of the deeper meanings of this sign. Primarily, it is about the creative expression of the individual, and you might want to consider how you express your own creative impulses. There is no question that our culture tends to repress our individual expression starting at an early age and continuing through adulthood. We are urged to “fit in”, to “get with the program”. There is nothing wrong with being a cog in a larger wheel — society needs cooperation and teamwork to give us all a way of life that extends beyond mere survival. But none of us are only the part that clicks into its place in the overall functioning of society. We are — each and every one of us — a unique, creative portion of a larger Consciousness, of All That Is. This tremendously creative Consciousness, the Source of our physical world, leads us ever onward to new possibilities and ways of being, and we help decide where that journey takes us.
As individuals we all influence, to one degree or another, the direction we follow, individually and as a society. Our influence is increased as we come to see how external demands and cultural assumptions have shaped us and repressed our self-expression. As we know ourselves more, we are better able to discern what we believe, what we want, and take action to make it happen. Now, as adults, we can explore our inner selves, remove some of the painful, restrictive beliefs we’ve been saddled with, and expand further into our greater Self.
As we move further into the dark time of the year (the months between Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice), the time of turning inward, it would be helpful to explore how you can express yourself more authentically and creatively. This is a good time to honor yourself, and, in doing so, discover more of who you are and who you want to be. Build this intent into your daily routine through a small ritual or affirmation or meditation.
Exploring our Shadow is all well and good, and definitely has its place in the work we need to be doing. But honoring the fact that you are doing the work, that you are working to improve and change, that you are a conscious and creative part of All That Is, is a crucial step to being able to deal with the Shadow. That business of learning to love yourself before you can fully love others? True, dat. And no, loving yourself is not about getting caught up in ego, as I discussed in this post about last month’s New Moon. In fact, if ego is running the show, you can be sure authentic self-love is nowhere to be found.
Whatever spiritual/magical/meditative work you do that strengthens the Self while improving your abilities of connection and compassion is work for the times we are in. If you don’t have a spiritual practice of some kind, consider developing one.
On the National Stage
This whole business of figuring out who we really are underneath societal expectations and cultural memes applies to the country as a whole as well. The USA needs to answer the question of who we are as a people, and answer it clearly. It’s important for each individual to think about this and speak up in one way or another.
If you would like a magical/meditative practice to help with this, my friend HecateDemeter has been writing a wonderful series of posts called “The Magical Battle of America”. They are meditations based on the work of Dion Fortune during WWII, which you can read more about in Fortune’s book “The Magical Battle of Britain”. I’ve put up a list of these posts in chronological order here.
Politically, we can expect some major firestorms. The interactions of this eclipse chart with Donald Trump’s natal chart are stunning, and, when cast for the USA, suggests tremendous legal and religious dramas on a national level. Relations with foreign countries are emphasized, but I think that cooler heads will prevail. Identity politics are not going away. “Truthiness” is rampant.
(Astrologers: Cast the chart for August 21, 2017, Washington, DC, 2:31 pm EDT. 4 degrees Sagittarius rising. Note the 9th house prominence — legalities, religion, foreign relations, and philosophy, with Sagittarius rising further emphasizing those areas. Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius and natural ruler of the 9th, is in a wide but still influential grand cross with Pluto, Uranus and Venus, as well as a tight approaching sextile with Saturn. The New Moon is in a tight trine with Uranus, and Saturn makes it a wide Grand Trine in Fire. [Remember that trines mean an easy flow of energy, not necessarily a beneficial one. ] Neptune and Mercury in opposition, both strong in their own signs and ruling the MC/IC axis. Whew! Yeah, it’s an intense chart. )
It’s an intense time that requires your focus and attention to navigate. But it’s also a time in which we have the ability to create profound change for the better, if we do the work our soul calls us to do. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which offers some good advice:
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” ~ Frederick Buechner