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November Solar Eclipse (Sun) December Lunar Eclipse (Moon) How Eclipses happen
The Eclipse of the Sun
The eclipse of the Sun has traditionally been viewed with dread over the ages, as the great giver of life seems inexplicably to disappear from the sky. Birds prepare for bed; the sky darkens in the middle of the day. It seems as though something dreadful is about to happen. Over the years, experience has shown us that old things come to an end (or are overthrown!) under a solar eclipse and a new beginning can be made. The effect on the world of eclipses has been seen to be generally felt for some six months, until the next eclipse then restructures the cosmic energies.
Astrologically, solar eclipses signify the fall of the mighty (or at least, they're in big trouble!). Depending where in the zodiac the eclipse occurs, stress is always placed on the matters governed by that sign, or sector of the zodiac. A powerful Solar Eclipse can create massive havoc, in accordance with other aspects in the heavens at the time, as can be clearly seen by the trail of earthquakes and other disasters associated with the Solar Eclipse and Grand Cross of August 1999.
At a more personal level, the solar eclipse can have a big effect on our personal lives when it occurs in conjunction with one of our natal planets, especially our natal Sun, Moon, or Ruling Planet. Other important chart factors, such as Moon's Nodes, Ascendant, Mid-heaven, or Part of Fortune can also have a very significant effect when impacted by a solar eclipse. Where the eclipse falls in the chart is significant, as the energies expressed by its house placement will show the areas of life that are affected by the new beginning that is implied.
Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on November 25th, 2011
The fourth solar eclipse of 2011 is a partial eclipse of the Sun, at the New Moon in Sagittarius on November 25th. A partial eclipse is when only a part of the eclipsed body of the Sun is blocked out and darkened. It will be visible from high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, including southern South Africa, Antarctica, Tasmania and much of New Zealand. At the instant of greatest eclipse (06:20:17 UT) the eclipse magnitude is 0.905, making it the largest partial eclipse of the year. At that time, the lunar shadow will pass just 330 km above Earth's surface near the coast of Antarctica, so the penguins will have the best show! However, as discussed below, there are a number of powerful factors at work that will be triggered by the weakening of the cosmic fabric.
Check out this fabulous animation of the eclipse, on shadowandsubstance.com!
Eclipse in Sagittarius
This eclipse occurs at 02°37' of Sagittarius, the sign of the Archer, tightly conjunct the Fixed Star, Dschubba (δ scorpii), a star of Mars (passion; war; conflict) and Saturn (restriction; karma; sorrow) in the constellation of Scorpius, the Scorpion. It is one of three stars in the Crown of the Scorpion. According to Robson, Scorpius is associated by the Qabbalists with the Hebrew letter Oin and the 16th Tarot Trump, The Lightning-Struck Tower. Mars the Warrior rules Scorpio, and The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. As Thirteen says, "this is a card about anything we believe to be true, but later learn is false. This realization usually comes as a shock, hence, the violent image. It is, quite simply, that moment in any story where someone finds out a shocking truth, one that shatters their perceptions and makes them reassess their beliefs". Modern astrologers assign Pluto (destruction; transformation; regeneration) to Scorpio too. Under this influence, which also occurs just as Mercury is stationary retrograde, structures will fall and personal integrity will be threatened. We must remain focused after a rude awakening on rebuilding our personal strengths, remaining connected with the divine, the inner nature that shows us what we need, rather than being blinded by what we want. In the event that we are not connected with this inner lifeline, we will be forced to create a connection, or be crushed under the rubble.
As stated earlier this year, the USA is undergoing its Saturn Return and so is suffering from regret and the consequences of decisions made long ago. The eclipse is conjunct the cusp of the US ascendant, the house of self-image, so we can expect a significant shakeup, especially in its leadership. Hidden factors will become evident and this is likely to see a number of presidential contenders drop out of the race. The eclipse is in the mid-heaven of President Obama, implying that his public image will be taking a beating and that he may even fall from grace, due probably to the actions of his partners, as Mars (conflict; aggression) is in his 7th house, square the eclipse and conjunct his natal Pluto (obstruction, transformation, regeneration). The people and situations he must deal with are intense and purposeful, who will urge him to be more forceful than usual. His interaction with others can cause him to become deeply jealous and vengeful, perhaps with truly perilous results; and thus, it would not be wise for the Pres to confront or provoke a hostile situation. His academic and inquiring mind would be better put to use conducting research and investigation, especially concerning the mysteries of the science and nature.
