Emperor and Exile~ Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius-August 7th, 2017

On August 7th, 2017 there will be a Full Moon lunar eclipse in the sign of Aquarius. The Moon will be Full at 15 degrees Aquarius opposing the Sun in Leo, which is still separating from a conjunction with Mars.

Full Moons always represent a culmination of creative and emotional energies, but an eclipse concentrates and amplifies the intensity of that experience. In astrology, lunar eclipses are understood to be catalysts for significant developments because they promote a great catharsis between opposing energies.

Full Moons (and lunar eclipses) occur when the Moon and the Sun oppose each other, offering more potential to harmonize any tension between conflicting polarities, including: masculine and feminine; rational and intuitive; emperor and exile. 

To illustrate the nature of a Full Moon, imagine the Sun and Moon gazing upon one another in contemplative enjoyment. This visionary exchange of information is a reflexive dialogue, offering a great deal of potential for internal transformation.

So as the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius eclipse, this exchange between polarities will be intensely activated. Between Leo (the personal ideal) and Aquarius (the universal ideal) there will be a mutual admiration stirring, an enthusiasm that builds. At an eclipse an integration of opposites occurs, which catalyzes a flourishing of growth and development in the collective psyche.

Suddenly the personal ideal becomes a perfect reflection of the universal. The king becomes the true voice of his people. The oracle speaks the wisdom of the ages. The ego creates its alter-ego and the microcosm realizes its relationship to the macrocosm.

This particular eclipse between the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius will be tinged with Mars’ aggression. Though this can be used in many virtuous ways to radiate the qualities of good leadership and inspired action, eclipses force a confrontation with both the dark and the light. Thus, there will be a hot bubble of pride and a burst of enthusiasm that accompanies this eclipse. Expect to see signs of rabid iconoclasm, rebellion and mania in addition to the more regal and noble qualities that come forth.

As an illustrative example of the enthusiastic idealism that can be aroused between the axis of Leo and Aquarius, consider the reflexive dialogue between the legendary Romantic figures of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the exile poet Lord Byron.

Just as Napoleon is an exemplary Leonine figure, Lord Byron is an exemplary Aquarian. In true poetic fashion, Byron was exiled from England for his unconventional political and sexual mores, leaving him to wander the world in liminal Aquarian spaces. He was loathed by many, publicly denounced as, “Mad, bad and dangerous to know”.  In a typical Aquarian gesture, he sought refuge in lonely places in the world. While sequestered in the Swiss Alps he wrote his celebrated series Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage featuring a character filled to the brim with Napoleonic virtues.

Napoleon and Lord Byron did more to fashion the nineteenth-century image of heroism than anyone else. Napoleon the conqueror and defender of the French Republic was the pre-eminent star that symbolized the Spirit of the Romantic Age! Because of Napoleon’s rebellious audacity and meteoric rise, Lord Byron admired him above all other men, going so far as to imagine Napoleon as his alter-ego.

The creation of the Byronic hero, fashioned first through Byron’s own character of Childe Harold, was a reflection of the Napoleon mythos of the Romantic era. Thus, the brightness of Napoleon’s sunlight was reflected in Lord Byron’s poetic mirror, creating a synthesis of energies that resulted in a collective myth of heroism. You might say that there was a cultural eclipse that occurred between them.

If thou hadst died as honour dies,

Some new Napoleon might arise,

  To shame the world again

Lord Byron’s genius and cultural influence is staggering in its own right, but his fascination and admiration for Napoleon was a pervasive theme throughout his life, even after the Emperor’s fall from grace. In Napoleon, Byron saw a Promethean figure to lament, a hero to eulogize, and a legend to stir the cultural imagination with. 

The bombastic achievements and Romantic philosophy that Napoleon represented were such a source of power and inspiration for Lord Byron, whose Aquarian gaze was forever dazzled by the light of this Leonic figure. So in many way, much of Byron’s poetic oeuvre was like Moonlight, an illumination accrued through a reflection upon the sunlight of Napoleon.

But who would soar the solar height,

To set in such a starless night?

In his poem, Star of the Legion of Honour, Byron describes his feelings of ecstatic joy and sorrow for the legend of Napoleon, whose star rose and fell so tragically.

Star of the brave!–whose beam hath shed

Such glory o’er the quick and dead–

Thou radiant and adored deceit!

Which millions rushed in arms to greet,–

Wild meteor of immortal birth!

Why rise in Heaven to set on Earth?

Acknowledging the beauty as well as the deceit in the heroic images is the wisdom that objective Aquarius is born to offer to the overly glamorized Leo.

Lord Byron wrote his Ode to Napoleon in April of 1814, just days after learning that Napoleon had surrendered his empire and had been exiled (like himself) to the island of Elba. To preface this ode, Byron chose a haunting epigraph, a quote from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

“By this shameful abdication, he protracted his life a few years, in a very ambiguous state, between an Emperor and an Exile, till”

History, being unerringly ironic, shows us that the great Emperor Napoleon, ended his days in exile. And the exile poet, Lord Byron, died as a hero fighting for the liberation of Greece. Thus this reflexive gaze between Leo and Aquarius, the emperor and the exile, came full circle and finally closed.

This Mars infused lunar eclipse upon the polarity of Leo/Aquarius includes within its narrative framework a lesson about how the emperor and the exile are one in the same thing. Both must face the same adulations, isolation and judgement.

This lunar eclipse is a time for integrating these two perspectives, observing how easy it is to get caught up in the fugue of an heroic mythos. The hunger that seeks fulfillment of your most precious ideals is both grasping and desperate. Don’t let it be manipulated. The lesson of this lunar eclipse in Aquarius asks that when it comes to worshipping an ideal, temper your passions and maintain a semblance of objectivity.

Whether you are like the emperor or the exile, the greatest folly of all is to begin believing your own hype. Imagining yourself to be a herald for the coming of a golden era is the mistake of the emperor. But an equally devastating error is the mistake of the exile, who allows alienation to chase them to the edges of sanity. 

Do not let what other people praise you for or admonish you for dictate the quality of your self-image. It is at a lunar eclipse, such as this, that you can consciously release your identification with arbitrary social categories that have left you alienated. 

To return to warmth and fulfillment, release overinflated ideals about who you are and what the world must offer you. Accepting that some circumstances are out of your control is the best way to ensure that your most potent senses and instincts will be restored. To overcome your present challenges, avoid the path of glory and follow the path of least resistance.