Subscribers to the horoscopes already know that I had my own private eclipse at the end of January: my darling mother died.
Here’s some of what I wrote then:
“She went back to bed one morning, feeling a little odd — and never got up. Yes, she had a Leo Moon, right in the path of that eclipse. Appropriately for me, at the heart of the eclipse was Ceres, the planet of motherhood and cherishing, and the only retrograde planet in the sky at that moment.
“My mother had some of the most enviable attributes of a Libra Sun — including grace. She went with no fuss, in her sleep, avoiding hospitals, tubes, interventions, and until the very last day she was active, alert and making life a little more beautiful for everyone around her.
“…I am writing this from my mother’s house, a big stone presbytery in the Montagne Noir in southern France. Since her death four days ago, the house has sprung leaks — all unrelated to each other — in the roof, spraying out of the wall, under the sink. The boiler and the dishwasher have both had to be replaced since Monday. Maybe the house is crying because my mother loved it, or maybe it’s leakng out all the pent up emotional energy of the last decades.
“I can’t help thinking of how these solid Saturnian walls are suddenly full of Neptunian leaks, leaks that were blocked by my mother’s will. (Not to mention the fact that my Neptunian father is on a days-long bender. It’s OK, he’s in hospital now on a saline drip.)
“Oh and while all this was happening I had to negotiate a feline hostage situation. The neighbours were threatening to have my dad’s horny, stinky, street-fighting cat castrated, because he’d gone nuts again in their house. They had him at the vet’s on the table. Cojones were saved for another week thanks to some rash promises from me. But they probably won’t stay in for long.
“So much drama — but then it is a Full Moon, Super-Duper Eclipserama in Leo, the sign that likes to shake its mane all over. Hey, do you think an almost-castrated cat counts as a Leo lunar eclipse event?”
Well, I’ve been a semi-orphan for a few weeks now — and, as those of you who have lost a parent will guess, I’m feeling strange, as if I have a new, tender hide. Sometimes I am floating.
I am sad, because I loved my mother and I was never able to see enough of her, but I also feel that her life was completed. Her book is closed, and like all good books, it had an exciting beginning, some excellent chapters, a bit of a muddle in the middle, tragedy and contention, a cast of diverse characters and a satisfying ending.
We are in between eclipses now — a moment to pause, gain clarity.
During the week of the January eclipse, my mother lay in the funeral parlour. She was buried that Friday.
This next eclipse on February 15 is spicy, sharp, liberating — Uranus and Mercury are at its heart. Both are also making exact aspects to my mother’s triple conjunction at 25° Libra (Sun-Mars-Lilith!).
I am going back to France with my eldest daughter. We will have my mother’s house to ourselves (most leaks repaired now, although after I wrote the above, the radiators started too; Dad in convalescent home). We will read my mother’s teenage diaries (communism, skiing in Grenoble, spaghetti on a primus) and cherish her watercolours (London in the 50s, Cairo in the 70s, France now); remember her young and gleeful, old and wise, middle-aged and powerful — happy, bitter, kind, cruel, weak, strong, loving. We will remember my mother’s hands. We will open all the windows and all the doors and let the cold mountain air whistle through the rooms and corridors. It has always been a house thick with spirits. We will polish the floors and wipe away the dust, bring in fresh flowers and change all the linen. We will do our best to set my mother’s spirit free.