While our experience of eclipses is usually strongest within a week either side of the eclipse itself, I’ve noticed that they’re also triggered when a New or Full Moon squares the eclipse point. This Full Moon at 28 degrees of Pisces/Virgo forms an activating square aspect to the December 21, 2010 lunar eclipse point at 29 degrees Sagittarius/Gemini. The April 3 New Moon at 13 Aries exactly squares the January 3, 2011 solar eclipse point. Certainly the crises implied by those intense eclipses – as well as by Uranus’ long-awaited ingress into Aries, and square to Pluto – are all around us, in revolutions small and large, and in a series of staggering natural disasters in Australia, New Zealand, and now Japan.
One of the better traits of human nature is our instinctive reaction to others in need: “How can I help?” In this modern age, and particularly in the case of disasters far from home, the most practical form of help usually takes the form of financial contributions to relief organizations. Historically, humanity has stepped up to the plate time and time again to contribute what we can.
Yet this morning I read that charitable giving in the wake of last week’s catastrophes in Japan is a fraction of the levels seen after comparable disasters. Almost a week after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, charitable donations stood at almost $25 million. This figure is startlingly low compared to $228 million raised in the same amount of time for Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake; $248 million after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005; and $227 million after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
There could be any number of reasons why people are not opening their wallets for Japan with comparable generosity. It’s an industrialized, affluent country with a stable government and a culture of stoic self-reliance. Dramatic television footage of the tsunami tended to emphasize damage to property over loss of human life. In the U.S., some point to our country’s complicated history with Japan as a possible deterrent to some normally charitable souls (though I hope they are few and far between). And not least, the economic climate has more and more of us scrambling to cover our own basic expenses, with little left over for others in need.
Interestingly, while my husband and I usually donate money immediately after a huge disaster anywhere in the world, it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that we ponied up for Japan. After reading about the low level of overall contributions, I pondered what took us so long. We aren’t rolling in dough, but we could afford a contribution, and we certainly have been moved by the disaster. Ultimately, I think we were just sort of numb in the initial days following the quake and tsunami. The devastation was too enormous to comprehend. How could our paltry contribution make the slightest difference?
This Full Moon positions the Sun in compassionate Pisces opposite the Moon in practical, helpful Virgo. Especially with so many other planets currently moving through the sign of the fishes, Pisces’ compassion can be so great that it becomes overwhelming. When awash in Pisces energy, we can feel like taking to our beds and pulling the sheets over our heads; the pain, suffering, and difficulty around us are just too much to bear.
This Full Moon in Virgo offers a helpful balance to compassion overload. Virgo is the sign of practical service; like a nurse who offers capable, soothing service day in, day out, in the face of relentless suffering, or the technician who methodically untangles your computer messes when you’re overwhelmed and ready to curl into a fetal position. The Sun in Pisces asks that we merge in empathy with everyone and everything; but the Moon in Virgo takes a practical and single-minded approach: just focus on each small detail in turn until bit by bit, you reach solutions.
Virgo insists on visible and measurable solutions. A reader recently commented on my blog, “I have been feeling more political, and less inclined to believe that we can change the world for the better through ‘New Agey’ means.” I believe to some extent in the power of ritual, in whatever form it takes, whether prayer, chanting, candle-burning, or other well-intentioned gestures to invisible forces. But with several planets in Virgo, I confess that I have stronger faith in the power of practical action to change the world. Meditate, do your rituals, beseech the gods for mercy… and then roll up your sleeves and get to work. That could mean volunteering time to a relief organization, holding a yard sale and donating the proceeds to charity, or simply writing a check for an amount that seems much too small to help.
The message of this Full Moon in Virgo: Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Break problems down into discrete, manageable components, and attend to each in turn. Even when the world’s pain and troubles — or our own — threaten to overwhelm us, there is always something we can do to help.
Here’s a helpful list of suggested relief organizations with a strong presence in Japan.
For every Moonshadow Eclipse Report order in March and April, 50% of all sales will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, an organization providing medical disaster relief around the world, including in Japan.
© 2011 April Elliott Kent
All right reserved