Clair de Lune ~ Lunar Eclipse in Cancer – January 10th, 2020

Happy New Year! And I sincerely hope that it has been for you thus far. But if it hasn’t, please don’t feel alone.

Truth be told, ‘happy’ does not seem to describe how most people feel right now. Rather, the collective mood seems pensive and saturnine. With the south node, Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all converging in Capricorn, this New Year may feel  like it was born under a dark star. 

Claire de Lune by Paul Verlaine (1869)

Your soul is a chosen landscape

Where charming masquerades and dancers are promenading,

Playing the lute and dancing, and almost

Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.

And with the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn perfecting on January 12th, the dawn of 2020 feels wizened and world-weary. The shorelines of your reality (Saturn) has been forever changed by the force of these aeonic waves (Pluto). 

And so the year begins burdened by the weight of unfinished business and murmuring fears of global catastrophe. The good news is that by the end of January, this tremendous pressure will begin to dissolve. 

The first signs of dissolution begin on January 10th with the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. When placed in its rulership of Cancer, the Moon dives into the waters of memory, inviting the gentle tides of sentiment and feeling to arise. 

But Lunar Eclipses are volatile, summoning the primal chaos from beneath the deep. And this eclipse is opposed by the Sun, Mercury, Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, all looming on the horizon like storm clouds. Thus, the soft and gentle Moon in Cancer will feel oppressed by these dark planets, dragged down by great sorrow and helpless fury.

It is the nature of the Moon in Cancer to idealize the past and dream of the glory of days gone by. But eclipses reveal the depths of what is hidden in the shadows, tunneling into much deeper places in the psyche to uncover what has been buried. With all the planets in Capricorn pushing so hard against the Moon in Cancer, ancient memories of heartbreak and betrayal may emerge, clouding your vision with discontent and discouragement.

But this Lunar Eclipse can be quite purgative and purifying, inviting you to let go of the burdens of the past. Perhaps some of the inheritance of pain and suffering that you have received from your family can be confronted and released. 

This Cancer eclipse may be tinged with melancholy, but the maternal wisdom of this Moon will imbue your sorrow with a sense of purpose and sweeten your sadness with soulful love. A pacifying trine from the transcendent realm of Neptune in Pisces will blur some of the rough edges, offering you a chance to drift and dream a little. 

While singing in a minor key

Of victorious love, and the pleasant life

They seem not to believe in their own happiness

And their song blends with the moonlight

With Neptune’s help, the Moon in Cancer will wrap your melancholy around you like a silvery cocoon, spun to protect and nurture you until the time is right to re-emerge.  

This Cancerian aura of melancholy can become a blessing and a comfort, shielding you from the full force of depression that the culmination of Saturn/ Pluto could otherwise catalyze. 

Saturn and Pluto’s depression is black and numb, the feeling of being erased.

Whereas the Moon’s melancholy is lavender-blue, the feeling that arises between twilight and starlight. 

As a perfect accompaniment to the melancholy of this Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, I recommend you listen to Clair de Lune by the French composer Claude Debussy, whose natal Moon was in Cancer.

There is no song that can transform sadness into exquisite beauty with more grace and gentleness. As its melody ripples out in rolling arpeggios, any isolated feelings of sorrow begin to connect to a higher realm and a wider purpose. And Claire de Lune’s tonal ambiguity and lingering pace invites your heart to wander freely, exploring the full repertoire of emotion without fear. 

Debussy once said:

“Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes.”

Debussy published Claire de Lune in 1905, inspired by a poem of the same name that was published in 1869 by the Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. The poem describes a moment of deep soul searching, a tidal wave of crisis followed by a return to peace, set in an atmosphere of “au calme clair de lune triste et beau”. (sad and beautiful moonlight)

Debussy’s Claire de Lune does not climax in a grand crescendo, but allows the notes to tumble downward like a waterfall. And this is the quality of feeling that is most ideal for this Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Imagine your emotions as being like water, with currents flowing and overflowing as they will. Each rippling memory and river of feeling finding its way back into the greater wholeness of the ocean. 

At this eclipse, accept whatever sanctuary you can find, letting yourself be protected until you are ready to emerge again. Let yourself become quiet and thoughtful or even sad. When all is said and done, this Lunar Eclipse in Cancer is purifying for your heart, opening you up to deeper dimensions of soulfulness.

With the sad and beautiful moonlight,

Which sets the birds in the trees dreaming,

And makes the fountains sob with ecstasy,

The slender water streams among the marble statues

Wishing you all the best…