Reprinted with permission from Mooncircles.

Chances are, we've never met - and yet, I know something about you. Without a doubt, right at this moment, there is a dramatic relationship change going on in your life. This month's eclipses in Libra and Aries carry an easy-to-parse message: your relationship style has outlived its usefulness. Don't feel bad. I'm in the same boat. We all are.

Eclipses are freakish moments when the world ceases to function the way we expect it to. The air turns prickly and the sky turns dark and we panic a little, the way you might if the electricity suddenly went out on a cold, windy night when you're home alone. Objectively, you know you're safe. But during eclipse times, objectivity is not on the menu. Your perceptions have been altered, and you're not sure you can trust your instincts.

Place the eclipse in a sign of the zodiac, and the landscape comes into sharper focus. With eclipses in Libra and Aries, your perceptions have changed about who you are in relation to others. For too long you've been asleep at the wheel, with your relationships and self-image set on cruise control. Now, an oncoming vehicle is blaring his horn, trying to wake you up before you crash. Startled, you might overcorrect, swinging the wheel too sharply in the wrong direction. If you've found yourself overreacting lately to perceived slights, or to the flaws of others, the old psychological chestnut probably holds true: that we're most annoyed by those who reflect our own doubts, fears, and weaknesses.

So your perceptions have changed, and it's time to reevaluate your relationships. But relationship is a fairly inclusive rubric, isn't it? You have a relationship with your spouse, and you have one with your postal delivery person; today, you got along fine with one, but picked a fight with the other. What gives?

By transposing this month's eclipse onto your birth chart, we can pinpoint where the relationship skeletons are buried. A solar eclipse at 10.19 Libra (Oct. 3), and a lunar eclipse at 24.13 Aries (Oct. 17): where do these points fall in your birth chart? Is it your third house? Siblings, neighbors, even something you read can present themselves as agents of change, challenging you to weigh new insights against your cherished beliefs. Fifth house? Perhaps an old, beloved friend or lover from your past has turned up to remind you who you used to be... back before you decided that you'd rather be someone else.

Let's say one of these eclipses fell in your tenth house, which could spell big problems with your parents or boss. But as it happens, you're a self-employed orphan. You're sitting on easy street, right? I'm afraid not. For there are innumerable tenth house ways in which your relationship with yourself can be dysfunctional, so many tenth house matters and individuals upon which to project your shaky self-image. Authority figures in the government, in the movies, on TV; your relatives, especially the bossy ones; people in a position to offer you fame, or at least a higher level of visibility in your career. Are you willing to dethrone these powerful figures and take charge of your own life? Maybe, maybe not; but either way, it's doubtful you're completely comfortable with the idea.

A final layer: Have you any natal planets within a few degrees of the eclipse points and in a cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn)? Because if you do, this climate of relational change is challenging you at a pretty fundamental level; for you, these will be significant, long-term shifts in perception. One friend of mine recently made a dramatic career change (eclipse in his tenth house) that has coincided with the beginning of a new romance (eclipse square the North Node in his seventh house). The career change is permanent; it remains to be seen whether the romance will be. But for the first time in years, shaken awake by the career transition and liberated from his old self-image, he can at least imagine the possibility of a long-term relationship.

Eclipses simply tell you that a crisis has arisen, and something in your life must change. There are no guarantees that the changes will be permanent or positive, just that they must happen. And while the storm swirls around you and alters the landscape of your life, there you stand, motionless in the deceptively still eye of the hurricane. For you, my friend, are the constant. The eclipse is in your chart. All this turmoil has nothing to do with your boss, your mother, or the checker at the supermarket. You are the one who fell asleep at the wheel of your life; but bless you, you are trying to wake up, and you are unconsciously enlisting others to act as your alarm clock. That's why the people who are messing with your head and freaking you out the most, deserve your tacit thanks.

It seems kind of complicated, but it's not really. This is a familiar dance you've done before, when eclipses made close aspects to the same points in your chart (most recently in 1991/1992, 1995/96, 2000/2001). Then, as now, you were dancing in relationships that suddenly spun off in unexpected directions. Who was your dance partner then? Did you give the next dance to someone else? Or did you break your ankle and spend some time on the sidelines, avoiding dancing altogether?

Maybe that old break has completely healed - but I'll bet if we looked closely we would detect the tiniest hairline crack, such as you might find on a vase that was broken and glued back together. It'll never be the same as it was before the break. You'll never be the same person you were before life and relationships happened to you; every person you've loved has left a hairline fracture. During this month of eclipses, you'll find yourself lifting the vase up to the light to see how well the glue is holding.

You were asleep, you see, and someone has been trying to wake you up. The sister who sits across the ideological fence from you, the lover who took the breakup badly, the friend who talks down to you. They can't tell you who you are, but they can offer a glimpse into what it's like to be in a relationship with you. Chances are, they're not telling you anything you haven't heard a dozen times before. But maybe this time you'll be ready to listen.

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