The Arab Spring
The previous solar eclipse occurred in close conjunction with the late Moammar al-Gaddafi's natal Sun. Colonel Gaddafi was the former president of Libya and as forecast he was defeated (and killed) before the end of 2011. Such is the power of the solar eclipse.
The focus of the world's attention has now turned to the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. In what has become known as the "Arab Spring", the governments of Muslim nations in the Middle East and North Africa have fallen one after another to purportedly democratic revolutions instigated by young, technologically aware individuals who are seeking to bring their countries into the 21st Century (beginning with Tunisia in December 2010/ January 2011). This Arab Spring has swept the Middle East like a tidal wave, or a desert storm, and a number of regimes have toppled before it, even including Egypt. The US and the West have generally been seen to support this movement "for democracy", but this has mainly been because the Western Leaders have been too dazed by the onrush of events (and the fruiting of mass karma indicated by cosmic aspects) to have done otherwise. But then it's not unusual for them to turn on their erstwhile friends (that's politics after all). Saddam Hussein comes to mind.
Unfolding In Syria
To cut what is becoming a long story short, the Arab Spring is now unfolding in Syria, although Bashar al-Assad is of the view that he will not fall (partly because he is anti-US and anti-Israel and partly because he controls the military and security forces). And (also like Saddam in Iraq) his regime, although brutal at times, has greatly raised the living standards of ordinary Syrians of all shades and creeds. Other Arab countries have condemned the crackdown in Syria (partly no doubt because they don't like seeing Alawis in power), but Iran, which although Muslim is not an Arab state, still supports Syria. The US and Europe have also condemned Syria and have been sabre-rattling in the area.
The solar eclipse falls in conjunction with Bashar al-Assad's Dragon's Tail (Moon's south node—loss; past-life commitment). Mars in the figure is conjunct his natal Mercury in Virgo and square his Dragon's Head and Tail (the Moon's nodal axis of fate and karmic retribution). On top of that he is experiencing his counter-nodal return, when the transiting north node forms a conjunction with his natal south node and vice versa (as the nodes are an axis and are always opposed to each other). This must be a very difficult situation for him, given that he was once a doctor, dedicated to saving lives, rather than oppressing and taking them.
Solar eclipses don't often pass over populated areas. That's a good thing! However, when they do, they appear to have significant disruptive effects on the people and nations concerned (e.g., economic or political crises, civil unrest). This one affects a very small population, though it may have some effect on southern Africa, Tasmania, and southern New Zealand. Whether this effect is an astrological one or not, is a moot point, though recent scientific work on the effects of the Moon on earthquakes and other terrestrial phenomena is interesting. No doubt they would hasten to deny any astrological effect! See my article on Moon Wobbles. The eclipse being in Sagittarius means that people with Mutable signs (Gemini; Virgo; Sagittarius; Pisces) featured in their birthcharts are more likely to be affected. The next eclipse of the Sun will be in Gemini on May 20, 2012, but the next total Solar Eclipse is not until Nov 13, 2012.
The Eclipse of the Moon
The eclipse of the Moon, when the light of the Moon mysteriously darkens at the luminous height of a Full Moon, has traditionally been viewed as a bad omen. It can awaken distinctly irrational responses. Since the Moon governs domestic matters, the public and the emotional personality, rather than leadership, it tends to have a more personal effect than the solar eclipse, which plays a more outward, even political, role.
