The radio program This American Life recently devoted an entire episode to the topic of summer camp. Most of the kids that were interviewed loved camp, its rituals, language, and most of all, the feeling of belonging. Some said they thought about camp all year long, speaking “camp language” to bewildered hometown friends. A few even grew up to become counselors at the same camps they attended as children.
Listening to this program was as close as I’ll probably ever come to eavesdropping on actual aliens. I’m the molecular opposite of a summer camp girl. The few times I went away to camp, I was the miserable kid who counted the hours until it was time to leave. I loved being outdoors, but the enthusiastic singalongs and team-oriented activities – the Aquarian territory – made me clench up inside like a horrified fist. I was born when Jupiter was transiting Aquarius, but it was also opposed by a jumbo serving of Leo planets at the time. I’m simply not built for groups.
To this day, whenever I attend conferences (my profession’s version of summer camp), I hide out a lot, maintaining radio silence while conserving my solar energy for presenting lectures. I marvel at my socially adept colleagues, rock stars who glide through the days in glittering, confident packs. They clearly love camp, in the way I always imagine I will—until I get there, and find that I’m counting down the hours until I’m back in my quirky little home.
This Full Moon–a lunar eclipse in Aquarius–is designed to give a full and truthful accounting of how well we’re navigating Aquarius’ territory. The Full Moon never lies. It’s that interval in the lunar cycle when not even the night time is dark enough to hide our hurts, fears, and flaws. Are you a happy Aquarian camper? Are you spending time with people who engage your finest qualities, or do you disappear in a group, unappreciated and overlooked? Is there room within your tribe for disagreement and individualism, or is nonconformity quickly punished? It’s great to feel that you belong, and miserable to realize that you don’t. But whichever is usually true for you, it’s helpful to give yourself a little silence and space to remember who you are on your own, celebrate your own rituals, and create your own language.
Looking back through previous years when lunar eclipses fell near this same degree (see the end of this article for a list), I see a pattern of exile, of adjusting to new environments and feeling (or actually being) estranged from friends and colleagues. Each of these eclipse times was painful enough that I remember it vividly, even the ancient, prehistoric ones. But there’s another thread that runs through that tapestry of years, a golden thread of solitude led that led me to fecund creativity. I located my source, identified my destination, and eventually returned from exile a truer and more courageous version of myself.
Without fresh blood and innovative ideas, the in-group echo chamber grows stale. That’s why even the most happily Aquarian among us can benefit from an occasional retreat from the fold. You certainly don’t have to give up your friends for good, but a little time alone wouldn’t hurt at this Full Moon. Step away from social media and shut off your phone for a few days. Left to your own devices, you might discover interests and inspiration that can only be found on your own.
The August 21 New Moon, one of the most talked-about Solar Eclipses in years, takes place in individualistic Leo. Solar Eclipses are unsettling and can push the qualities of their sign into overdrive, and when Leo qualities are exaggerated they look an awful lot like bluster and vanity. By maintaining radio silence for a little while before the big event, you might reclaim a stronger sense of self and will naturally express positive Leo energy instead—creative inspiration, honest pride, courage, self-expression, and leadership.
Each trip to Aquarius Eclipse camp has left me feeling lonely and a little bit isolated for awhile. But ultimately, they’ve helped me build an unshakeable self-reliance. Let this Full Moon one do the same for you. Spend a little time rediscovering the truth in yourself and gaining perspective on who you are and what you want. Then, you’ll be ready to stride out onto your personal Serengeti, strong, tall, and proud—and that’s how your real tribe will find you.
Eclipses near 15.25 Aquarius recently took place on Aug. 6, 1971 (lunar), Feb. 4, 1981 (solar), Aug. 6, 1990 (lunar), Aug. 8, 1998 (lunar), Feb. 5, 2000 (solar), Feb. 7, 2008 (solar), and Aug. 6, 2009 (lunar).
© 2017 April Elliott Kent