Updated: Jun 21, 2020
Be shapeless, formless,
When you pour water in a cup,
it becomes the cup.
When you pour water in a bottle,
it becomes the bottle.
When you pour water in a teapot,
it becomes the teapot.
Water can flow
or it can crash.
Become like water, my friend.
The Cancer New Moon and "Ring of Fire" Solar Eclipse on June 21 at 2:41 am EDT takes place at 0 degrees Cancer just hours after the Summer Solstice and will be visible across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. This occurs as five planets are retrograde and Jupiter is moving towards its second exact conjunction with Pluto, creating one very powerful eclipse that emphasizes acts of care and nurturance.
The Eclipse is Aligned with the Fixed Star Betelgeuse in the Constellation of Orion
Orion, one of the largest and most recognizable constellations in the sky, was known to ancient Egyptians as Osiris, the god that died and was reborn every year with the annual flood. Like clockwork, on the heliacal rising of Orion/Osiris in the sky, the Nile flooded.
The Solar Eclipse speaks to a flood of cosmic energy that will inundate earthly life, washing away the old, and ushering in growth and aliveness. The Nile flood brought the silt and the clay that gave Egyptians all the raw material they needed to build homes, plant new crop, make pottery and provide for the abundance for the coming year. For us, we may see evidence of this in external circumstances such as a strong hurricane season, but ultimately the flood is felt through allowing our feelings to open pathways to nurturance. We may feel the flood as a compelling urge to nurture the areas associated with Cancer: safety, belonging, home and/or family as a way to harness and channel the life-giving energy of the inundation.
Before each annual flood of the Nile, the river was dried up. Life felt barren and people were rationing what little they had. We may be feeling dried out in our lives, wondering where the next wave of inspiration, resource and renewal will come from. If we are attached to a keeping what we have or a viewpoint of what we want, we may feel a sense of loss of what is cleared and washed away. But we can take heart, knowing that it is all in preparation for something else to take root.
The Solar Eclipse promises a continued flooding of information and dramatic events, and also the raw materials needed to renew our lives. In Egypt today, a great dam has been built to catch and hold the flood to control when and how much water comes through. It seems practical to reduce the destructive qualities of a flood and create a way to integrate the precious water in doses. But it is not natural. And for the flood of this eclipse, rather than seek to dam or protect ourselves, there is an invitation to welcome an influx of energy that can clear away the hollow, stale and outworn in favor of renewed vitality and possibility.
In moving with the incoming tide, the invitation is to welcome increased expression of our sensitivity and vulnerability. Rather than pushing against the tide, we can move with the tide, acknowledging that change is a constant. The human tendency to hold on to what we have does not leave an open hand to welcome what may be coming toward us. We favor the familiar over the unknown. 2020 is all about venturing into unknown territory and restructuring life in a substantive way, and so we need an available and open hand to engage what emerges.
If we become like water, like the water of the Cancer eclipse, we can let go of who we think we are and what we have determined life is about and open to new experience and perspective.
If we have no peace
It is because we have forgotten
We belong to each other
St. Theresa of Calcutta
The Factors of a Solar Eclipse coinciding with the Summer Solstice
Or for folks down under: The Winter Solstice
Ring of Fire Eclipse: The Moon, in its orbit, is at its furthest declination and so appears smaller. So, during the June 21 eclipse it will not fill the circumference of the sun and we will see a ring of light around the eclipse. 'Annual eclipse' is the more formal name for this type of eclipse.
0 degrees Cancer: The beginning of a Cardinal sign (Cancer, Capricorn, Aries, Libra) denotes the world axis. An eclipse at one of these points portends change, new beginnings, shifts in consciousness, and one or more dramatic events on the world stage. That the New Moon and eclipse takes place within hours of the solstice further emphasizes the potent energies of this weekend.
Summer Solstice: When the Sun arrives at 0 degrees of cardinal signs, this marks either a solstice or an equinox. A Solar Eclipse happening at the time of the solstice does not happen very often and portends significant events on the world stage that will unfold over the next six months. The last time we had an eclipse on the Summer Solstice was in 2011 and the event of September 11 a few months later echoed throughout the world and had lasting repercussions. The coming events may not mirror the collapse of the World Trade Center, but there is likely some event that shake us up.
North Node Eclipse: The Nodal axis is always near the Sun and Moon at an Eclipse. It is notable that while the Sun/Moon are in Cancer, the nodal axis is in Gemini/Sagittarius (not Capricorn/Cancer) and is located at the degree of the Galactic Center (a place where primordial creative energy streams into the universe). The eclipse nodes point to a collective agenda and as North Node eclipse we are being pushed to entertain new information and conversations that run counter to what we believe and have come to know.
