Renewing Our Life-Force: The Total Lunar Eclipse of January 31

With less than a week until the total lunar eclipse of January 31, we are currently well within its orb of influence. Are you feeling it? The weeks before and after an eclipse are the most potent periods, but an eclipse will continue to echo its energy for the next 6 months.

The total lunar eclipse of January 31 is the first eclipse of 2018, followed by a partial solar eclipse on February 15, partial solar eclipse on July 14, total lunar eclipse on July 27, and a partial solar eclipse on August 11.

The full eclipse begins at 2:51am in Hawaii. This Moon is also considered to be a Blue Supermoon (a supermoon is a Moon that is orbiting very close to the Earth). Unlike the August 21 solar eclipse, this eclipse will be visible from many parts of the world: before sunrise in North America and Hawaii, and after sunset in the Middle East, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. It is said that eclipses affect the areas from which they are visible.

What is happening with this eclipse as opposed to the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017? To understand the impact of this upcoming eclipse, we have to contemplate the significance of the Moon as a graha, and then the sign and nakshatra it is in during the eclipse. Beyond this, we also must consider the eclipse pattern itself, or which Saros Series it is a part of and what that portends.

Chandra, The Moon
Having no light of its own, the Moon exists to receive and reflect the light of the Sun. It is through the Moon that we receive and know life. The Moon therefore is our ability to be nourished by life, to conduct the universal life-energy of which this world is a reflection. The Moon is how the light of the Sun is reflected and subjectively experienced as individual consciousness, with all of its emotions, thoughts, and self- imagery. Just as the moonlight is not truly separate from the sunlight that is its source, so the apparently individual consciousness is not truly separate from the Divine Consciousness of which it is only a reflection. If we identify with the reflected life, living and acting as though it has independent existence, then we live a life of egoic consciousness, of ups and downs, of fundamental suffering. As Ernst

Wilhelm Wilhelm writes in "Graha Sutras":

"The Jiva is the living being of consciousness that experiences the entirety of creation through the five senses. The first thing which the Jiva experiences is itself, and thus the Jiva is always accompanied by ego. . .The idea of separate existence gives rise to the consciousness of 'I,' which creates the consciousness of 'Mine,' and all the resulting attachments. The Moon thus represents the individual consciousness experiencing all of its joys and sorrows".

The Moon is our ability to receive nourishment from the things in our life and from life itself. The Moon's role is to enable us to receive that essential nourishment by allowing us to adapt and renew in the face of a constantly changing life. In the classical text of Ayurveda, it is said, "candramā vai somah", or "The Moon is Soma". The Moon provides the body with "Soma", the cooling, nourishing, and stabilizing form of prāna. Soma is the raw material from which ojas, the vital essence of our immunity, is created. If we have enough soma, then we feel sufficiently nourished at every level of our being, and we are able to withstand the stresses of life without losing our vital force.

During this eclipse period, the Moon's energy will be shadowed by Rahu. Anytime the Sun or Moon are eclipsed (especially a total eclipse) we have to guard our health. There is less soma available in the cosmic environment right now, and so we must conserve our life-force. Do not expend your energy unnecessarily because the ability to recuperate and withstand stressors is lessened. The Moon is about reception and connection, the conductivity of life-energy. The Moon is about being, not doing. Activity ignites agni which burns soma for its fuel. If we have enough soma, then there is no problem, but during the eclipse we should only burden our agni as needed. This is also why the eclipse is a good time for meditation and contemplative spiritual practices. We preserve the lunar force by reducing stress of all kinds, especially that of food. The more stress, the more the Moon has to work to adapt. With less stress, the Moon can simply be. Eat light and easy-to-digest foods during this period of time (or even better, fast!). Avoid eating foods you know are a burden on your digestion. This alone will help you maintain the lunar essence.

Moon in Leo, Aslesa
The Moon will be in the sign of Leo and nakshatra of Aslesa. If you have Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Ātmakāraka, or a lot of planets in Leo, then you will feel this eclipse just as you felt the last one. But fear not, this eclipse is quite different from the August 21st solar eclipse. The August eclipse was a very difficult eclipse that brought a lot of buried things to the surface in personal relationships. This upcoming lunar eclipse will be a relief for Leo people, because it is about creativity and insight. Are any of you

Leos feeling a surge of creative ideas, insights, and epiphanies? If so, then use this eclipse to your advantage! Start writing down your thoughts and following through on your inspiration. This is a chance to move forward with a creative expression and to uncover deeper meanings.

In terms of eclipse patterns, this lunar eclipse is part of Saros Series 124. Astrologer Brady Bernadette writes of this eclipse family in his book "Predictive Astrology": "This family of eclipses is concerned with ideas and their enthusiastic expression. If this eclipse affects your chart, you will be flooded with ideas or options. There may seem to be an element of haste, but if you can go with the new ideas, they will have positive outcomes".

The nakshatras are described classically as the wives of the Moon. As such, the nakshatras reflect the pattern of our consciousness. The Moon will be in the nakshatra of Aslesa, so by examining Aslesa, we can gain insight into the effect of this eclipse at the level of consciousness. Aslesa corresponds to the constellation Hydra. It is referred to as "the clinging star" and literally means "the entwiner". A deeply mystical nakshatra, Aslesa is symbolized by a coiled serpent, and there are strong themes of "serpent power" or the awakening of Kundalini in this asterism. Its deity is Ahi, the King of the Nagas (water serpents). Aslesa is thus a nakshatra of deep creative power, sexuality, tantra, and spirituality. As it is a nakshatra of such powerful energies, there is great potential for healing in Aslesa as well.

With this eclipse, take time to let go of the past, especially if you suffered the last eclipse. Use this shift in consciousness to assess your deepest needs, your true inspirations, and thereby release internal blocks. It is a time of renewal, of healing, and of rising again with the creative power of life. May it be so!