Prep For This Weekend's Rare Supermoon With This Eclipse Explainer

Image by Leandro Crespi / mbgcreative / Stocksy

Dragging your feet? Avoiding the inevitable? Resistance and procrastination are natural; we tend to avoid what's painful and stay in our comfort zones. Solar and lunar eclipses are dramatic turning points. They provide the cosmic kick in the pants to push us off the fence and into action. On the upside, if you've been waiting around for a clear sign or answer, an eclipse will speed up the process.

Eclipses are these agents of change. They occur four to six times a year and turn things upside down. In our disoriented state, we may act out of character or see turbulence in the world. Eclipses can also help break patterns and shift dynamics. However, most astrologers suggest waiting a week or so before taking drastic action, allowing the eclipse energy to settle first.

Solar eclipses: Time to start fresh.

Solar eclipses occur at new moons. During a solar eclipse, the moon is directly between the Earth and Sun (known as a conjunction, or meetup, of the Sun and the moon). During this brief time, the moon can block out the Sun's light, temporarily disconnecting us from our sense of reality.

In astrology, a solar eclipse could bring a bold beginning, setting us on a new path that we hadn't imagined for ourselves. While it may be surprising—or not something you even expected—a solar eclipse has a bigger vision in store for us. We have a finite focus as human beings, and it's natural to concentrate on what's in front of us. At times, this can limit our perspectives and cause us to miss out on opportunities. Solar eclipses might snatch away the familiar temporarily, forcing us to consider options we would never otherwise explore. Although this can cause upheaval, eclipses are "cruel to be kind." Major growth can happen during these cosmic power outages. This is when we should leap into new (and generally improved) terrain, even if we feel forced there by circumstances beyond our control.

Lunar eclipses: Let it go, let it flow.

Lunar eclipses occur at full moons. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is nearing its full state and enters the Earth's shadow. During a lunar eclipse, the Earth is exactly between the Sun and the Moon (known as an opposition between the Sun and the Moon). For a brief spell, we can see the Earth's shadow turning the luminous full moon intense shades of reds, browns, and grays. Depending on where in the world you are, an eclipse may be visible.

According to astrology, lunar eclipses give us a glimpse into what Carl Jung referred to as the "shadow self." We all want to think of ourselves as good, kind people, but hey—we're also human! What we discover about ourselves and others during lunar eclipses can be tough to admit, even shocking. Still, this gives us the opportunity to embrace our wholeness and see where we have room to grow in new directions.

Owning the fact that we have emotions (like fear, anger, jealousy, and rage) is the first step to getting a handle on them. Trying to pretend we're perfect or stuffing down our feelings? That's when our unexamined issues creep up and overwhelm us. If we're willing to suspend judgment and accept the good along with the bad, lunar eclipses can be potent moments of self-discovery.

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Why our ancestors feared eclipses.

Eclipses throughout history have gotten a bad rap. They were both revered and feared. The ancients were baffled by the Sun's "disappearance" from the sky during a solar eclipse, so they made up stories involving angry (or "hangry") gods eating the Sun. Because eclipses have correlated with climate catastrophes, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes, many cultures believed that eclipses angered the gods. During lunar eclipses, people were known to act "loony" (root word: lunatic, which is of the root word lunar)—and in our own informal observation, we've noticed that, too. However, Western science has only confirmed a single fact: We need to protect our eyes if we watch a solar eclipse!

Rituals for the eclipses: Renew and release. 

Rituals for new and full moons are becoming more popular by the day. At an eclipse, a ritual can help you stay grounded in the face of any chaos, especially if you set dedicated intentions.

Solar eclipses fall at new moons, so a ritual or intention-setting could focus on helping you start anew. Themes could include finding the courage to make a fresh start, embracing change, taking a risk (even if you're scared), putting yourself out there, making a big reveal/coming out of the metaphorical closet.

Lunar eclipses fall at full moons, which are times of ending, closure, manifestation, and transition. Lunar eclipse rituals may center around having a huge breakthrough, pushing past barriers and limits, letting go of a painful situation for good, breaking free of an addictive pattern, healing, or releasing.

You may want to do a zodiac-specific ritual depending on which sign the eclipse falls in astrologically. Follow our tips for new and full moon rituals and gatherings. You can do a ritual by yourself or gather with friends to amplify your intentions.

Eclipses and the lunar nodes of astrology.

Lunar nodes—the "destiny points" in astrology—are tied to the eclipses. The lunar nodes are determined by the points where the moon's orbit crosses the "ecliptic"—the apparent path the Sun makes around the earth that is the basis of Western astrology. The north and south nodes in your chart are determined by where the eclipses were happening. So from a mystical perspective, eclipses are tied to our past lives, karmic paths, and soul missions!

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The AstroTwins

Astrologers & Best-Selling Authors
Dubbed the “astrologers to the stars,” identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as the AstroTwins, are professional astrologers who reach millions worldwide through their spot-on predictions. Through their website, Astrostyle, Ophira and Tali help “bring the stars down to earth” with their unique, lifestyle-based approach to astrology. They are also the official astrologers for ELLE, Elle Magazine, mindbodygreen, and The New Potato. The AstroTwins have been featured in the UK Sunday Times, the New York Times Sunday Styles section, People Magazine, Domino, InStyle, Architecture Daily, Business Insider and much more media globally. The AstroTwins have collaborated with major brands including Vogue, Nordstrom, Revlon, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Ted Baker, Kate Spade and Calypso St. Barth, 20th Century Fox, among others. The sisters have read charts for celebrities including Beyoncé, Emma Roberts, Stevie Wonder, Jessica Simpson, and Sting. They are regular guests on SiriusXM and have appeared on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey. They have authored four print books: AstroStyle, Love Zodiac, Shoestrology, and Momstrology (their #1 Amazon best-selling astrological parenting guide) and a growing collection of ebooks, including their popular annual horoscope guides (now available in print).
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