Self knowledge: It’s why we all love astrology! Sometimes, a critical astrological event takes place and everything changes—and that’s exactly what happens this month. The solar eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and lunar eclipse in Capricorn on July 16 find us confronting themes concerning our roots and our legacy, as well as who we are in the present moment. It’s big.
Eclipses, new moons, and full moons that occur when the north and south nodes are activated herald great change, shifts in power structures, surprising reveals, endings, and new beginnings. The north and south nodes are points in astrology that are related to destiny, so eclipses are crucial turning points for us. Our past is long ago and our legacies have yet to be written, and this is a moment that defines who you are on your journey, and whether you are on your right path.
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Everything You Need to Know About Eclipses
Eclipses come in pairs every six months, and every eclipse is complicated, intense, or exhausting, but each one is so in its own unique way, and this month’s pair follows some challenging cosmic weather (plus, Mercury retrograde begins on July 7).
Eclipses are wildly dynamic and can be the most exhausting times of the year. Among witches and magicians, eclipses are inopportune times to cast magic since the two most important lights in our sky, the sun and the moon, are behaving unusually. So in your own life, don’t “cast spells” or impose your will; instead, take time to rest, meditate, and practice patience.
Because eclipses affect the most important lights in our sky, we see things in a new light. Shocking reveals are made, but they're information we needed to know. Sometimes, surprising news doesn’t come from someone else; sometimes it’s information about yourself that suddenly makes sense to you. Epiphanies are made and changes in power take place, too. Someone you admired may fall off the pedestal you placed them on, your boss may leave, or someone in control may be booted out.
Eclipses are not the time to be a control freak. They can bring big changes, so the harder you cling to the past and the less flexible you are in your view of the future, the more difficult those changes will be. Encountering change that is out of your control is a great opportunity to examine your control issues. One thing you could try is a ceremony to put the past behind you. Cultures around the world perform ceremonies and rituals, but many of us don’t have enough of them in our lives. Remember that eclipses, as exhausting as they can be, are amazing portals of change and growth, and honoring your past with ceremony is a beautiful way to work the eclipse energy.
What You Need to Know About the North and South Nodes
The north and south nodes are always opposite each other, and they take about 19 years to move through all 12 signs of the zodiac. At each complete cycle (called a nodal return), and half cycle, when the nodes are flipped (a nodal opposition or reversal), similar themes come back for us to work with, each time from a new perspective—and we’re older and wiser each time! So think back to nineteen and eight years ago: What were you doing? What life decisions did you face, and how do you feel about the direction you chose? Those experiences offer perspective on how your life has developed since, and could inform where you want your life to go over the next decade or two. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t sure what your goals are yet: Your only priority is to act with integrity and be true to yourself.
Timing is a theme tied closely to the nodes, and eclipses ask us whether we’re on the right path. If we’re not, the eclipses knock us off course, pushing us toward our destiny. Missed connections are especially poignant during this time, but chance occurrences and brilliant new opportunities may also land in your lap.
The north node brings new opportunities, while the south node releases them. The north and south nodes are also referred to as the head and tail of the dragon, which comes from Vedic astrology. The north node is the head of the dragon (imagine that it’s consuming new experiences) while the south node is the tail of the dragon (all about releasing the past—basically, the toilet bowl of the zodiac!). At the nodal return, we find ourselves 19 years wiser, confronting new yet familiar opportunities and endings, and at the nodal opposition, we get to see things from a totally new perspective, perhaps bringing us closure...that is, if we aren’t in denial.
How to Deal with July’s Eclipses in Cancer and in Capricorn
During July’s eclipses in caring Cancer and serious Capricorn (which are basically the parents of the zodiac), remember that your timeline doesn’t belong to anyone else: not your parents, your teachers, or anyone that you measure yourself up to. Power, responsibility, duty, legacy, and family expectations are big themes during this month’s eclipses.
Intuitive water sign Cancer is associated with mothering and birth, fertility, and creativity, while Capricorn is like the daddy of the zodiac, also very creative, but more concerned with building material resources than inner emotional resources. Both are needed, and having these signs in balance spells healthy boundaries, a strong self of our emotional selves, tenacity, and the responsibility required to handle business. It’s time to grow up!
The new moon in Cancer on July 2 makes space for us to create a new home, literally or figuratively. Home is certainly where we live, but it’s also the comfort we feel in our own bodies. New moons start a new cycle, but this is more than a typical new moon—it’s an eclipse, so it ushers in a whole new world! Cancer can cling to the past, so remember that you are not your history. Your past is an important part of your story, but you can become someone new, and now is that time.
The full moon in Capricorn asks us to release responsibilities that no longer serve us. We’ve been working hard to build something special, but now it’s time to move on, and your ideas of who’s in charge might change. Ask yourself: Who do I want to be when I grow up? Now’s the time to step up to the plate.
Stereotypically, Cancer is a wishy-washy crybaby and Capricorn is a cold, hard, unfeeling sign. These stereotypes aren’t the truth, but they can be on an extreme day, and it’s important to strike a balance. Emotions can be hard to deal with, but if we repress them, they can manifest as physical ailments or health issues. Somatic-based therapies are wonderful for learning how to really feel your emotions. Sometimes it’s appropriate to indulge in your feelings and other times it’s appropriate to shut them off. This month’s eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn teach us that these actions must be in a wise, well-considered balance.
During the eclipse in Capricorn on July 16, Mercury will also be retrograde in Leo and Cancer, so watch out for delays and miscommunications and avoid big purchases or signing contracts. Eclipses bring us a lot of information, and Mercury retrograde prompts us to slow down, be introspective, and avoid jumping to action or commitment.
Cancer asks us where we’ve come from, while Capricorn asks us what we’re building toward. This month’s eclipses challenge us and ask: Are we doing things for the sake of tradition? Are you clinging to the past, perhaps a past relationship? You get to decide what home and career mean to you. Being a grown-up means knowing how to handle and protect your emotions, hold boundaries, nurture yourself and loved ones, provide emotionally and materially, and choose your own destiny. You have the potential to change the future—not just yours, but the whole world’s. Are you doing your part to the best of your ability? Be the adult in the room and help facilitate a change. The world needs us politically, socially, and environmentally.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.