by Boots Hart, CAP
Although the having a trio of eclipses served up in a single season isn't common cosmic fare, it's certainly not unheard of. We had our plates loaded with a threesome of eclipses back in May/June 2002, and a cosmic buffet will spice life up come June/July 2011. More important to us at the moment is this year's dish: a solar eclipse sandwich which, like the 2002 trio, is composed of one solar eclipse between two lunar eclipses. (Hold the mayo, right!)
Astronomically, a lunar eclipse occurs when Earth aligns with a full moon so that Earth (the reality of our lives) stands between the Sun (will, vital activity) and Moon (emotions, memory). The Earth blocks the Sun's light, keeping it from reaching and reflecting off the lunar surface. Referred to astrologically as not just an event but a transit, lunar eclipses typically evolve over three months: a "season" of earthly life.
They're considered such emotional times because a full moon is when moonlight is at its brightest and "fullest." Remember, moonlight isn't "generative"—the Moon doesn't create light. The Moon reflects, hence its association with memories, reactivity and responses—which is what emotions are, our response to opportunities, people and moments in our lives.
Normally, the full moon is a time of peaking. It's a cosmic "turning of the tides," which with every month signals the end of taking in, building, and pushing to make things happen. For a moment we pause and…reflect. Fully. We celebrate the good, and accept where things didn't go well. (Note: we don't have to like it, we just have to accept it!) Then the moment is over. We go back to everyday doings.
In the case of a lunar eclipse, just as the tide crests, and our hopes culminate, something intervenes: Earth. The reality of a life we're rooted in but don't always have much perspective on interrupts the moment. Does this mean lunar eclipses are always problematic? No, but they are generally grounding and can bring us back to Earth lickety-split! They also tend to be highly punctual, which is fitting since the Moon is Earth's local timekeeper: Earth's orbit around the Sun marks a 365.2422-day year, while the 29.53-day orbit of Moon around Earth is a geo-cosmic month.
And yes, in case you're into math you're right—these orbit times don't interface neatly. In fact, to scramble this egg a bit more, there are several versions of this lunar orbit thing. Maybe you've heard the lunar month expressed as 27.3217 days long? It's that too—but only if you clock Moon phases against the "fixed" stars of that universe out there. That cycle is called a sidereal lunar month and is a different critter than the (29.53-day) lunar month timed by clocking lunar phases against our planet, sweet planet Earth. Called the synodic month, this synodic Earth/Moon cycle times our reality (Earth) against our experiences of life and how we feel about that (the Moon).
This sidereal/synodic thing is interesting also because it juxtaposes life as it could (or should?) be—lunar emotions as posed against the universal infinity—with what it really is, otherwise known as what we need to deal with as residents of Earth. And that's echoed by two other cyclic variations—on when, why, and how often eclipses repeat. One was discovered by the Chaldeans of ancient Babylon sometime around 2,100 BCE. They saw existence as a spiritual contiguous emanation—a "universal connectiveness" which we modern folks tend to encounter in religion, metaphysics and Jungian psychology. Meanwhile, our external life goes on being governed by facts and real-time events—the logical world view more reflective of Hellenistic Greece, when science parted ways with philosophy, religion, astrology and metaphysics, giving rise to the modern "fact is just fact" thing.
In said Greek times, a guy named Meton discovered that eclipses repeat every 235 synodic lunar months (call it 19 years). Being a modest type, he called this the Metonic cycle—a catchy name which caught on big-time. And if you do enough research on Metonic cycles, you realize they prove at least one old expression true: Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
They also seem to give us a nice timer for nifty discoveries—discoveries being a moment when what has been historically true, or true all along (Moon), is revealed in current time as a reality (Sun). For instance, 1990 was when scientists found a giant meteor crater explaining the Iridium-laden K-T geologic boundary, neatly tying up the mystery of why dinosaurs went extinct. That being 19 years ago, we all may soon be in for some other highly revealing treat. And yes, we also shouldn't hang around with large meteors. Nor should we run on instinct like dinosaurs did.
But the fact that the basis for this repetition is synodic and not sidereal validates two other ideas. One is that over time, small differences (i.e., the two-day difference between a sidereal and synodic month) really do matter. (Yes, mom and your teachers were right!)
