July 16 is an astrologically eventful night, bringing us a full buck moon and partial lunar eclipse. What does that all mean? Let’s break it down. First, each month's full moon has different traditional names. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, July’s full moon is called the buck moon or thunder moon, because it coincides with the time of year when a buck’s antlers are full grown and thunderstorms are frequent.
Next, a lunar eclipse only occurs during a full moon. It happens when the sun, moon, and Earth align in such a way that the Earth’s shadow moves over the face of the moon. This month brings us a partial lunar eclipse, so the Earth’s shadow will be seen on only part of moon. While much of the world — including most of Australia, Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia — will be able to see the partial lunar eclipse, the majority of North America is out of luck. A total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a blood moon, because of the reddish tinge that can sometimes be seen on the moon during the eclipse. Because this is a partial lunar eclipse, some are calling it a “half-blood moon.”
Now that we’ve worked that out, what does this mean in astrology? “The easiest way to think about lunar eclipses is that they're full moons — but with the volume turned all the way up,” explains Jessica Lanyadoo, host of the weekly astrology podcast Ghost Of A Podcast. In astrology, full moons are a time for clarity and completion, a time when everything comes out in the open — which makes sense when you consider how bright the full moon is.
“The full effects of eclipses take up to six months to be fully unpacked, but you're likely to feel them intensely as they happen,” Lanyadoo adds. “The lunar eclipse on the 16th is a powerful time for releasing; whether you need to let go of a habit, a relationship, or even the past, the energy is there to help you. The downside of this is that if you don't use this energy to transform what you've outgrown, you're likely to be confronted by drama, or find yourself caught up in obsessive and self-destructive thoughts, or projecting past hurts onto current situations.”
During a lunar eclipse, the sun, the moon, and the Earth “are tightly aligned and create an intense luminary that brings extreme light upon Earth,” astrologer Lisa Stardust adds. “This means that we are finally awakened from our slumber, as we are now able to see situations and people clearly with the bright light cast upon Earth.”
At the time of a lunar eclipse, the sun and the moon “oppose each other in their respective signs,” Stardust adds. “They tug against each other and create tension.” On July 16, the moon will be in Capricorn, opposing the sun in Cancer.
The planets come into play, too. “Restrictive Saturn, transformative Pluto, and illusive Neptune will all be triggered by this lunar eclipse (all these planets are retrograde, which means we are coming to terms with the past),” Stardust adds. “All these planets may cause havoc in our personal lives — but, they can also create change. We are letting go of the limits that hold us back and evolving into the person of our dreams. We are seeing things and others for who they are. We are letting go of the restrictions that hold us back.”