If you’ve ever seen a movie protagonist dramatically subsumed by quicksand, you may be surprised to learn that such a fate is highly unlikely. Usually, even if you should accidentally stumble into one of these wet, sandy pits, you’ll only sink to waist level. That said, if you thrash and struggle to get out, you will be pulled under a bit deeper. And eventually, unable to escape, your greatest peril comes from predators, hypothermia, or dehydration, not from drowning.
It’s not the quicksand that takes you down. It’s the panic.
Most of us wander into metaphorical quicksand from time to time, into situations that overwhelm and incapacitate us. The instinct is to struggle mightily for escape, but that’s the wrong approach. What’s called for instead is a variation on the advice for escaping actual quicksand: Very gently move your legs to increase viscosity, and turn your body slightly so you can gradually float to the top.
Gentle motion, flexibility, and floating: These are your survival tools for this Pisces Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse. Because if there is an astrological equivalent to quicksand, a Pisces eclipse would pretty much have to be it. At times like this, surrender—not struggle—is the key.
But what happens if you were taught, as I was, that the way to succeed and find happiness in life is to work very hard? Born with Mars trine Saturn, brute force and determination was once my creed; but now that I’ve reached my mid-fifties, I’ve adopted a softer approach. The happiest and most successful people I know have figured out when to take it easy. They know that single-minded dedication to work is the surest way to kill creativity. They laugh easily, treat others with kindness, and walk lightly through the world. (Interestingly enough, many of them were born with the Sun in Pisces.)
It’s difficult to give up the addiction to struggle, though. It’s one thing to know, rationally, that flailing around will only take you deeper into the quagmire. It’s quite another to really understand it.
Look for the Pisces symbol in your birth chart. Is it on the cusp of a house or two? Are there planets in Pisces? These are your guideposts, marking the locations of the quicksand in your life. Pisces planets and houses describe the characteristics and situations that can suck you under and immobilize you. They also point the way to joy – but the path that leads there is not always obvious.
Three days after another eclipse at the same degree as this one (Sep. 16, 1997), my husband I closed escrow on our first house together. The entire experience felt like falling into quicksand, and we fought hard, with all our practical Virgo planets, to find solid ground. The harder we struggled, the deeper we sank and the more desperate we felt. (The degrees of that eclipse and this one, about 24 Pisces, fall in my fourth house—ruler of one’s home).
And that quicksand is where we built our home. In the nineteen years since we moved in, it’s taught us a lot about surrender. We learned that the house rebels at sudden change, so we tackle just a few small projects each year and do most of the work ourselves. Accordingly, it will not make the cover of American Bungalow magazine on our watch. But we learned early on to respect the place and to let it teach us at its own pace. We learned that if we stopped fighting with it, it would reward us with a loving sanctuary.
More and more, as my husband nears retirement age, we think about letting go of our little bungalow. California’s thermonuclear real estate market has made it more valuable than we could ever have imagined two decades ago. Financially, it makes all kinds of sense to sell it and move someplace less expensive, and free up some of that capital.
But that would be hard. It’s not just a house I’d be letting go, but my home, my teacher, and a big chunk of my heart. I’m not saying it would be impossible, but for now, too much of me rebels at the idea. The more I struggle with it, the deeper I sink.
The time will probably come though, eventually. With Neptune conjunct the Moon’s South Node at this eclipse, something is being washed away, something that no longer serves a purpose. And Saturn’s ongoing square to Neptune implies that the structures we’ve created to keep ourselves safe from loss and sadness are gradually being eroded, or need to be released. Saturn feels like the more formidable foe, but in a battle between these two titans, Neptune always wins. Water is the ultimate solvent, and even Saturn’s flinty mountains are no match for it.
There are moments to push and persevere, to climb mountains, but this isn’t one of them. The Pisces eclipse and Saturn square Neptune prescribe a different path, alongside an unchanneled river, where you can hear the breeze rustling through the reeds alongside the bank. And if you step into quicksand along the way, don’t struggle. Enjoy the delicious, slightly melancholy freedom of letting go. Relax, have faith, and wiggle your legs a little bit. In time, you’ll float right to the top.
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