And two, that to be Hellenistic about the whole thing, once you get past a fork in the road where science goes one way and philosophy, religion and astrology go another, it's probably more correct to describe the Earth-oriented synodic cycle as…factual. Intellectual. Realistic. And that in turn is a big comment on lunar eclipses. Emotional though the Moon may symbolically be, because lunar eclipses result directly from Earth getting in the middle of cosmic doings, lunar eclipses would seem to be about life's realities—that is, about living in the present. Thus the high emotions associated with lunar eclipses may really just be a reflection of that realization. Or they may be the emotions which go along with yanking life out of the past and getting it back into present-tense gear. The past may be interesting and rich, but today is where we go about building for tomorrow. Sorting that tussle out is sometimes very emotional.
Okay—I'm now done with theoretical details. On to the juicy stuff!
Lunar Eclipse of July 7 at 15 Capricorn
Falling late on July 6 for those who live in Pacific Basin zones, this eclipse is likely to manifest as every kind of situation which pits practical necessity against emotional comfort. With Sun in Cancer and Moon in Capricorn, there are a whole series of energetics at play: impatience versus pragmatism, conservation versus growth—and that's before we add Pluto in Capricorn and the upcoming Cancer solar eclipse into the mix.
Taken together, the whole of July is likely to be rife with reflections of childhoods good, bad, unresolved, and unrealized. And when this is set against the "comfort zone" questions any 2nd decanate Capricorn lunar eclipse brings up? Well…let's just say that this eclipse, falling as it does in a degree that is all about balancing the intellect against the physical, is likely to catch us all up in conflicts regarding nuts and bolts of human existence. Accepting consequences for choices made and getting past that to what needs to be done now is focal, and with all the changes going on, it's more important than ever to retain the best of the old while integrating it into a modern-day framework. Today is when we live—we must be viable and compliant with the Now, not the Then.
And therein lies a rub. With asteroid Arachne conjunct the Earth/Moon, and Bacchus conjunct the Cancer Sun, it's plain we'd all be happier if life would just be that thing we think we're comfortable with in our heads. Just the incredible effort and emotional cost which goes which changes is simply exhausting! But that's just the point—the happiness is in our head, and the more we think about it, the less sure we tend to be about what we want. That's Arachne, which collectively and individually tries to lure us into a "web" of human conflict—internal or otherwise. And we all have those moments of feeling helpless. But then rational reason (hopefully) clicks into gear. Are we some victim in a fabled, fated vise? If we fall prey to the Arachnid quality of thinking we are, we are. If we succumb, or choose to cherish our problems, we are. But we can also choose to rid ourselves of the ties which bind us by doing what spiders do best: getting rid of the pests (and pesty problems). Spiders are innately dexterous and incredibly patient creatures which survive through perseverance. If one web gets destroyed, they build another. Emotionally, the web is a snare. Intellectually, it's a tool. Events now reveal which is in play in situations far and wide.
Lunar Eclipse of August 6 at 13 Aquarius
If you live in the Americas or Pacific Basin this eclipse occurs on the July 5—and wherever you are, it occurs with the Leo Sun conjunct asteroid Kassandra and the Moon/Earth conjunct Psyche in Aquarius.
Merely on the basis of signs, this suggests a variety of effects. One concerns what is owed for what is given and what it takes to be heard in this world. Elements of what any individual or group likes versus what is useful or viable polarizes all, and in the end adds up to a question of whether fulfillment and truth comes from right versus might, or, understanding the nature of earning and the value of broadened acceptance. In a world where factionalizing has become a universal norm, unity can perhaps be achieved, but is that productive? Does discord actually serve some purpose?
Add to all this, Kassandra. She is a lovely Greek who offends the Sun god (Apollo) by rejecting his amorous advances. Not one to bear an ego wound with anything even remotely resembling grace, Apollo curses Kassandra: she will know the future but never be believed.
