Eclipses were the ancient astrologer’s predictive tool. The original omen of the future, when eclipses appeared in the sky, foreboding and awe would pass over the collective. This awe was the source of strange superstitions; people might cover their windows and stay indoors during an eclipse. And their awe wasn’t unfounded – because huge shifts, like the overthrow of Kings, deaths of people in power, and big news took place around eclipse time (this made the astrologers of yore either very popular or conversely very unpopular, depending on whether they were allied with the winner).

Ancient fears may not have been unfounded – perhaps just misunderstood. It was our ancestors’ natural fear of the unknown which may’ve alloted the eclipse it’s god-like power. Of course, back then there were no evolutionary astrologers hanging around, an astrologer who might suggest that instead of pulling the covers over our head we might look ahead like visionaries and embrace the next step of the journey. Because whatever happens during an eclipse time – birth/death/and everything in between – one thing’s for certain: we are making a huge forward leap in consciousness. Eclipses loudly proclaim, “It’s time to grow beyond where we’ve previously been!” And in the sign of Aquarius, the evolution of revolution is near.

As we sit on the threshold of a new era, the Aquarius New Moon Eclipse has done its job: power has changed hands and we have a “power to the people” kind of leader. He may be a Leo Sun sign, but the combined facts – that he’s the first African-American to hold this office, that he’s told more truth in his campaign and first few days of office than the presidency of the last 8 years, and his campaign message is “Yes WE Can” – all exclaim “Aquarius!” He practices radical inclusion, and as a result of a collective need for progress, many Republicans (many of whom voted for him) and Democrats have joined together under the sheer visionary power and genius of “dreams, progress, change and hope” These are Aquarian ideals. He reminds us that forward-thinking intelligence tempered by judicious restraint, with feet firmly planted in the common good, we all can create a better future together. Barack Obama re-welcomes us to the Age of Aquarius.

Or does he? Progress happens. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does feel that way around eclipse season. Eclipses act like cosmic slingshots, moving faster than the speed of light, playing with our sense of proportion, throwing our ideas about timing (and our timelines) out the window all while making it impossible to plan for the future. We’ve been propelled into all space and time and a future we may or may not have guessed at (eclipses are, after all, unpredictable!) and this feels slightly surreal. So where does that leave us today, other than slightly jostled, and feeling like a time-traveler of the newest Aquarian Age?

While examining the contents of a solar eclipse like this one, we might take stock of where we are today by asking, is it so different from where we were yesterday? When a big leap like this has occurred, it surely sets a precedent for what’s to come, but on the subject of future progress, the future remains mysteriously silent. So we’ve made a leap. But because eclipses fall in larger (and then larger) cycles we are also still poised for that leap. Many of us, in the wake of a monumental collective and/or personal change, wonder ‘something’s shifted…but what’s really changed’ (After all, if times were really so progressive, wouldn’t Kings still have court astrologers?) So gazing into the shadow-y darkness the eclipse of Aquarius I wonder aloud: how will our new leader handle the Aquarian shadow – the tribal pressure of conformity?

Every Aquarian lives with the grating friction of choosing between prevailing social pressures, and the overwhelming need to be true to oneself. It’s the conflict between working in a job that costs their freedom, or of being married at the price of independence. It’s being asked by a lover to spend their evenings with them instead of at a meditation center where the Aquarian would glimpse of a world without separation. It’s being a lifeline for a suicidal friend for an extended time, at the cost of writing time on that book of theirs that would deliver manna of insight for more than one person. It’s being asked by a group of people -say the government – to make a choice that will benefit one group but inevitably take energy away from another. There’s a price for progress, and if it doesn’t involve betraying someone, it’s at the expense of the Aquarian.

My guess about how this new presidency will turn out is as good as yours. But if I were elected his court astrologer my astrological best guess is that in the coming months, our Aquarius Eclipse president may have a hard time making everyone happy. He may have to betray some folks who have very specific needs and wishes for him. It’s an impossible task to begin with, right? The biggest danger for Aquarian is dealing with the herd mentality, and it’s a slippery danger, because the Aquarian mind is altruistic. Unlike falling for the obvious, say, the Capricorn lure of greed, Aquarius remains guided by idealism: all for one, and one for all! He/she can sell out with the best of intentions by attempting to make everyone happy – which he loves to do.

If you’ve ever had an Aquarian friend, it might be difficult to think the Individualist possesses an overwhelming need to be accepted. But if you’ve ever stared into the heart of an Aquarian, you’ve glimpsed this: how lonely it is to carve out one’s own path, to be the representative of what’s never been done before (which every Aquarian in his own right, is). Being un-popular is part and parcel with what every Aquarian must do – which is go against the prevailing grain. Obama has a group of allies and friends around him, and since he’s a Leo, his popularity may never be in serious question. Still. If I put myself in his shoes for a second, I can imagine how the pressure to make everyone happy might gnaw at his heart. It’s easy to imagine, at least for me, our new Mr. President, assuming his seat behind the oval office desk every morning, wondering with a lump in his throat: “Who will I be asked to betray today? My self…or the people I love?”