The 1896 Quadricycle was Henry Ford’s first attempt to build a gasoline-powered automobile. He patched together an iron frame, a leather belt, a chain drive, a buggy seat and a primitive ignition system. The result was sketchy, but it ran! Ford sold the Quadricycle for $200, then used the money to build his second car – which evolved, by 1908, into the best-selling Model T. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Commercially, the Quadricycle may have been a failure, but to Ford it was an invaluable learning experience. It helped him get closer to his vision of an affordable, reliable vehicle. He didn’t allow himself to get sidetracked by doubts or naysayers. He just regrouped and tried again.
Unlike Ford, most of us do not welcome failure or celebrate our mistakes. We prefer to hide them or despair about what went wrong – whether relationships that tanked or career and financial disappointments. Yet it’s possible to change our thinking about this. Sweden has an actual Museum of Failure, which celebrates over 100 unsuccessful products from the Sony Betamax to the 1957 Ford Edsel. And I remember reading a while back about a Hollywood restaurant where each time a server makes a mistake – delivers the wrong food, breaks a glass – they immediately shout it out, and everyone claps and cheers. Imagine how different life would be if we honored the things that didn’t work out. Without them, we could never have progressed to where we are today, or deepened into who we’ve become.
As we enter the potent field of the Sagittarius Full Moon total eclipse (May 26, 4:13 a.m. PDT), it’s good to keep an open mind to whatever may transpire. Not that failures are necessarily on the horizon, but as April Elliott Kent wisely put it in her recent webinar on the topic, eclipses are all about crisis. Especially when they trigger a planet or an angle in your natal chart, she said, they’re meant to startle you into deeper awareness – whether through happy or sad events that act as turning points in your life. (To learn how the upcoming eclipses are likely to affect you, order April’s terrific report, Followed by a Moonshadow).
The upcoming eclipse happens at 5 degrees Sagittarius, so anyone with important points from one to nine degrees of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces will be affected. It’s a South Node eclipse, which is about release and letting go. And since it falls in Sagittarius, the sign of doctrines, judgments, faith and vision, it may call you to part ways with old beliefs and ways of life that are no longer serving you. But as April noted, since the Full Moon squares optimistic Jupiter, this eclipse brings reason for faith in the future. Bear in mind, however, that there are still more to come. The June 10 Gemini solar eclipse is part of this eclipse family (which runs from June 2020 to Dec. 2021), and the full story may not be told until later this year.
Meanwhile, we’re itching to be on the move. Yet strict Saturn will have just turned retrograde on May 23 (through Oct. 10), which can feel restrictive or insist that we obey the rules. The upcoming lunar eclipse also occurs just prior to Mercury’s backward turn on May 29 (through June 22). We’ll all be feeling a strong freedom urge over the coming weeks, but may be stymied in our attempts to move ahead quickly. Mercury is retrograde in intelligent Gemini, one of the signs that it rules, which makes this a good time to think carefully about where we’re going and how best to get there.
The total lunar eclipse, though not visible in the U.S., will closely trigger our natal Uranus (rebellion and change) and our Ascendant-Descendant axis (us vs. them). Since the Nodes are involved at an eclipse, fateful or unexpected events are possible. For example, May 25, the day before the eclipse, is the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. This could act as a lightning rod for expressions of freedom, justice and rebellion. It is a Full Moon in extroverted, fiery Sagittarius, after all! The U.S. may also experience some intense interactions with other countries around this time.
In your personal life, take time to review the past over the next few weeks. Look for the learning in your “failures” and uncover any hidden prejudices that you’re ready to shed. Unshackle yourself from old ways of perceiving yourself and the world. Keep your eye on the prize. And if, God forbid, you should fail or make a mistake, just raise a toast to the pragmatic Mr. Ford – and give yourself a round of applause for not giving up!