As for Psyche, hers is the story of love spoiled by doubt. Beloved of Cupid (erotic love), Psyche was provided with a palace and everything her heart could desire except permission to look upon the face of her lover. And she was just fine with this until the jealous whisperings of friends got under her skin. Unable to resist, Psyche then slipped out of bed one night and lit a lamp, ruining the whole thing. Realizing Psyche's inability to trust, Cupid (love) departed.
In transit, Psyche is the trust of others lost. Kassandra is the inability to believe. The degree Kassandra is in is about opportunities to manifest one's true inner nature over the whole of a lifetime. That, plus disbelief plus will, intellectual analysis, and determination (the Sun) plus lack of trust equals a likelihood of a lot of rejection going around. Few chances will be given and few risks will likely be easily taken. Is this the end of all things? Since life goes on one supposes not, but things are likely to be sticky and prickly until early we emerge from this eclipse transit's shadow in November.
Solar Eclipse of July 22 at 29 Cancer
Now we come to the "meat"in our sandwich: a Solar Eclipse which actually occurs on July 22 if you’re in Iceland or points east—and on July 21 if you’re in Greenland or points west. The reason to say "actually" is because unlike Lunar Eclipses (which tend to be very punctual about raising a ruckus on/within 24 hours of the appointed time), solar eclipses are famous for beginning by shuddering the status quo a month (sometimes even more) prior to the eclipse date. Also, while Lunar Eclipses evolve over three months, solar eclipse effects unfold over three full years—and we often don't eve realize what they're really "about" until the very end.
So what do we know right now? Well, we know the components of a solar eclipse: the Moon (memory, money, values, emotion, life/body processes) comes to stand between our Earthly reality and the Sun, our symbol of will, goals, life direction and future. In other words, we get interrupted by something lunar—something to do with emotions, traditions, money, women, our past or health…maybe ours, maybe that of someone else, or maybe the health of a situation. Or a national population. Think basic. Think status quo. Eclipses crack the stable façade so new things can come to be and be born. And as upsetting as events connected with eclipses can be, the purpose of a solar eclipse isn't negative—except to the extent that we're married to the status quo or the past. Solar eclipses are about growth. They represent all the forces which shake us out of our cocoons of personal inertia. The eclipse hits and suddenly you have no choice but to grow.
Yet as the Moon moves in to cover the face of the Sun, in doing so it reveals the corona—a halo of streaming light waves so amazing as to be the stuff of human awe. And yes, sometimes the stuff of terror—particularly in that so many people dread and fear change. For these folks, the eclipse will weird them out even before they look up. And if you're weirded out before you see a corona, it's not a big jump to say it will frighten you when you do see it. Metaphorically, the corona is truth in revelation—but what that means to you depends on your current (lunar/emotional) reaction to what's confronting your life. From the Sun come life, light and warmth. Yet to some extent its everyday reliable presence, it's very light, blinds us to our full and spectacular potentials. We only see it (and realize the need to avail ourselves of it) in moments when darkness falls upon us: the eclipse.
The solar corona, 2006
Lucky for us, life also builds in clues. Remember that Greek guy Meton? Here's where he comes back into the discussion: because solar eclipses repeat in 19-year (Metonic) cycles, if you're old enough, all you have to do is think back. What happened 19 years ago? Not the situation—think about what you did in response. That's your clue. If you capitalized on that ability or realization, now comes a restatement of that same evolutionary precept, inviting you to ascend to a next level of achievement. And if you resisted way back when? If so, expect particularly pressured-filled challenges which back you into a corner far tighter than the one you squiggled out of last time. And why would that be? Because we're all meant to grow. Life's insistent on that score.
How strong are these effects likely to be? That depends on whether the eclipse hits your chart with specificity—and what factor in your chart it actually hits. The bad news here is that there's only one thing we can generalize about—your birthday. Or your company's incorporation date. Or your national chart. So…here are the date spans we know will be affected at the solar level: July 17–27, October 17–27, January 14–24, and April 14–24. If any of these apply, fundamentals are in for a change. Everyone else will feel more subtle effects—which, considering some of what's going on in the world (more on this below), is huge to understand: there's simply nothing as vital has having the Sun of a chart rung like some giant energy gong. So if your birthday falls within range here, pull up the psychological anchors. The worst thing you can do during solar eclipse conjunct Sun is to pretend you're geological bedrock. And as implied—this isn't just about people. Pets, products, companies, countries—any one or any thing born, begun or made public on a given "birth" date is subject to being eclipsed. (Yes, it's a verb.)