For example, with the Black Lives Matter movement, we are receiving more information and stories of the history of black people in this country that has, for many, changed their understanding and beliefs around black history. Others are looking at information on vaccines or 5G and relooking at beliefs around this. Michael Moore’s knew movie invited us to rethink our beliefs and understandings about the green movement, inviting us to ask new questions about sustainability. Cancer is about home, family and country and so ultimately we are being given new awareness that can shift our beliefs and positions on these things.
Beginnings: June 21 is a seminal moment of inception that seeds something new into our life and into the collective. New Moons are the beginning of a monthly cycle, where the potential of the coming month is germinated. Solar Eclipses, when the Sun goes dark, bring us into the womb of becoming where the seed is quickened. The Solstice marks a point of culmination, and is the moment we begin to turn our attention to what is next in our life that results in a departure or adjustment to the direction we were heading. With the theme of beginning echoed in the multiple astrological events, I invite us to attune to what is being quickened and set an intention around this.
Cancer and Knowing that we Belong
We are all just walking each other home
Cancer is the ocean, the waters of life and the feelings that course through us. The Solar eclipse enhances our sensitivity, our connection to our feelings, and brings concern to our most basic needs - home, family, food, safety. Underlying these needs, is the urge to nurture and be nurtured. We may encounter awarenesses that lead to shifts in behavior patterns that allow for deeper connection with ourselves and all around. It will shake loose generational skeletons, loosen karmic patterns and create an opening for a greater experience of belonging – to ourselves, within the larger community and to this planet we call home.
Cancer is Mother and the energy that nurtures life into maturity. We may have increased thoughts or contact with the mother who raised us. Issues of how we were mothered may surface. How we were modeled nurturance by our birth mother or by other adults when we were a child creates patterns for how we nurture or do not nurture ourselves. We can have a breakthrough in realizing we are truly worthy of nurturance and have newfound confidence in our capacity to nurture what we love.
Yours is not to seek for love,
But merely to seek and find
All the barriers
That you have built against it.
Retrogrades and The Scarab Beetle
We commonly associate the sign of Cancer as the Greek constellation, The Crab. In keeping with the Egyptian sky theme introduced earlier, the ancient Egyptians identified this constellation as the Scarab Beetle, a symbol for beginnings, and the eternal becoming.
The Scarab Beetle deposits her eggs deep inside a dung heap. When the egg hatches, the newborn beetle is kept warm by the manure. The manure becomes its food and nourishment as the newborn eats its way way out into the light of day. Thus the dung heap supplies all the nurturance the beetle needs as it comes into the world and readies itself to meet the world.
The New Moon is about a Great Beginning and yet it is happening with five planets retrograde. The current retrogrades reminds me of the Scarab Beetle because our new beginning is being birthed within a heap of past actions and collective history that are the fertilizer for the new life. We must review, clean up and tie up loose ends that stand between us and the vision for a better future. We must eat our way through past mistakes, both personal and collective, in order to breathe fresh air. This process of reconciliation nurtures a renewed vitality. So, to continue the example of the Black Lives Matter movement: until we chew on, digest and eliminate the components that promote systemic racial oppression as part of the fabric of our society, how can we hope to create a new world.
Mercury recently went retrograde in the sign of Cancer on June 17 and will go direct July 12. Its extended stay in Cancer emphasizes how we are all to take a step back to rethink and review how we are nurtured in our life, how we deal with feelings and needs, and how to get the care we need.
We are all just walking each other home
No one ever said the human journey would be a walk in the park. Sometimes we lose track of why we are doing what we are doing. The eclipse brings the intrinsic desire of human life front and center: to feel cared for, safe and nurtured. The house where Cancer lives in our natal chart, shows the area of life that will be most highlighted (whether home, relationships, work, community, spiritual connection…).
The Crab, the animal associated with Cancer has a soft outer shell and pincers to protect itself from the onslaught of adversity and incoming waves. It is protecting its soft under belly. Sometimes we can give so much focus to building our defense mechanisms and needs for security that we lose touch and connection with the treasure we are protecting: our vulnerability, sensitivity and loving nature. The Eclipse invites us to spend less time on strengthening boundaries and more on tending to the softness that lies at the heart of us all. We do this by welcoming the feelings and emotions that arise. And all will flow well if we, as Bruce Lee said, become like water, my friend.