Suddenly, Last Summer ~ Solar Eclipse in Cancer – July 12th, 2018

On July 12th, 2018 there will be a partial solar eclipse in the warm waters of Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon, where your deepest and most primal emotional needs find their origin.

In astrology, a Solar Eclipse represents a time when the faithful rhythm of planting seeds and birthing new conditions, routinely observed at a New Moon, becomes exponentially magnified!

From the ancient Hermetic perspective, a Solar Eclipse was referred to as The Alchemical Marriage, which is the most sublime and powerful expression of Duality (Sun and Moon) merging into Unity through intimate exchange.

This partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer represents a union of opposites, powerful enough to give birth to new creativity and emotional responses. From this cosmic intercourse, your rational side (Sun) will become married to your primordial intuition (Moon).

The Sun in Cancer offers a guiding light, shaping disjointed memories into glowing myths. It is here where your raison d’etre is born.

In Cancer, the mind is like soft clay, left with a vivid memory of every impression. In Ancient Greece, Orphic priests were said to drink from the “pool of Memory” in order to experience perfect wisdom.

Since myth lives in memory, take a moment at this eclipse to drink deeply from this pool.

In the ancient Greek understanding, Memory or Mnemosyne was the Mother of the nine Muses, meaning that memory is what gives birth to all arts and sciences.

During this Solar Eclipse in Cancer, you will be stirred by memory, falling deeply into haunted hallways of the past. Ultimately, this Solar Eclipse’s ambling trip into the mazeways of memory will enable you to recreate the myths you are living by. From the resources of your own imagination, the maternal voice of Cancer urges you to understand what greater story your life is connected to.

The potential for a reconciliation with the past is greatly heightened at an eclipse in Cancer. Sculpt these immense feelings and images into a story of maturation and acceptance.

This eclipse is qualified by an intense opposition to Pluto in Capricorn, an aspect that really summons the darkness. Under the transformative Plutonian wave, the symbols and archetypes you’re working with will emerge in their most shadowy forms. In this drama, the sweetness and light of the gentle Cancerian mother is re-cast with the claws and teeth of the Devouring Mother.

Is that what love is? Using people? And maybe that’s what hate is – not being able to use people.

The Devouring Mother is the complete inversion of the Divine Mother. So afraid to be alone, she seeks asylum inside her children’s hearts and minds. She lurks as a vampire: controlling and violent in the name of love.

“I’m a widow and a… Funny, there’s no word. Lose your parents, you’re an orphan. Lose your only son and you are… Nothing.”

The spirit of the Devouring Mother lives within many families but also in society at large. She thrives inside any rhetoric that abuses your natural instinct to love.

“The Venus flytrap, a devouring organism, aptly named for the goddess of love.”

Whatever may be revealed to you from these dark realms of the psyche, know that this solar eclipse is like a controlled demolition. Let this be a powerful time to heal from these personal and collective wounds.

Pluto’s influence tends to make forbidden and taboo subjects sparkle with mystery and allure. Let the darkness descend, leading you into the realms of long forgotten Dionysian mysteries.

“…they want your blood on the altar steps of their outraged, outrageous egos!”

All at once you may be overtaken by raw emotion: foment of fear, bitterness, and joy. This churning motion can be channeled into a magical intention for healing. Imagine that after this eclipse, you will be released from the poison of shame and guilt.

See the divine light descend into the darkness. See the golden dawn of a new day.  

The magical effects of this eclipse will ripple on for at least 6 months. So be patient with the process of growth that you are birthing into existence now. Let your future gently come to meet you.

To contain your psychological discomfort during this shift in consciousness, you can use the elegant architecture of myth and magic. If history tells us anything, it seems to be that humanity has always had an excess of mania and destruction surging through its veins. One eruption of this mania is the desire to create art so that this danger can be contained.

“The dinosaurs were vegetarian… that’s why they became extinct…. And then the carnivorous creatures, the ones that eat flesh…the killers inherited the earth. But then they always do, don’t they?”

Art is healing. The birth of tragedy in the ancient Greek world was also the birth of a potent ritual to heal society’s collective conflicts with archetypal energies. Thus, as Mnemosyne knows, the dramatic arts are the most ritualistically cathartic, the most healing for the collective psyche’s wounds. It is within great drama that the shadowy Plutonian layers can be safely illuminated through the art and soul of myth.

“Of course God is cruel…You know we’ve always known about him, the savage face he shows to people. And the fierce things he shouts. It’s all we ever really see or hear of him now…The difference is we know about him, the others don’t. Go rest my darling.”

To better metabolize the dark forces that will be summoned by this Plutonian Solar Eclipse in Cancer, a myth that properly confronts the Devouring Mother archetype is required.