Positioned in Cancer, this solar eclipse has a natural affinity for all matters having to do with house, home, real estate, family, heritage/traditions, nationality and national or ethnic populations. Being in the last ten degrees of Cancer, it also has worldly and/or societal implications. Something necessary needs doing on a big and broad scale or with regards to a large social system or great number of people.
Change is in the air, and while all can ultimately turn out magnificently, the onset isn't likely to be comfy: not only is the eclipse upon us but we also have Pluto lurking in early Capricorn, specifically in an out-of-sign sextile to the North Node (what we should be doing), and out-of-sign inconjunct to the South Node (what we'd rather be doing). Nodes (society, social interactions) are always important and currently very active. Why? Because without their involvement, an eclipse is just a plain ol' New Moon. So that wraps Pluto into the eclipse.
This ongoing Pluto/Node thing began in late April and has slowly clamped down on all of us ever since. Manifesting as feelings of discomfort and pressures none of us can quite put our finger on, we've mostly encountered it as a sense that something needs doing. But what? And how? Conversation hasn't helped—even the most genteel of honest answers has often felt totally rancid. And yet…even as we got offended, we also recognized some disquieting element of truth in what's been said. We just don't want to let go of old ways of thinking, being and doing. Between now and late September (when the cosmic clamp loosens up) many of us will let go—we'll be forced to. And others will hold on—to their eventual detriment. Or marginalization.
In setting all this off, the solar eclipse brings all to a head. For you astro-techy types, the image is that of a Yod: Pluto's in a semi-sextile with the North Node (ego bruises through blunt encounters with requirements), while also in an out-of-sign inconjunct with a South Node that's conjunct the actual eclipse point. The whole of this creates a figure known as a Yod—one which in this case is powered by two high-energy, evolutionary factors: Pluto (empowerment/control, transformation/elimination) and the eclipse (blocking or eliminating outmoded efforts or ideas).
And let's remember—this isn't just any solar eclipse, this is one occurring in the last degree of Cancer, which like any last degree of any sign is embodied with a "critical" or "crucial" sense. We're witnessing some "last gasp," which may mean that "end of the world" chatter starts up, especially seeing as this three-year eclipse transit will carry us into the 2012 timeframe so well known for its ending/restarting of various ancient calendar systems. [Ed. Note: for more on astrological events leading up to 2012, see Maya's article, The Road to 2012.]
But if we look at the degree of the eclipse itself, something totally different is suggested. The Sabian symbol for 29 Cancer is "Daughter of the American Revolution." In writing about this image, astrologer Dane Rudhyar points out how it focuses on dedication to prestige and the conservation of a long-maintained heritage. Implied, however, is how in glorifying the past, those celebrating a heritage (in whatever form) face the danger of resting on the past glories of the accomplishments of others. And that isn't the point of a great heritage; it's what we do in view of what we inherit, respect or value which really counts.
Given the eclipse's out-of-sign sextile to supermassive Black Hole M87, it's going to be easy to criticize, hide or want to do nothing but hold on to some norm. Even one we know isn't working. There's also a huge temptation to go with a flow (the crowd, the path of least resistance, a tradition, habits, popular themes of the moment, etc.). Because eclipses are all about the unique quality of the person, the entity and the moment, the tug-of-war is obvious. And difficult. Making individual decisions or even the decision to be an individual in today's world while also being a person (or entity) born of great traditions is a great human struggle. It's all about being empowered as a human being.
With TNO Typhon conjunct Saturn in Virgo, there's also a huge emphasis on how things should work, but don't. Or how some think they must work, whether they do or don't. This is also a sign of disruptions in health, health care and all which supports health—the food chain, for example. With Virgo also being the sign of health care workers, employees (of all types), civil servants and the military, disruptions/reorganizations/exposures in these arenas are likely, particularly concerning operational vitality, redundancy, effectiveness and morality. With the Photographica (the picture of the thing), Medea (using power without an eye to consequence), Sabine (surrender and/or enslavement) and Eros (craving) ensemble in Piscean opposition, there's also a question of "terrible impositions" and a temptation to throw tantrums when confronted with that which is plainlyterrible or which has become terrible because of an unwillingness to toe the responsible, moral, effort-laden line.
