“ To light a candle is to cast a shadow,” proclaims the wizard in Ursula LeGuin’s timeless trilogy, Earthsea. Yet, we need the candle to illuminate the darkness, and seeing into the shadows is what the solar eclipse, which takes place at 1 degree Scorpio on October 23rd at 3:45 pm MDT, is all about. This eclipse follows the Aries lunar eclipse of October 8th. This cycle is significant for several reasons: it is the final Scorpio eclipse in a cycle that began in November 2012; it falls near the degree—2 Scorpio—where Mercury turned retrograde October fifth, and it coincides closely with Mercury turning direct at 18 Libra on October 26th. Mercury will re-enter Scorpio on November eighth. When winged-footed Mercury is retrograde, energy slows down and turns inward, but as he turns direct this month, things will move forward swiftly, and decisions need to be made intuitively,as an excess of analysis could lead to confusion.
Eclipses literally cast shadows—a shadow on the bright face of the Sun or Moon; an interruption of the ancient light that travels so far to reach us. There is a concentration of potent energies in this eclipse time that have ripened into something that emerges from the shadows. Eclipses often destabilize and upset the status quo, whether in personal matters or global affairs. The dark side of Scorpio is in full display in the world now, with the plague and fear of Ebola stalking the planet, along with god-crazed ISIS militias creating hell on earth. How odd that the acronym for this vicious movement is the very name of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of the Moon, agriculture and fruitfulness, and that the agenda of the militias is the destruction of all that honors the feminine, of civilization itself.
The last part of October leading into early November, with a Full Moon in Taurus on the sixth is a time of increased polarization and pressure to transform, reconcile energies of conflict, stagnation, and violence. The wisdom traditions and sacred teachings of the ages all speak of the task of integrating the dark and light, moving beyond the duality of good and evil, lest the shadow be projected onto a scapegoat, perpetuating hatred and war. Alchemy is a wisdom teaching closely related throughout its history and origins in ancient Egypt to astrology. Alchemical transformation begins with something called base matter, the shadow experiences of life—failure, crises, nightmares, fears. There is in alchemy a symbol called the Black Sun. A graphic image of a solar eclipse, it is a symbol of transformation and rebirth. The weeks following the eclipse will be a powerful time for forming new alliances and moving forward with creative ideas that have been incubating over the past months.