Between the annual San Diego Pride Parade and Comic Con, our local streets have been full of colorful characters lately. Though I personally have no desire to dress up and cavort in the summer heat for any purpose, I fully support the right of others to do so. That’s what democracy is all about – taking a respectful, live-and-let-live approach to our fellow humans.

Back in the day, we all dwelt in tribes and depended on each other for survival. But over the years, “tribalism” has taken on a sinister meaning. Loyalty to your own group or party all too often means excluding and decimating those who think, look or act differently from you.

This fear-based thinking has brought us to a critical turning point in our evolution as a species. As we stand on the precipice of the Aquarian Age, humankind faces a collective choice between allowing the shadow side of Aquarius to prevail or cultivating its more evolved expression. Will we continue to separate from others and believe we are superior to them? Or will we embrace respect and equality to ensure that all life on this planet survives?

These may seem like heavy questions for a summer’s day, but this is an extraordinary summer. And most likely a fateful one. This is due in part to a total lunar eclipse, the longest of the century and therefore extremely powerful (July 27, 1:20 pm PDT, lasting one hour and 43 minutes at totality). This Aquarius Full Moon eclipse is visible only in the Eastern Hemisphere, but that doesn’t negate its power to shake things up all over. Since it joins retrograde Mars and the karmic South Node, this eclipse is a tipping point that has the potential to usher us into the Aquarian Age and quicken a paradigm shift.

The Mars retrograde cycle (late June thru late August) spotlights the shadow masculine energy in a dramatic bid to expose and transform it. Mars opposing the Sun at this eclipse creates an energetic portal for clearing old, stuck energy so that something radically new can come in. Trickster Mercury also turns retrograde this week, urging us to retrace our steps and review past actions so we can clearly see where we’ve been and avoid making the same mistakes again. A square from rebellious Uranus to the eclipse throws yet another wild card into the mix, making this a week in which everything from mayhem to miracles can happen.

When the light symbolically goes out at the eclipse and what’s in the shadows gets revealed, we must be brave in facing and banishing what we see. Because the energies are so crazy this week, take extra care while driving, and limit travel if possible. Plans will change, so stay flexible. Once Sept. arrives, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to launch new projects and forge ahead. Meanwhile, stay grounded and hold your center. Know that you are protected, and that this is all building toward a much-needed shift.

The Aquarius Full Moon is a good time to ritually cleanse yourself. Here is a great purification ritual from Dana Gerhardt at Mooncircles to help you release whatever you no longer need.

To find out what this summer’s eclipses might mean for you (there’s yet another to come on Aug. 11), be sure to order your personalized copy of April Elliott Kent’s terrific Followed by a Moonshadow report.

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