As always, there are also positives to consider. Here they include social reforms which improve the lot for many (over time), the breaking free of restrictions, the exposing of liars and falsifications which free up resources, and the bringing of secret threats or subjugation into the light of day through distinguishing between rules and beliefs. A lot of people and entities who have been living on excuses will be excused no longer—and many will benefit therefrom.
And a few other worldly notes: Nessus and Psyche at 16 Aquarius speak of dangerous repercussions of trust to be set off by the August lunar eclipse. Here the Aquarian part means the basis is social, societal, systemic or a question of values, trust and, in all likelihood, money. So don't figure we're done finding monetary sinkholes—we aren't near done with that stuff yet.
Apart from this, Leo Mercury conjunct Dionysus suggests a summer filled with frolic and outlandish gestures, if also with resistance and outrageous arrogance and folks who just plain seem out of touch. Yet like as not we'll also hear from courageous spirits willing to move beyond the niceties of protocol in speaking the humanistic naked truth. (The emperor really is naked, folks!)
Having a Gemini Mars conjunct Nemesis also present raises issues about scattered or wasted energy (nuclear, electric, physical, mental, etc.). And a scattering of energies—like being spread too darn thin! Yet considering that Mars is poised in the sign behind the eclipse, this also says the standards of “too much” established 50 years ago don't hold any more. Nor do means and methods which are just plain outdated.
Multitasking—the ability to process, correlate and profitably handle many things—is more than just a pop buzzword: its a baseline signature of the incoming Aquarian Age. It's also something only some are any good at and something only some can be responsible with. Given that, some folks need to step up, some need to step out, and some need to know the limit beyond which they arrive in OZ—the Overload Zone—and beyond which they become unproductive. Even dangerous to self and others.
Cancer being all about forces which mold emotional structure and the emotions which drive us to prepare and build for the future, what's really "critical" is our approach to moving beyond problems with emotional positions we dislike in others to where differences are tolerated, allowed and even welcomed—remembering we know not all causes, nor all ends. Will we be just "critical"—or will we consider things with critical discernment? After last November's Pluto shift from 124 years of receptive/"my world" mode into 124 years of proactive/"world participant" mode, this moment eclipses much of what was, underscoring the need to shift gears and open up… and our reluctance to do so. Or let others do so—which equals social and emotional unrest. Even violence.
And what about the "solution" to that Yod? Known as the "Finger of God" (feel free to substitute terms), the prescription for solving this figure's dilemma is found by looking at the point opposite its apex. In this case that's 29 Capricorn, a zodiacal point about (re)structuring and life structures: what's being done, how it's being done, and the need to get things done.
Oh and by the way…with a Yod, typically people tend to feel things are "fated," which when combined with an eclipse is certain to arouse the ideas of "preordination" for good and ill.
The Sabian symbol for 29 Capricorn pictures a secret meeting of men responsible for executive decisions in world affairs, which can certainly be taken literally (in the sense of world leaders, corporate executives, etc.). But more importantly, because this eclipse is ours individually, this is also about recognizing our own "executive power," and what status and position mean in light of the idea that humans are eachand all…human!
Individually, this recalls the old saying no one can walk on you unless you lie down first—meaning that social/societal power is really less about privilege than it is about our willingness to be responsible for standing on our own two feet. That it's come to be about privilege is because individuals have banded together into societies which allow abuse of power and position in every realm and on every level. The polarity between 29 Capricorn and Cancer is nothing if not a reminder to live in current times and to be present in this life: the executive human executes intention and choice in their life.
Okay...having explored all this, let's look at where this solar eclipse falls in a few notable charts. By watching events unfold there we'll all learn more about how astrology works and ultimately gain a better perspective on how to empower ourselves.
