By Eric Francis and Kirsti Melto
Full Moon in Pisces — Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007, 10:35 UT
THE AUGUST FULL MOON is a total lunar eclipse on the North Node and falls at 4+ degrees of the sensitive water sign Pisces — the last sign of the zodiac. This will be followed on Sep. 11 by a partial eclipse of the Sun in Virgo. There remains one more eclipse along the Virgo/Pisces axis — a total lunar eclipse on Feb. 20, very close in degrees to Monday’s. From this point on, the eclipses move to the Leo/Aquarius axis for about the next 18 months.
One dominant theme of this eclipse is about family relationships: the model we inherit from our parents, and which goes back about three generations. This is a theme of the minor planet Pholus (a centaur planet, much like Chiron), which is prominent in this chart.
Pholus speaks of an emotional release; a release from those models, and into a new reality — sometimes with breathtaking speed. It is the Centaur or rapid transformations. Its keynote is, “Small cause, big effect.” Other planets and asteroids only emphasize the same theme. But the D-words associated with Neptune — denial and drugs — come in as strong themes as well. The chart cautions us not to take the wrong path, as there are two major options and a branching of the road indicated. You could say that one branch goes toward the past, and the other goes toward a future that is different from the past.
Whether visible in your area or not, eclipses are usually experienced as high-intensity events that seem to draw us through a vortex.
They come with a surge of energy that we can either ride like a sailboat in a good wind, or get shocked by, sometimes both. The key to eclipses is to work with a high level of awareness, pay attention and make your choices as consciously as possible. In the season of eclipses, get ready to shift gears, to go to a new level or to have some other kind of break in continuity. Time seems to accelerate; events arrive with more significance; the impact of our choices is magnified.
If you take conscious steps, you will be directed more closely onto your true life path. Notably, this eclipse falls with a few days of a sign-change by Saturn (about to enter Virgo on Sept. 2). So there is a great deal of emphasis on the Virgo/Pisces axis at the moment.
Pisces is traditionally considered the realm of dreams and fantasies, but more holistically, it is the realm of the imagination. Pisces at its best knows no limits. Everyone has Pisces in their chart, as well as its associated planets, Jupiter and Neptune, so everyone is affected by this eclipse somewhere, somehow. It is also true that eclipses are among the most collective of astrological events — they affect people in large groups, and also reach us profoundly on an individual level.
The Moon disappearing for a few moments in this sign is like a veil being pulled back, or a doorway opening, that leads to another realm of possibilities. Too often, we look around us and we see the past. We expect people to act like they acted in the past, and we expect them, moreover, to fill the roles established by our family of origin. This eclipse reminds us that something else is possible.
The Realm of Imagination
Because it is associated with the imagination, it is also the sign associated with deception, denial and altered-state experiences of any kind. Many things hinge on the Pisces factor, particularly on how vigilant we are about this odd human psychological thing called denial — pretending that something is not so or does not exist.
A crucial Pisces factor is also about the influence of drink and drugs in families, and how this impacted the ability of you and the people around you to tell the truth about how you feel, or to have that truth be heard.
This eclipse could be a moment of total transparency, when you see through the veils of the world, discover the truth about yourself or someone else, and open a portal to much greater possibilities than you ever thought possible. The only way to do that is to live your truth boldly, and to step away from the things you were told about yourself when you were younger that are not true.
Pisces, symbolized by a fish, is the symbol of the Age of Pisces, that is, the 2000-year historic era that is in theory associated with Jesus and his teachings; one symbol of Christianity is the fish, and at its best, Christianity is the religion of unconditional love, arriving with the Piscean theme, “We are all one.”
Pisces is often depicted with two fish swimming in opposite directions, attached to one another. The zodiac ends with an image that polar opposites are inseparable. Like many signs, it is dualistic in nature, but in this form the dualism suggests the inseparable nature of seeming opposites.
Yet an eclipse in Pisces, particularly in aspect to Pholus, is the release from something, and into something else; it is a transition within the sphere of what we think is possible, and what we will admit is possible — one of the key factors that either limits humans, or sets them free from their limits.
Mutable Grand Cross
The Sun-Moon opposition (which always occurs at a Full Moon or lunar eclipse) forms a mutable Grand Cross with the centaur planet Pholus at 3+ degrees Sagittarius and the main belt asteroid Dionysus at 5+ degrees Gemini. Both of these small worlds possess similar themes, of emotional or psychic release, altered states or rapid transformation. Both Dionysus and Pholus are (astrologically) cousins of Neptune, though they also have an energetic intensity that is similar to Pluto and Chiron.
