The Total Lunar Eclipse with Mars in the Terrain of the Bull

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 there’s a Total Lunar Eclipse, visible over all of the Americas, coming to maximum at about 6 am eastern time, and caused by the fact that the Moon, now in front of the starry region of Aries and moving up through the region of Taurus, the Bull, is sweeping through the deep shadow of the Earth. In the history of the United States, this is the first time a lunar eclipse has coincided with election day.

It is significant to me that the Moon is moving up from Aries at eclipse into Taurus stars, where if you start watching the sky as early as 9 pm, and then throughout the night, you’ll notice the red planet Mars, occupying what Ernest Hemingway referred to as the “terrain of the bull,” right between its horns, which are marked in the sky by the stars Elnath, the “butting one,” and Tianguan, the “celestial gateway.” Passing through this gateway in the shadow of eclipse, without getting butted, and mindful that Mars is there as guardian, can seem like a daunting task, but with goodwill, and a bit of poetry in the heart, we’ll make our way. And for this, there is Emily Dickinson:

We grow accustomed to the Dark—
When Light is put away—
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye—

A Moment—We uncertain step
For newness of the night—
Then—fit our Vision to the Dark—
And meet the Road—erect—

And so of larger—Darknesses—
Those Evenings of the Brain—
When not a Moon disclose a sign—
Or Star—come out—within—

The Bravest—grope a little—
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead—
But as they learn to see—

Either the Darkness alters—
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight—
And Life steps almost straight.

At Total Eclipse, the Moon reflects to us our own shadow. Thoughts stream down in darkness, so it is good to be mindful of where we place our thoughts, and how best to encounter the force of Mars in our thinking. Ancient traditional holds that Mars is best approached through the meditative rhythm of mantra.

Preparation for Tuesday’s eclipse can also be helped by contemplating the larger rhythms in biography, such as events taking place nine months earlier (February 8, 2022, or even at Full Moon February 16, 2022), and holding a thought for what will come nine months from now, early August 2023.

Holding a lamp in the dark,


Find this episode on The Storyteller’s Night Sky podcast and Interlochen Public Radio.

Cover image: Mother earth imitating the sky overhead with these stems mimicking the Bull’s horns, the orange leaf at left, brilliant like the bull’s eye star Aldebaran, and the wave splashing just between the Bull’s horns, where the planet Mars can be seen overhead.