The Obama Administration (January 20, 2009): The eclipse falling in the 4th house of this chart without a specific focus points to the need to rebuild the physical nation (which we will see more of after Uranus enters Aries in 2010) and to how the American people feel critically and emotionally on edge. With the Yod's "solution point" conjunct Medea in the chart's 10th house, there will be much resistance and many arguments about misuse of power (governmental, corporate and individual) before anything gets done. Ultimately, positions which stand for/espouse only "private" interests and limited (or limiting) emotional conventions will be subsumed, but there's going to be a lot of debate on process, attitudes, elitism, selfishness, responsibility and what "freedom" means along the way. In short, this eclipse affects the US, but not specifically.
Queen Elizabeth II (April 21, 1926): This eclipse falling in the 7th house of Her Majesty's chart conjunct TNO Deucalion and Apollo tells us that the Queen seeks to serve as a figurehead of moral guidance to the world. Apollo here represents a "knowingness" born of her long reign, and her ability to understand the strengths and failings of her people, advisers and family. Being willing to let things go is her challenge. Yet ultimately she will understand how futile to the nation any course of selfishness would be. We can expect a deft dealing with her son; though mired in veils of state to avoid impropriety it is likely the Queen understands the ultimate necessity to structure the ship of state not for Charles but her grandson, whose generational reign will be lengthy.
Kim Jong-Il Administration of North Korea (October 8, 1997): With this eclipse striking in the 8th house conjunct Eros, governmental excess and self-indulgence of the monetary and human (possibly inhumane) type will evolve, dominate and resist exposure. Ultimately, the legacy of this administration will be discovered to be rooted in proclivities embodying a variety of carnal and "regenerative" schemes, with "cloning" being thematic over many venues. Currently working to attract attention, North Korea can be affected by impartial heroic images.
Israel (May 14, 1948): Falling in Israel's 9th house, the eclipse sets off two asteroids (Sphinx and Kassandra), suggesting an attempt to wait patiently and ultimately prevail in aims perceived as righteous. With Kassandra present, Israel is unlikely to be "believed" or to "believe" what it is hearing. With the focus of the Yod conjunct Medea in the Capricorn 3rd ruled by a Leo Saturn at a Midheaven opposing the August lunar eclipse, Israel's summer 2009 is likely to be turbulent. That the world's best known Sphinx sits in Egypt next door suggests relationships between these nations is vital. President Obama's recent address to the Middle East in Cairo is an interesting example of how solar eclipses begin as indications about a shift to the status quo prior to the eclipse date. Does this also indicate the direction this eclipse may mark in Israel's history? Probably. There was also a Sphinx who presented riddles to Oedipus. In that case Oedipus got past the Sphinx but because he did so he also ended up bringing about another thing—the thing he was most trying to avoid. Israel and Egypt have a long joint history. Another chapter now unfolds.
Iran's Islamic Revolution (April 1, 1979): The solar eclipse squarely hitting the 1st house 29 Cancer Jupiter of this chart plainly states that Iran is on a long course to alter its forward path. Because Jupiter is often associated with religion (not spirituality) and with this Jupiter being in the sign of the homeland and the people, the implication is that ultimately, this is a nation struggling to find a way to bring its ancient beliefs and heritage into a modern format. Asteroids Byblis (here taken to be a religious text, i.e., the Koran) and Orcus (standing in judgment) at 27 and 28 Cancer echo this idea. Dane Rudhyar speaks of the Sabian symbol for 27 Cancer (an Indian girl introduces her white lover to her assembled tribe) as an "inner rebirth" and the process of acceptance which unites soul (anima) with intellect—the astrological Sun. Orcus at 28 Cancer focuses judgment (Orcus) into the image of a Greek muse weighing newborn twins in golden scales. Greek muses are both rational and inspirational, implying the necessity of "marrying" many seemingly disparate forces. In this religious state, questions of power and judicious use thereof are certain to be questioned, but the ultimate outcome of forces being set in motion now will not be seen until the latter part of 2012.
Boots Hart is an ISAR-certified astrologer with over 25 years experience. She is a featured columnist for New York Spirit Magazine, long-time contributor to Zodiac Arts and author of a humanistic science-fantasy book series being brought to publication and film production. Boots can be reached at Mentorus@gmail.com for questions or astrological services.