According to Greek mythology, the centaur (half man, half horse) Pholus had in his possession a jar of wine, which was a gift from Dionysus and common property of all the Centaurs. Pholus had kept the wine safe for three generations. Then Heracles, the great hero, visited Pholus one day and asked for some wine. Pholus, who was supposed to guard the wine, yielded to the pressure of this famous warrior in his presence and opened the jar. Other centaurs in the neighborhood became intoxicated with the smell. The result of it was a huge riot and chaos.
Pholus points to multigenerational issues. It tells us what we have taken on from our grandparents and great grandparents, including matters involving addiction and sacrifice.
Pholus has a way of making fast or even instantaneous transitions and healing processes whereas Chiron tends to makes slow ones. It’s as if Pholus says: “Three generations? That’s enough! You figured it out! Now you’re free!”
Free from what? Pholus squares the Sun and Moon of the eclipse, suggesting we can free ourselves of both the Mother and Father complexes — how we drag our parents around inside us for most of our lives.
Pholus recently stationed direct at 3+ degrees Sagittarius on Aug. 15 after a retrogradation period of five months, so it is slow and powerful in the visionary sign Sagittarius.
Dionysus, opposite Pholus in the chart, is the ancient Greek god of wine, fertility and ecstasy. He was depicted as a young and attractive man, wearing a crown made of vine leaves and grapes and holding a staff. He was also known as the Liberator. He traveled from land to land, taught people the art of making wine and spread drunken ecstasy everywhere he went. He was followed by singing, noisy and wild revelers, many of them women. Peak experiences and pushing things past the limits are attributes of Dionysus and in spite of the strong Neptunian association he can be rather associated with Pluto.
Remember that Dionysus is also associated with Pluto, the god of progress and evolution. It was Richard Tarnas who first referenced this association, most recently in his book Cosmos & Psyche. He references the intense ecstatic experiences of the 1960s, when Uranus and Pluto were in a conjunction. If you want a modern image of Dionysus, he said recently, think of Mick Jagger — pushing everything and everyone to the edge.
Jagger and many of his Sixties counterculture leaders were the cause of much dissent in families and helped symbolize the “generation gap” that characterized that era of history so clearly.
Also of Note: Other Asteroids
Asteroid Pandora in Virgo squares Pluto on the Galactic Core. The energy of Pandora resembles that of Pholus: a sudden release; the opening of something (a box, rather than a jar); and the irrevocable changes associated with that opening.
Pluto is sextiled (60 degree aspect, of balance and harmony) by four objects in conjunction in Libra, namely centaur Chariklo, and the asteroids Juno, Bacchus and Hidalgo. This quadruple conjunction partly repeats the same kind of energies that the members of the grand cross pattern in this chart represent. Roman Bacchus is equivalent to Greek Dionysus, with themes connected to Neptune.
Hidalgo is a complex asteroid dealing with themes of rebelling against hypocrisy. Hidalgo speaks to the perplexing hypocrisies presented to us by culture, the ones we have to swallow every day and are often humiliated in so doing. Hidalgo is about our response to absurd social hypocrisies, whether or not we revolt against them, and how we do it. This is a major factor in many families, where the “culture” of the families makes certain behaviors and ideas automatically unacceptable, inviting younger people to rebel against them by one means or another.
Chariklo is a centaur planet discovered in 1997. The orbit of Chariklo crosses that of Uranus, making her a highly charged factor for rebellion, like her mythical husband Chiron. Astrologically she is about compassion and emotional connection.
Juno is the third asteroid ever discovered (1804). In Roman mythology she is the wife of Jupiter and the queen of the gods. She could also throw lightning bolts like Jupiter, and was known for her jealousy (not just of Jupiter and his many love affairs, but in many other instances). Astrologically, Juno represents the institution of marriage, partnership dynamics, fidelity and jealousy.
The theme of Juno, so dominant in so many families, where parents are jealous of one another, and often of their own children, is a meaningful point to meditate on. Does jealousy really serve us? What is its purpose, and what is its origin? Is it worth the fuss, and does it persist in the world because we are so attached to it?
Chariklo and Hidalgo, sharing space in Libra with Juno, offer other perspectives: keep a balanced mind; meet jealousy with compassion; and perhaps consider some innovative way to rebel against this oppressive mental phenomenon by raising awareness if you are in pain. We can do better than we have in the past — and there is another way.