Total Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on December 10th, 2011
A total lunar eclipse on December 10th, 2011 occurs at 18°11' Gemini, a Mutable sign, with the Sun in Sagittarius, another Mutable sign (remember, the Sun and Moon are always opposed at a lunar eclipse, since it's a Full Moon). This magnificent spectacle will be the last lunar eclipse of 2011, a powerful total eclipse that occurs at the Moon's descending node in the middle of the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer. It's a moderately lengthy eclipse, with the total phase itself lasting 51 minutes.
Here's how it runs:
The entire cosmic show is visible from Asia and Australia. For North Americans, the eclipse is in progress as the Moon sets with western observers favoured by a larger fraction of the eclipse before moonset. Observers throughout Europe and Africa will miss the early eclipse phases because they occur before moonrise. Unfortunately, the eclipse cannot be seen from South America or Antarctica.
When the Moon is completely immersed within the Earth's dark umbral shadow, scientists call this totality. During totality, a number of bright stars can be used for magnitude comparisons. Aldebaran is 9° to the southwest of the eclipsed Moon, while Betelgeuse is 19° to the southeast; Pollux is 37° east, and Capella is 24° north. After the total phase ends, we will see a partial eclipse as the Moon gradually leaves the umbral shadow. To view NASA's graphic illustration of the Moon's path through Earth's shadows, as well as Fred Espenak's map illustrating worldwide visibility, click here!
Eclipse in Gemini
This eclipse occurs at 18°09' of Gemini, the sign of the Twins, tightly conjunct the Fixed Star, Hoedus I (ζ aurigae), a star of Mars (passion; war; conflict) and Mercury (intellect; communication) in the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer. It is a part of the asterism The Kids in the lap of the Charioteer, just below the she-goat Amalthea he is holding. In mythology Amalthea nourished the infant Jupiter. Fortunately for us, it is rising, bringing out its better side, though not if you are a mariner, as storms are indicated, possibly even earthquakes. According to Robson, Auriga is associated by the Qabbalists with the Hebrew letter Samech and the 15th Tarot Trump, The Devil. The Devil is a card about excess, pleasure and abandon. It suggests a charismatic leader who promises to fulfil all our desires, but in the end takes the power to be truly ourselves away from us. As Thirteen says, "This card is about temptation and control, addictions and manipulation. It asks us a most important question: who or what will we allow to enslave us? And who or what will be under our control? Only by understanding this part of ourselves can we gain power over it and use it to our benefit rather than letting it use us.". Under this influence, which occurs as Mercury, the ruler of this Gemini eclipse is retrograde in Sagittarius, suggesting breakdowns in communication and misunderstandings, especially regarding the greater social issues at play in the world.
The Sun in the eclipse is in Sagittarius, as the Sun and Moon are always opposed at a lunar eclipse. It is conjunct the Fixed Star Sabik, which is not one you'd bring home to mother. Sabik (in Ophiuchus) warns of wastefulness and lost energy, perverted morals—and success in evil deeds. Not such a good look. Especially when we consider that the Sun is square Mars and Ceres.
Mars the Warrior is slowing in the heavens towards his own retrograde phase in Virgo, which will begin on Jan. 24th, 2012. This is significant because Mars is in a very stressful T-square aspect to the Moon's nodal axis, the Dragon's Head and Tail, which is the cosmic indicator of fate. Mars is also in a slightly wider T-square to the eclipse itself. The minor planet Ceres, oten a harbinger of disaster, is also square the eclipse from Pisces, thus completing a Grand Cross in the heavens, pushing us to extend our consciousness in order to deal with what looks pretty stressful, even calamitous. Fortunately Venus in Capricorn is also in tight aspect to the eclipse, and in a hopefully beneficial trine aspect to Mars, so her love of beauty and harmony (along with sex and relationships) might ease the pain, especially for Earth Signs, so long as her notorious greed for money does not upset the applecart given the shaky state of the world's financial system. Venus is conjunct the Fixed Star Sheliak, promising the expression of artistic talent and sexual adventures, but warning of disgrace and gaudiness. Independent thought is likely to bring trouble with authority, and death by violence. Very suited to an aspect with Mars, whose passions when released are as irresistable as a steamroller.
