Every once in a while my subconscious presents a dream while I am sleeping that, upon awakening, I realize is basically a little symbolic mini-movie of some facet of current astrology. Last night — or this morning, actually, I had one of these experiences.

Catching the Taurus Full Moon, just after the partial lunar eclipse, from the Peaks Island Ferry on Oct. 28, 2023. Photo by Amanda Painter (added after this piece was published).

In my dream, I was dancing contact improv: a type of improvisational partner dance in which shared weight, shared dynamic tension, and being open to the unknowns in a continuously evolving shared moment can create tremendously creative dances. My partner for the dance, strangely, was a distant acquaintance with whom I have not had much meaningful contact in more than a decade. Yet he’s someone who shares some common languages of self-understanding and meaning-making with me.

As we were dancing in this dream, he introduced some erotic contact to the dance. That’s not something that is generally part of contact improv, yet in the dream it was quite enjoyable, playful, and reciprocated during the very brief scenario.

Awake, I wondered what on Earth could have prompted my subconscious to choose that particular dance partner, and then it hit me: this man is a Gemini with a very strong Mars energy. The ruling planet of Gemini is Mercury.

I’m going to explain why that matters in a moment. Stay with me.

Today at 4:24 pm EDT is the Taurus Full Moon, opposite the Scorpio Sun. Every Full Moon is an opposition between the Sun on one side of the Earth and the Moon on the other side, lined up to reflect the Sun’s light so brightly that not only can we see the Moon clearly, but the reflected light semi-illuminates the landscape around us. It’s a great metaphor for the way the “shadowy” lands of our subconscious can come to light during a Full Moon.

In astrology, planets in opposition to each other often get interpreted as some kind of conflict: two different energies pulling us in different directions. Yet you can also think of an opposition as a face-to-face meeting: two people looking squarely at each other, seeing the other side clearly, and knowing where they stand and what they need to negotiate about.

Or, you can think of it like partner dancing: two people facing each other, making contact, and agreeing to move energy together, in sync with one another somehow. But most traditional forms of partner dancing have a leader and a follower: one person making the decisions, and the other person going along with it.

This is why I’m getting such a kick out of the fact that my subconscious chose contact improv as the type of partner dance: it has no “leader” or “follower.” Or rather, those roles get swapped back and forth fluidly, by mutual agreement and with unexpected results that both parties then flow with. I might move in a certain way and with a certain intention, but my movement then prompts my dance partner to respond in a way that I did not expect — but which opens up a whole new and fascinating trajectory for both of us. And so on, back and forth, until one or both people feel they’ve arrived at an ending of some sort.

You could call it “active negotiation in dance form,” though all the negotiations usually take place without words (unless suddenly necessary for safety’s sake). There’s a continuous back-and-forth between pushing edges and returning to security, speeding up and slowing down, stillness and motion, “yes” and “no,” grace and awkwardness.

To come back to tonight’s Full Moon: we’re used to experiencing Full Moons as moments of intensity, but they can also be opportunities to see what’s facing us, and to choose some form of negotiation or dance rather than a standoff or blowup. Some Full Moons are more amenable to that than others, as are personal circumstances.

When a Full Moon is also a lunar eclipse, the face-to-face meeting of the Sun and Moon gets briefly interrupted by the Earth, lined up so perfectly (or almost, for a partial eclipse) that its shadow blocks the transmission of light. There’s a disruption in the usual dance right at its peak — and then the dance continues, but perhaps not quite the way it would have if it had not been interrupted.

So, back to my dream. The reason I found my subconscious choice of dance partner so delightful is that, hanging out in Scorpio not far from the Sun today are Mars and Mercury (two significant planets for this man in my dream) in a close conjunction. A conjunction describes a merging of two planetary energies or themes; in this case, the mental and the physical. They’re also in Scorpio, a sign known for its intense sexual energy — and for deep emotional transformation.

Meanwhile, the Moon entered Taurus (a sign I identify with) right around when I woke up from my dream. By the time of the eclipse, it’ll be closer to Jupiter. Jupiter describes the expansion of whatever it’s in contact with, for better and for worse, and right now it’s working that magic in the earthy, sensual, body-centered sign of Taurus.

Not only that, but Mercury and Mars are themselves exactly opposite Jupiter, engaged in their own “dance,” negotiating tension and release. It could feel like determination to succeed and solve problems, optimistic about the outcome and lucky in the results. It could feel like arrogant communication and actions, stubborn willfulness in asserting opinions and desires.

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been exhibiting both of those extremes recently, and it’s made me feel a little out of step with many people around me at times. Yet I’m also aware of how the current sky is hooking into my birth chart to exacerbate that — for better and for worse.

For many, many people right now, the dominant emotions heading into today’s eclipse have been incredibly strong fear, heartbreak, grief, uncertainty, worry, anxiousness, a lack of feeling safe — and only very recently some relief. It will likely take a while for that relief to sink in. Collective trauma sends its roots deep.

We need some time and some extra support and resources to process it all. Today’s astrology describes, in part, a reminder of the reservoirs of emotional and physical energy that are available in yourself and in others close to you, even if you’re not feeling it at the moment. It’s okay not to be okay, and it’s okay to ask for help.

I think the astrology — and my dream — also suggest that this weekend is a valuable opportunity to discharge some intense energy and emotion that might have had no place to go this week.

Find your “dance partners”: the people who can meet you where you are, face to face, and who want to share your weight and give you theirs, back and forth; who can take the lead when you can’t; who are willing to follow your lead when you feel called in a specific direction; who understand that the unknown can be terrifying, and that under the right circumstances it can also be a creative and energizing space where beautiful connection can bring surprising joy; who are able to grieve with you in whatever ways you need to for as long as you need to, and celebrate when it’s time.

In the days before a Full Moon, tension builds; after a Full Moon, tension often resolves. Eclipses are wild cards, but they can be incredibly useful.

I really fucking wish I could flip back the calendar and erase the events of Wednesday night in Lewiston, Maine. All I can do is at least one small thing today, or maybe tomorrow or the next day, that feels like True North in my heart. May you be able to do the same.

With love,


Simplified chart for the Taurus Full Moon and partial lunar eclipse, showing only objects in Taurus (Moon, Jupiter, Uranus) and Scorpio (Sun, Mercury, Mars, and asteroid Ceres), plus the nodes of the Moon. When a Full Moon or New Moon occurs near the lunar nodes, we get an eclipse. The lunar nodes are points in space that indicate where the orbit of the Moon around the Earth intersects the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. The North Node (orange horseshoe pointing up, currently in Aries) represents the unknown path forward or dharma; the South Node (orange horseshoe pointing down, currently in Libra) represents olds habits or karma.

You can see a fully populated chart for this eclipse at the bottom of my horoscopes post.

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