Care of the Self /Care of the Community: Lunar Eclipse in Libra

The second eclipse of the season occurs this Wednesday (March 23rd) at 5am PDT (8am EDT, 12pm GMT). This is a partial lunar (Full Moon) eclipse on the Libra-Aries axis, meaning the moon is in Libra, the sun is exactly opposite in Aries, with the Earth in the middle. This is the last in a series of Aries-Libra eclipses, making it especially potent as it’s the final push in the areas of life ruled by Aries-Libra.

The purpose of Aries is to develop an identity. In the spiritual community, there is often resistance to the idea of ego. This derives in part from the mystical truth that ego is illusory, and on an experiential level, when we set ego aside, we can experience union, we can see and feel first hand that really, I am that, and that, and that: ultimately there is no separation between me and you.

But this is an extraordinary state of being, an altered state. Ego is necessary for everyday life. And when we denigrate ego, we denigrate ourselves. Denying ego allows it to flourish in the shadows, and because ego need expression, it will find ways to surface. When repressed, it’s more likely to erupt in destructive and self-sabotaging ways. This is the opposite of consciousness.

A second source of resistance to ego is the notion of self-sacrifice. The idea that to be good means to deny the self for the sake of the community. This sort of martyrdom serves nobody. To use a simple example, if I feel a cold coming on, but think I’d better not rest, I’d better go to work because I’ll let my colleagues down, then likely I will get even more sick, and have to take even more time off, and let them down even more. I will also probably make them sick in the process.

The antidote to self-sacrifice is Care of the Self. Plato wrote about how in order to care for our communities, we must care for ourselves first. Only when we care for ourselves, will we be able to care for our communities. And, the care comes full circle, because when we care for our community, since we are part of our community, we care for ourselves as well.

This circle of care is the perfect image to represent the Aries-Libra axis. Aries is about the self, and Libra is about the other. So, how do we reconcile these seeming opposites? We see that they are not opposite at all. There is no self without the other. The Self is formed in relationship. Imagine there were no others whatsoever in your life. What would that look like? It’s hard even to imagine it, because relationship is central to who we are.

Others are the mirrors of ourselves. Why do we attract particular people into our lives? Usually there is some thought or need or desire that is served by the people in our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not. It’s easy to blame others for just about everything. But it’s much more empowering to understand what about ourselves is drawing in certain interactions with others.

A powerful practice is to notice when we are critical of someone, or dislike something about them. When we turn it around and ask how that very criticism or dislike applies to ourself, we can gain in self-knowledge. Usually what we dislike the most in others signals some similar aspect of ourselves that we dislike and perhaps disown. And the reverse is true as well: often what we admire in others mirrors some aspect of ourselves.

We can’t go it alone. But following the crowd is no good either. Narcissism is just as unhealthy as losing ourselves in relationship. How can we be more ourselves, with others? How can we create our own identity, in relationship.

When we follow our own dreams and desires, we inspire others to do the same. We can step into our power as individuals by cooperating, creating community, and supporting each other. We can care for our community, by caring for ourselves. We can care for ourselves by caring for community.

Eclipses are powerful portals, moments of heightened and shifting energy. If there is a habit or pattern that we are ready to leave behind, this is a powerful opportunity to do so. We may change our lifestyle, release codependency, leave a relationship or job, or release destructive patterns of thought. Or such changes may occur from the outside: we may receive news that someone in our life is leaving, or a job may end, or some other change may occur. The news may be sudden and difficult, but almost always, eclipses are meant to nudge us back on track, to help us into alignment with our soul’s path, and to help others do the same.

Much love, and lunar blessings.

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