I’m always floored by the Herculean effort it takes to interrupt a half-baked theory that the most traumatized part of me has come up with. It’s too tempting to run with it and construct a narrative where I am the victim, the persecuted, the misunderstood. It’s too easy for me to think that life is conspiring against me, to take the emotional debris from the harm I’ve survived and project it onto everything in my life that challenges my ego. The thrill of being justifiably angry is too alluring for the small, trampled on, and taken advantage of aspects of myself. My inner bands of outcasts undoubtedly think that they will finally get justice once the full fury of their rage is unleashed.

Once I have gone down that deluded path of worst-case scenarios, it takes an Olympic level of psychological labor to reel myself back in. To figure out what is leading me to this torrent of terrible ideas. To ask myself: What am I feeling and why? What was the incident that got me here? Is my feeling a proportionate response to this event? And if not, what is the situation reminding me of? But that is only if I can gather the good sense to do so.

It’s an exhausting foray into my own shadowlands. But the alternative is so much worse.

When I don’t do this parsing out, I end up acting out in situations that are as humiliating as they are antithetical to everything that I say I am and want. Unfortunately, I am not alone in needing to consistently do this work. This is the work each of us must do — and there are too few doing this kind of psychological mining at all.

Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung termed this part of us our “shadow.” He taught that understanding the marginalized, maligned, and socially unacceptable aspects of ourselves opens us to the very medicine we need. In his words: “The shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries.”

Enter: Eclipse season.

On March 19th, Aries season arrives — and with it, so does the next eclipse cycle. The ancients believed that an eclipse was caused by a giant dragon that either swallowed the luminary obscured or swiped it away with its saurian tail. As the Sun ventures through the initiatory fire sign of Aries over the course of the next month, we’ll experience two eclipses: a lunar (Full Moon) eclipse in Libra on March 25th and a solar (New Moon) eclipse in Aries on April 8th. Eclipses (usually) occur in pairs every six months. They are moments that speak to the personal and collective shadow work we are in need of doing. They mirror times of great and swift change — events that alter the shape of our lives and world, or reveal what’s hidden. They also give us a heads-up that our conscious, socially celebrated self is (most likely) about to be swallowed up by our own inner dragons. The work of eclipse season is deep and often harrowing, but it’s also transformative and ultimately healing.

Just before the Sun enters Aries, on March 18th, Mercury will make a conjunction to the North Node in the same sign. The North Node is a point in space that tells us where and when eclipses will happen — thus, it’s the point where April 8th’s eclipse in Aries will occur. The North Node was thought of as the aforementioned rapacious head of the dragon by the ancients. And because Mercury is a micro/megaphone, when it collides with the North Node, it will announce some of the upcoming themes of that eclipse. Mercury will also be entering what we call its pre-retrograde shadow — it will station retrograde on April 1st and move all the way back to this point.

So much shadow, so little time.

On March 20th, the day after the Sun enters Aries, Mercury will go on to make a conjunction with Chiron, the minor planet often referred to as the Wounded Healer. Here, the micro/megaphone will promote discussions about our deepest wounds, pain points, and the medicine needed to remedy them. This Mercury–Chiron conjunction is a third foreshadowing of what is to come, as the April 8th eclipse will be exactly conjunct it.

Aries represents the self: the energetic materialization of new life, burgeoning creativity, and relentless courage. At its best, this fire sign is bold, brazen, individuated, and self-assured, perpetually and enthusiastically emerging anew. At its worst, it sees everyone as an enemy; it wants only to win, to conquer, and to dominate; it burns bridges and hope; and it torches all reason and any attempt at reconciliation.

This eclipse season is here to teach us that we all have the potential to be both sides of this coin.

To quote Carl Jung again: “To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.”

We already know the worst of what happens when we forgo this work. We are living in the full-fledged nightmare of it. A genocide in Gaza is unfolding in front of our eyes, funded by our tax dollars and supported by some of the most powerful nations in the world. Human life, and all its glorious potential, is literally being starved, bombed, displaced, and brutally destroyed. All while greedy dragons in power try to lure us into their dystopian hellscape of never-ending violence by othering our neighbors, cousins, and kin.

The last eclipse season was in October of 2023, and this one is tied to it — it’s the next chapter. It’s here to remind us that no one can do this inner work for us. That we can’t buy our way into self-awareness and certainly not liberation. That once we do engage with our shadows, once we can recognize them and refuse to project them onto imagined persecutors or externalized villains, we can more easily interrupt how they show up systemically. I hope and pray that enough of us have learned just how powerful and devastatingly misdirected unhealed, collective shadows can be and that this knowledge makes us all more dedicated to our personal and shared healing.

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