The Full Moon in Aquarius arrives Monday afternoon, August 7.
We’re in eclipse season now: This Full Moon will be a partial lunar eclipse. Only a small portion of the Moon’s face will be obscured, visible in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania, but not the Americas.
As we enter this shadowy time, it’s almost as if this lunar eclipse is a shadow, or perhaps a mirror, of the total solar eclipse arriving in a few weeks.
The Full Moon falls at 15 Aquarius. The Sun is at 15 Leo, which means this is Lughnasadh, one of the four great fire festivals of the ancient Celts.
We continue traveling through Fire. Mars rides next to the Sun and opposes the Moon, adding an electrical charge, a surge of desire, an extra dose of libido to this Full Moon. Lughnasadh is named for the god Lugh, the many-skilled, the long-armed. We can look to Mars to bring Lugh’s presence forward.
Rising Moon Astrology is now a PODCAST on iTunes. Please listen, subscribe, and leave a review.
This is a Full Moon, brightly illuminated in the night sky. And in Aquarius, fixed Air, the thinker, the visionary, the one who can see far ahead and plan the way forward into the future. So why am I talking about shadows? Let’s look at what’s happening in the sky.
First, of course, is the eclipse. The Moon will be shadowed in part. Any time one of the luminaries–Sun and Moon–loses light, Shadow is highlighted.
Remember, the changes we see each lunar cycle reflect the dance between Sun, Moon, and Earth. We here on Earth are active participants, not merely observers. Full Moons occur when the Earth is between the Sun and Moon as the Moon and Sun are opposite in their risings: On a Full Moon, the Moon rises as the Sun sets. We see her bright orb all through the night.
Usually, the Earth is not directly lined up between Sun and Moon. We’re here, but not in the way. During eclipses, the alignment is closer. The Earth blocks some–or all–of the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon, which we see as the eclipse pattern. This eclipse on August 7 is only partial: The Earth will block part of the Moon only.
This Earth shadow on the Moon, an interruption of Full Moon light, brings our focus back to the Earth herself. Eclipse light is odd, weird, unusual. Things around us look different. We have a perspective not often offered. We will want to make the most of it.
Second is Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. On this day, we celebrate the first fruits of the harvest, the ending of the lean times of high summer before the berries are ripe, when food can be surprisingly scarce as the crops grow. There are fairs, games, and dances, rituals, divination, and courtships.
Yet the celebrations come at a cost. To get the harvest ale, John Barleycorn must die. Lughnasadh is not the feast of Lugh but rather the funeral games he organized to honor his foster mother Tailtiu, who died because she put all her energy into turning Irish soil into arable land.
This is a cycle. We acknowledge that some must die so others can live. Life feeds on life.
When we will not look at death, or difficulty, or Shadow, we dishonor the Earth and the cosmos of which we are a part. When we refuse to understand natural cycles, we create an energy that allows unnatural ones to flourish. It is so much easier to become greedy when we pretend everything is nice, easy, safe, and clean. But life is messy. Sometimes it hurts.
Aquarius, sign of this Full Moon, is a radical visionary. Focused on the community, the polity, the people, this sign favors large-scale plans and overarching principles. There is a clarity here that can feel sharp and unforgiving. The traditional ruler of Aquarius is Saturn, who is not noted for his warmth. Here, tough choices can be made for the good of all.
Aquarian focus is wide enough to include the cosmos. This sign in connected, channeling messages from other realms and deep places.
The modern ruler of Aquarius is Uranus, the revolutionary first discovered during the Age of Revolution, when populist movements toppled age-old monarchies. These revolutions brought in new rights for individuals that opened the door to the way we live today, but some became bloodbaths first. The shadow side of Aquarius is fanaticism.
Jupiter at 17 Libra trines this Full Moon infusing optimism, harmony, and liberality of feeling that can mitigate the Full Moon’s potential for fierceness, or can lead to overconfidence and inflation. Pluto the alchemist squares Jupiter, reminding the genial giant that life is not always a party. His presence is one reason we won’t forget the Shadow at this Full Moon.
There are two yods, overlapping, one pointed at the Sun and one at the Moon. The conversations among the planets now are complex and deep. We are reminded that lofty ideals (Aquarius) won’t meet the ordinary needs of everyday life (Mercury with Vesta in Virgo, and Venus with Ceres in Cancer). We are likewise reminded that personal creative expression alone (Leo) is not enough to contain the dreams and desires of the entire cosmos (Pluto in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces).
Mars stands with the Sun, both in Leo. Mars is the good soldier, the true-hearted knight. Are we ready to fight for our principles? Do those principles include our right to personal creative expression? Are we ready to lead, or lend our strong right arm to support the leader who best embodies our principles?
In the end, we are challenged to find balance. Do our principles actually guide how we behave, or do we allow narrow ego needs to drive us? Do we let our plans for the future destroy our ability to find joy in the present? Can we celebrate and plan, love and think rationally, keep a wide perspective and enjoy the details?
Because of the lunar eclipse, these questions have special resonance. Look back 19 years, when we last experienced a lunar eclipse in a similar position. What was going on in your life? Are any of those events or issues resurfacing now in ways you can recognize? There is an opportunity for understanding and healing.
The eclipse will also carry the energy of this Full Moon forward longer than usual. Anything coming to light now might take six months or more to resolve. And, of course, we will revisit this point again 19 years from now.
Check your birth chart. Which houses will this Full Moon fall across? What is happening in your chart in and around 15 degrees? These placements offer clues about what may come up for you.
A Full Moon in Aquarius can be cerebral, clear, and cleansing. The Sun in Leo can encourage emotional connection and creative passion, giving flesh and blood to heady Aquarian ideals. This year, we feel the Earth under our feet in new ways.
Lugh was of the Tuatha de Danann, the magical invaders of Ireland who fought the Fir Bolg, those smaller, dark people who were there before them. Lugh’s foster mother, Tailtiu, whose sacrifice is commemorated at Lughnasadh, was of the Fir Bolg. The boy Lugh learned much while living in the home of his former enemies.
There is also a darker god said to be of the Fir Bolg, Crom Cruach, the crooked one, the bloody one. He also is remembered at Lughnasadh and was said to demand human sacrifice in ancient days. His presence is still felt in some places but he is rarely talked about, not openly.
And yet, when the battles were over and the Tuatha de Danann had won, Lugh finds Bres, the defeated chieftain whose father was Fir Bolg, to make a bargain. He will spare his life if Bres teaches the Tuatha de Danann the secrets of growing crops.
The cycle continues. We may prefer the bright world of imaginings, plans, and ideas. We may enjoy envisioning a world of light and pleasure. But we forget the darkness of the soil, where bodies are buried and seeds germinate, at our peril. At this Full Moon and lunar eclipse, we may be offered a glimpse of how to balance between these two, if we keep our eyes and hearts open.
I use Unsplash for almost all my images. The images in this post include the title, created from a photo of a wheat field by Dominik Martin, apples by sydney zentz, and carrots by Gabriel Gurrola. The fantasy image is a screenshot from the new VR environment Sansar.