I should warn that while both Mars (the focal point of subliminal drives) and Pluto (a cosmic big hitter, marking destruction, transformation and regeneration) are both conjunct fortunate stars and in good planetary aspects that calm their nerves, they are both heading for very stressful celestial connections in times to come. Mars will reach the nasty conjunction with the Fixed Star Mizar, connected with fires of a catastrophic extent and mass calamities on the weekend of the 17th Dec., while Pluto is heading for the thoroughly horrifying star Facies which he reaches as Mars turn retrograde in the last week of January. Facies is associated with blindness, violent death, sickness, accidents and broken limbs. It is fond of leadership and war, but is noted for coldness, detachment and perfectionism. Facies awakens earthquakes and pure combative energies. Quite a mix for Mars to dive into!
All of this is interesting but what does it all mean? Well I have to say that the solar eclipse in Sagittarius, combined with a retro Mercury there has had a signally bad effect on me! I have come down with a dreadful dose of bronchitis which is what has delayed this part of the article so long. I am barely able to sit upright, so this shows what can happen. Sagittarius is my rising sign, and indicator of health, and since I am a Cancerian, it occurs also in my 6th solar house, the house of health! That's good support for the solar houses, despite what some astrologers believe. Anciently, horoscopes can be drawn from a number of points (including the Sun, Moon, Dragon's Head and others) and these give great insight into the forces at work. Indeed to this day in India astrologers routinely draw up what they call vargas, or divisional charts, based on other starting points than the ascendant.
I mentioned in the Solar Eclipse section above that this Lunar Eclipse will be exactly square the Sun/Moon opposition in the chart of Bashar al-Assad, the Alawite premier of Syria, which has been undergoing a popular uprising for months, as part of the "Arab Spring". Assad is a cultured man, a doctor, but this may not save him. Being born under a Full Moon is always a risk! The Arabs have turned against him, as has the West, leaving just about his only ally Iran, the bad-boy of the Middle East (at least according to the US, the Israelis and the Arabs).
In Europe, the Sun of the eclipse is conjunct the natal Saturn (restriction; suffering) of the European Community. They are in a serious situation that does not give them much fun! European leaders may want (or be forced) to demonstrate that they are reliable and trustworthy, but the fact that the Moon (the public) is opposing this point at the eclipse does not augur well for them. They are hoping that their past hard work may get the recognition it deserves, but what the people will think is that it already has, and now they deserve to be tossed out altogether. As a result of past neglect or abuse, close relationships in Europe (especially political and financial ones) are seriously threatened, or may even be severed. Whatever is gained will only come at an extremely high price; a price they may come to regret paying.
In the US, this price is actually a gigantic one, if we consider the TRILLIONS of dollars that have been "invested" by the Federal Reserve in keeping those banks that are "too big to fail" on life-support. It has come to light in the past week that the 700 billion dollars of taxpayers money doled out to the likes of Citibank et al is nowhere near the true amount. One of my contacts in the financial world passed this on to me:
In October 2008 Congress passed the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), supposedly in response to the subprime mortgage crisis. It was the most controversial of all the government's many bailout schemes. Perhaps you recall the outcry at that time against the TARP bailout. But if you followed the financial news just this past week, you also know now that in truth, TARP was little more than a quaint sideshow.
So how does the eclipse affect this? It's come out, for a start. Secondly, the lunar eclipse is exactly square to Mars in the Wall Street chart, suggesting that the financial wizards and their political cronies will have to make a complete turnabout, if they and their flawed system are to survive at all, let alone return to the good old days of ridiculous profiteering at the expense of the People. They will have to manage the emotional effects with great care, especially in the media and the public sphere, where the Moon will be conjunct the south node (karma; loss). If others challenge what they are doing, or get in their way, they won't stop to prove anything or engage in time- and energy-wasting games. The uber-capitalists (now evidently turned socialists) will simply keep moving along. We have already seen the governments in the US turn on the "Occupy" protesters. Our financial guides will be all for "competition", but the odds are that if aggression is allowed to get out of hand, nothing much will be accomplished. The Middle East and Europe are another ball-park altogether. There will be a lot of stress on the hearts and heads of those involved.
