In classical Leo style dramatics, this month kicks offbigtime with a total solar eclipse on the 1st (6.22pm AWT, 8.22 pm AET) and so the chart for the monthhas significance for many months to follow because ofthe deep psychic depth charge that an eclipse dropsinto our world.

On the simplest level, an eclipse in a sign like Leomagnifies all the Leonine qualities of this passionate,extravert individualist. This can make for brilliantleaders or aggravating egotists, depending on the individual'sself awareness. At the very least, this eclipse speaksvolumes about being oneself and expressing your essencedynamically in the world, the additional psychic voltagehaving the potential to blast through old, self limitingpatterns that have kept us small and contracted.

A new moon eclipse also highlights the potential fornew beginnings, for taking great creative leaps thatcan radically alter the way we steer our lives. As we'veseen in the last months, there is much energy and poweraround for making life changes that are deeply healing,transformative and can reconstruct our worlds to bemore in sync with the desires of our essence. This eclipsehas much that further empowers these goals.

But history tells us that there is always an unpredictableedge to an eclipse, of energies moving that are mysterious,subversive and deeply unsettling, if not downright frightening.I know of one spiritual teacher who discourages herstudents from going outside during their three hourpeaks, using the time to chant and meditate - not abad way to positively use the growthful aspects of theenergy. On a more worldly level though, as much as wecan talk about getting in sync with it, when we leap,inwardly or outwardly, the outcomes can never be guaranteed.It's one of those times that we pray our intuition isworking well!
The close aspects to the exact eclipse (9 degrees 32minutes) are interesting; conjunct Eros, giving it anadditional erotic charge; trining Persephone, BlackMoon, Diana and Juno, still in "Wild Women"mode in Sagittarius, (good to see the very masculineenergy of Leo in positive relationship with these potentaspects of the feminine); sextile Hygeia in Gemini,activating a serpent healing goddess and working inunion with Chiron exactly on the North Node; and finally,in a T-square with Vesta in Taurus and Psyche in Scorpio.

This last arrangement, the most obvious impedimentsto the flow of fire, brings the Leo energy into conflictwith an earthier feminine, one intent on containmentand holding the potency of things, and another thatrepresents an acute sensitivity to relationship andthe emotions of others. Both of these, and particularlythe latter, are qualities that Leo often finds too resistantand too caught up in the subtle psychic intricaciesof relating intimately to others. It's much easier touse the Leonine bravado to override these trickier placesand just power on. But you cannot simply ignore squares,as they demand that you work, and often work hard, onthe contradictions to get some more creative alternativehappening. The eclipse will certainly bring up somechallenging scenarios to get this happening.

On the topic of relationships, there are other challengesas Venus is on the South Node in Leo opposite Neptuneand Chiron, with a powerful and supportive trine toPluto.

The nodal influence here will bring up unresolved issuesfrom past history and previous relationships; sometimeseven bringing people back into our lives in order tocomplete certain karmas, clear unfinished business andachieve some form of closure. The Neptunian/Chiron factorsupports the same and ensures that the psychic-emotionalresidues of both recent and ancient pasts will be mobilisedas part of some deep cleansing and healing processesthat will eventually lead to healthier relationshipsin the future.

Whatever gets activated here will get major supportfrom Pluto to ensure that the power is there to makelong-lasting changes to or relationship dynamics. (Aword of warning! Venus/Neptune combinations can drawyou into impossible relationships that can look likethe love of your life. With Chiron also involved, watchout for falling in love with your therapist too!)

Venus' consort and mostly enthusiastic sexual partner,Mars, is in Virgo, where he is more likely to redirecthis passion into work, looking more like a celibatepriest than a celebrant of phallic potency (but giventhe nun/harlot dichotomy within Virgo, you get the senseof why it gets confusing on the sexual front). Howeverone is using this warrior in one's life, it's aboutto get significantly churned up, firstly by an oppositionto Uranus from the 7-11th and then by a square to Plutoon the partial lunar eclipse of the 17th. Both of theseare potentially dangerous lineups, the Uranian one havinga reputation for accidents and violence, the Plutonianone for power struggles and the surfacing of ancient,destructive rage.

It is important to be careful out there in the world,especially when doubled up with an eclipse, But theseare also powerful awakeners and transformers that seekto free up the expression of assertiveness and individuality,and to purify ancient toxins to allow the inner warriorsto function well and cleanly in our lives. As such,it is the perfect time to get in touch with these forcesand do some very deep healing.

Daniel Sowelu (B.Sc.Dip Ed) is a therapeutic astrologer,primal therapist and groupleader in his 21st year ofprivate practice.