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It’s Eclipse Season: What You Need to Know

Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty Images

Welcome, friends: It’s officially eclipse season. So far, 2023 has been relatively tame, but with the cosmos dishing out two eclipses in quick succession, things have really heated up (okay, it’s actually always two in quick succession, but more on that later). First, we had the solar eclipse in Aries on Thursday, April 20, followed by a lunar eclipse in Scorpio on Friday, May 5.

Before we dig into what that actually means for you, it’s worth noting that while they sound spooky, eclipses play a critical role in progress, both on an individual and societal level. In other words: Don’t freak out!


So what is an eclipse, anyway?

Every month, we can rely on the steady rhythm of the sun and moon (collectively, the luminaries) as they twirl through their 28-day waltz. The lunar cycle begins with a new moon: During this phase, the moon sits between the Earth and the sun, and so — from our vantage point — the moon appears totally dark. Shortly thereafter, the moon speeds away from the sun, waxing, finally reaching its full-moon phase within two weeks. The moon then begins to wane, and the cycle begins again.

Eclipses are exceptions to the rule. Technically speaking, eclipses occur when the moon reaches the upper and lower boundaries of its own tilted, elliptical orbit (these boundaries are referred to as the “lunar nodes,” or — in astrology — the south and north nodes). When the moon reaches these thresholds, it forms a perfect alignment with the sun and Earth, transforming new moons into solar eclipses (when the sun is obstructed by the moon, turning day into night), and full moons into lunar eclipses (when the moon is shadowed by the Earth, and its hue shifts from silver to red).

From an astrological perspective, the climaxes within the lunar cycle (often referred to as “lunations”) are ripe for magick. New moons are about setting intentions and planting seeds, while full moons are about releasing and letting go. But eclipses are lunations on steroids. This isn’t just a regular sun-moon tango. During eclipses, the luminaries are aligned with the south and north nodes, which represent your destiny’s past and future, respectively. Translation: Through the events that transpire during this period, the sun (which symbolizes identity, ego, and the physical) illuminates cracks in the surface, while the moon (which represents emotions and inner truths) unveils totally unexpected dimensions of the psyche that have the potential to catalyze massive breakthroughs and changes. While the regular lunar cycle addresses day-to-day events, eclipses propel powerful, life-changing events. And because of the celestial boost that this timing brings, whatever happens here on Earth has big-picture, long-term, and extraordinarily profound implications.


When do they happen?

Although witnessing an eclipse in person is an exciting experience (the route an eclipse follows is called the “path of totality” for a reason), eclipses actually occur across the world three to seven times each year, which means they’re not that rare. Eclipses always travel in pairs — a solar eclipse is followed by a lunar eclipse (or sometimes vice versa) — which is why astrologers (present company included) refer to this multi-week celestial twofer as “eclipse season.”

Interestingly, this eclipse season features two different “eclipse series.” An eclipse series lasts for approximately one and a half to two years and consists of anywhere between six to nine eclipses on a specific zodiacal axis. Eclipses are not isolated events; they’re actually part of multiyear stories: Each eclipse series tells a unique story linked to destiny, karma, and legacy, which unfolds over time. Remember that eclipses occur when the moon links up with the south and north nodes (the boundaries of its own orbit). These nodes operate on a different timeline than the luminaries — their orbit is referred to as the “saros cycle” — and take approximately 18 years to complete a full orbit. Accordingly, every nine years (the halfway point), we find ourselves revisiting that same powerful narrative. Pretty cool, right?

The first eclipse of the season — the solar eclipse in Aries on April 20 — was particularly notable because it kicked off an entirely new eclipse series across the Aries-Libra axis. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is all about “me,” whereas Libra (represented by the scales of balance) is associated with “we.” In addition to the most recent solar eclipse, mark your calendars for the future dates, as they will continue the Aries-Libra story line: October 14, 2023; March 25, 2024; April 8, 2024; October 2, 2024; and March 29, 2025.

The second eclipse this year, however, tells a different tale … literally. This lunar eclipse in Scorpio is part of the Taurus-Scorpio axis, which started in 2021 and continued to unfold over the past 18 months. Previous dates were November 19, 2021; April 30, 2022; May 16, 2022; October 25, 2022; and November 8, 2022. After this lunar eclipse, there’s only one eclipse on the Taurus-Scorpio axis remaining, which will take place on October 28, 2023.


And what do these particular eclipses signify?

The short answer for all eclipses: radical, cataclysmic, life-altering change. During an eclipse season, we all go through a metamorphosis. Why? Because — thanks to the influence of the north and south nodes — they’re linked to destiny. In fact, astrologers believe eclipses speed up time and perpetuate the inevitable by expediting events that were fated to occur and, likewise, shake up our current reality. For instance, if you’ve been casually cruising the classifieds for new jobs, don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly catapulted into a whole new professional trajectory during eclipse season. So if you’re on the wrong path, these upcoming eclipses will be sure to course-correct.

While people with planets or placements in a “cardinal sign” (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) or a “fixed sign” (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) may feel the impact of these particular eclipse series most strongly, everyone has each zodiac sign somewhere in their birth chart, which means this is truly a collective experience.

While eclipses are predictably unpredictable, I recommend exploring your personal “eclipse story” by reflecting on the previous iterations of the narrative. For the Aries-Scorpio tale, consider what was happening in your life from 2013 to 2016 — and how that was informed by the Taurus-Scorpio story that directly preceded it from 2012 to 2015. Keep in mind, however, that if those periods were difficult, challenging, or downright horrible for you, that does not mean this eclipse season is doomed. I repeat, that does not mean this eclipse season is doomed. Eclipses are all about breaking patterns and starting anew — what’s more, this particular eclipse series is the end of a cycle. How have your past experiences informed your present-day realities? What have you overcome? What have you learned? And how will continue that dynamic healing journey moving forward?

I recommend dedicating a journal to your eclipse breakthroughs and discoveries. Jot down your thoughts, feelings, hopes, wishes — and your fears, insecurities, or vulnerabilities. You are, after all, a beautiful spectrum of emotions and memories and electricity. Keep a record of what transpires in your life during eclipse season — by the time these eclipse series are over, everything will be different. The possibilities extend far beyond your wildest dreams, so allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.

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It’s Eclipse Season: What You Need to Know