In order to shore up his own position, President Obama may have to take quite strong action, as his Mars is also square the eclipse, although in the house of other people's money. It's time he made his position clear and stopped pussy-footing around the problem.
Each of us will experience these stresses according to where the eclipse falls in our own charts. The Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) will take the brunt, especially if you were born around the middle of your sign. Even though this eclipse and its associated aspects are quite unpleasant, we can still take positive steps to reduce the stress.
Check out this fabulous animation of the eclipse, on shadowandsubstance.com!
How do Eclipses Happen?
Eclipses of the Sun or of the Moon are material, astronomical events, obvious to the naked eye, and as regular and as predictable as clockwork. They have an evident physical effect, as the light of either the Sun or the Moon is noticeably dimmed during the period of the eclipse. This is a scientific phenomenon, one which has been carefully observed since quite primitive times. In astrology, which studies the cosmic phenomena in terms of their effects on the lives of beings that inhabit the Earth, an eclipse is also a psychological, spiritual, social and emotional phenomenon. This aspect of eclipses has also been studied intensely, since before the beginning of civilisation.
In ancient times, priests and astrologers discovered how to predict eclipses, having realised their significance. Using observation and mathematics, they prepared reliable tables, utilising their knowledge of the movement of the Moon's Nodes, that have hardly been surpassed for accuracy until the recent advent of the computer. The Moon's Nodes mark the points where the path of the Moon's orbit around the Earth crosses the plane of the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun and planets around the Earth) as viewed from the surface of the Earth. An eclipse takes place when either a New Moon (producing a Solar Eclipse) or a Full Moon (producing a Lunar Eclipse) occurs close to either of the Nodes.
The Moon's light is reflected from the Sun, as the Moon does not shine of her own accord. Each month the Moon in her orbit travels completely around the Earth; the New and Full Moons happen as the Sun aligns with the Moon, either in conjunction or opposition. These powerful periods are called lunations. Among other effects on the world, they generate the tides, as well as stimulating primeval zoological, biological and botanical phenomena which are well-documented in the scientific literature.
When lunations are also eclipses, their effect is even more powerful — although solar eclipses are generally more strongly felt than lunar eclipses. Eclipses usually occur in pairs, with either a lunar eclipse (Full Moon) heralding a solar eclipse (New Moon) about two weeks later, or vice versa. The energy of any lunation is always most strongly felt a day or so before the Moon (emotions; habit patterns; the public) reaches the exact alignment with the Sun (character; rationality; rulers).
At a Full Moon, when the Earth, Sun and Moon are so closely aligned that the Earth is located precisely between the Sun and the Moon, the shadow of the Earth covers the face of the Moon generating a Lunar Eclipse. The light of the Moon is darkened temporarily. It is safe to observe the Lunar Eclipse, or to take photographs, as there is no likelihood of eye damage, unlike the dangers during a Solar Eclipse.
Check out this fabulous animation of the eclipse, on shadowandsubstance.com!
For more on the science of eclipses, click here. Remember when looking at this astronomical material that they are using the sidereal zodiac, whilst we are using the tropical zodiac, so sign placements may seem out of whack with those mentioned here. This is due to the cosmic phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, which makes the tropical zodiac of the seasons, as used on this site, seem out of sync with the constellations. This factor however has no effect on the predictive power of astrology.
Although the actual size of the Moon is much smaller than the size of the Sun, one of the most remarkable facts about our universe is that, when viewed from the Earth during a total eclipse, the Moon's disc exactly covers the disc of the Sun. The odds against such a striking coincidence happening in the one known area of the Universe where intelligent beings can experience it are, in a word, astronomical! This is one more in a long list of phenomena that inclines this writer to believe that our world is much more like a mind than a thing. See Is Astrology Scientific, for more on this approach.
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