No doubt, the ancient Greeks offered many classics on this subject. But in the modern imagination, there is no finer feature of the Devouring Mother than in the strange southern gothic film, Suddenly, Last Summer. (1959)

“I don’t know what you see in such terrible sights. It’s too much for both of us my darling… that horrible sun…”

Based upon a one-act-play by the great playwright, Tennessee Williams, think of Suddenly, Last Summer as a true Plutonian ode to the Devouring Mother.

Tennessee Williams was famous for having had a mother who embodied the darkest archetypal qualities. All his best work is haunted by his family tragedy, especially by the moment when his sister Rose was lobotomized at his mother’s behest. Unable to contain the agony, he poured much of it into drama.

And since the playwright is an expert on the Devouring Mother, in Suddenly, Last Summer, she is finally given her place in the sun.

Though set in 1937 New Orleans, Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer has the timeless and primal quality of Greek tragedy. Like many of the classic plays, there is divine retribution for those who defy the gods, intentionally or unintentionally.

In Suddenly, Last Summer, Tennessee Williams mastered the art and soul of Southern Gothic. It tosses upon the sea in the most lurid images of horror: madness, insane asylums, lobotomies, a Venus flytrap, and cannibalization!

“My son Sebastian and I… we left behind us a trail of days like a gallery of sculpture until suddenly, last summer…”

The full narrative and meaning of the film and the play can not be fully summarized here. But…in short, the wealthy widow Mrs. Violet Venable’s son, Sebastian was murdered last summer under very mysterious circumstances. Now that he is dead, Mrs. Venable will stop at nothing to keep up the lie that he was nothing but a…

“devoted son, poet-priest, and visionary saint”.

The story begins when a wealthy widow, Mrs. Violet Venable, calls a young doctor to come visit her at her stately home. When he arrives, he is immersed in a world of opulence and decay.

The grounds center upon a wild and unruly garden, full of trailing vines and flesh eating flowers. It is in these lurid and threatening environs that wealthy Mrs. Venable explains why she called.

She proposes a deal. If the young doctor will agree to lobotomize her niece, Catharine, then she will donate large sums of money to his medical research and practice.

The story unfolds around a web of corruption, family secrets, and lies. Mrs. Venable, is obsessed with keeping the memory of her recently deceased son, Sebastian, untarnished by questions about his character. It is only through memory that we learn about Sebastian and it becomes clear that he had the most devouring of Devouring Mothers.

“Sebastian always said, “Mother, you descend like a goddess from the Byzantine’. It’s just like an angel coming to earth as I float, float into view.”

The film presents a psychosexual freakshow of the late 1950’s anxieties, so there is an incestuous air that pervades all of Mrs. Venable’s speeches about her son. She even shares that they were once considered to be a “famous couple.”

“People didn’t speak of Sebastian and his mother or Mrs. Venable and her son. They said ‘Sebastian and Violet, Violet and Sebastian are staying at the Lido, they’re staying at the Ritz in Madrid. Sebastian and Violet, Violet and Sebastian…every appearance… attention was centered on us! – everyone else! Eclipsed!”

Eclipsed.

As in all horror shows, Suddenly, Last Summer has a monster. Through memory, oh mnemosyne, the audience learns that Sebastian was a monstrous person..

Some of the memories that Mrs. Venable wants cut from her niece’s head include that he:

“talked about people, as if they were–items on a menu.– “That one’s delicious-looking, that one is appetizing,” or “that one is not appetizing”.

The climax of Catharine’s memories center upon how Sebastian was murdered. The memories are ascattered and staccato account of a wild and brutal attack, recalling the death of Pentheus in Euripides’ Bacchae. Sebastian is consumed by a mob of young street urchins that he had used like items on the menu.

“He tried to escape from those… He tried to escape… no street, but he couldn’t find a way out. He couldn’t find a way out!”

Like electricity running neatly through a wire, a play like Suddenly, Last Summer gives the darkest archetypal forces (murder, incest, cannibalism) a safe container. Because this Solar Eclipse in Cancer may pull very dark emotions and family secrets out of hiding, it is very important to use art and myth for healing.

Like many artists today, Tennessee Williams was often asked to defend his work against complaints about the dark and depraved themes. In response he explained:

“… if there is any truth in the Aristotelian idea that violence is purged by its poetic representation on a stage, then it may be that my cycle of violent plays have had a moral justification after all. I know that I have felt it. I have always felt a release from the sense of meaninglessness and death when a work of tragic intention has seemed to me to have achieved that intention, even if only approximately, nearly. “

The purpose of this eclipse in Cancer is to purge all the poisons from the well.

A work like Suddenly, Last Summer allows you to explore the wilderness of the individual and family psyche, thereby purifying your own mind and heart of repressed anguish and mania. So at this Solar Eclipse in Cancer, open your heart to the transformative power of great art and enjoy watching some top notch drama.

Breathe in, drinking deeply from the wells of myth and memory and breathe out, sighing away any lingering sense of meaninglessness or death.

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