By Mary Plumb | July 12, 2010
I love the symbolism of eclipses; they loom large in our collective memory as auspicious, unusual times and have always been important in history. As far back as 1700 BC, the Babylonians tied eclipses to the death of the monarch. About a thousand years later (i.e., 700 BC) the Assyrians had traced the ecliptic in the sky and were able to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon.
It is said in one early record (609 BC) that Thales of Miletus predicted that a total solar eclipse would bring a five-year-old war to an end. (1) The eclipse occurred in the sixth year of the war and “the battle ended abruptly due to a total solar eclipse; the eclipse was perceived as an omen, indicating that the gods wanted the fighting to stop.” This, the Battle of Halys, became known as the Battle of the Eclipse. (2)
In the New Testament (Luke 23:44) there is a description of the crucifixion, which refers to what many believe was a solar eclipse, when “darkness came over the whole land until about three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed.”
Although the oil gushing completely untethered from the Gulf at the time of the eclipse does not seem like a good omen, perhaps we can take heart in Bernadette Brady’s interpretation of this eclipse, 12 South in Saros Series 146. She writes: “This Saros Series will bring successful outcomes to long-term worries or illness. An issue which has worried or drained the individual for some time will at first seem worse and then clear with successful outcomes.” (3)
The solar eclipse carries the symbolism of a new cycle; it is the dark of the Moon, where potent, unseen influences are strong. Eclipses have long been thought of as unpredictable; at a solar eclipse, much is hidden and will be developed as Moon gains in light. Although an eclipse announces themes that will develop over months, it is, of course, telling to observe the time of the eclipse itself.
Certainly this solar eclipse suggests the deeply receptive pull and wisdom of the feminine Moon in Cancer; many of the people I spent time with (and spoke to) on the eclipse day seemed quite aware of being very impressionable now.
Late in the day I talked to some people who I knew had close connections in their natal horoscopes to the eclipse degree. I wanted to see what they were doing (or feeling) during the time of this solar eclipse at 19º24’ Cancer.
One friend, with the natal Moon (and the Sun/Neptune midpoint) at 21º Libra in the 1st house, became suddenly quite ill early on the morning of the eclipse. The eclipse is square the natal Moon in this chart, and the sometimes physically debilitating implications of a solar eclipse seem to be showing in this case.
Someone else has natal Mars at 20º Capricorn in the 9th house; she told me that she has come to a very clear decision that she wants a long drawn-out lawsuit she is involved with to be “out of her life.” It sounds like she will do what she can to bring closure to this situation, which has been going on for at least a few years.
A man I know, with natal Mercury at 19º Capricorn and Venus at 24º Capricorn, was surprised and delighted to see an old friend unexpectedly. He was at a café within an hour of the exact moment of the eclipse when she came in. The opposition from Cancer manifested as someone (sweet and lovely) from the past reappearing in the present.
Someone else I talked to, with the natal Sun at 19º Pisces in gentle trine to the eclipse, spent the eclipse time by a lake, throwing stones into the water and saying a prayer with each stone. She said she felt “emptied out, very peaceful, and relaxed.”
A client has Sagittarius rising and natal Jupiter at 5º Capricorn, the degree of the June 26 lunar eclipse. The progressed Jupiter is at 19º Capricorn, opposite the solar eclipse. We had a very interesting conversation about the current triggering of her ruling planet, e.g., first her natal Jupiter and then progressed Jupiter. She spoke of how she has faced things in herself in these past weeks that have been very hard to see, but very significant. (Remember, the June 26 lunar eclipse was at 5º Capricorn conjunct Pluto, inclining towards revealing the deeper corners of the shadow.) She felt that her “shell is empty” — that what she has done in certain key departments of her life is not working, and she’s not sure what’s next. After our conversation, she wrote an email to me: “I’ve felt most of my life that I’ve been living out of a shell of myself, but through this period have become acutely aware of a more vital, expressive ‘me.’ As this happens, the shell has seemed more and more empty. My life has been built upon that shell, as it were, so the shift is disorienting. But because it’s a return to myself, it’s very welcome.”
I thought about the ruler of the Ascendant, Jupiter, in detriment. One view of the detriment planet is that it tends to act on the physical plane; it takes awareness to elevate its function to support spiritual growth in the individual’s life. (I’m not picking on anyone here, but speaking from experience; the ruler of my Ascendant is also in detriment.) This is an important time for her in changing key life patterns.
An artist I know has Mercury and Uranus conjunct at 18º Cancer in the 5th house. At the time of the solar eclipse at 19º Cancer she was singing in an outdoor venue. She told me she was “wailing.” (Her voice sounded hoarse, in fact, when we spoke later in the day.) She was elated; she said she felt as if she had “come home.” She’s a fine graphic designer, but years ago she “started her creative life with singing” and returned to that with this eclipse. Further, natal Chiron is at 19º Capricorn, suggesting another layer of meaning to finding her voice again.
I spoke with someone with the Mercury/Neptune midpoint at 19º Cancer, who was very lonely and depressed on the eclipse day. Presumably, this is an acute and passing mood that is bringing sad memories to the foreground and she will be able to turn toward a happier time very soon. I also know someone with natal Venus at 18º Cancer; he spent part of the day quietly contemplating his current and past relationship life.
There are lots of ways of timing the development of eclipses. Transiting Mars in aspect to the eclipse degrees is one technique. (A well-known recent example: there was a Solar Eclipse on July 21, 2001 at 0º Cancer; transiting Mars came to 0º Cancer on September 11, 2001.) On August 28, 2010, Mars at 19º Libra will square the eclipse degree and then oppose it from 19º Capricorn on January 1, 2011. Mars will next square the eclipse from 19º Aries on April 26, 2011 and return to 19º Cancer on September 1, 2011.
Dietrech Pessin’s new book, Lunar Shadows III, teaches another very interesting way of timing with eclipses. In her method, which describes “Moon Families,” this eclipse is tied to both past and future lunations. In the future, this eclipse is connected to the First Quarter Moon on April 11, 2011; the Full Moon on January 9, 2012; the Last Quarter Moon on October 8, 2012, etc. (I reviewed her book in the Aug./Sept. issue of TMA.)
Our guest blogger, Gary Caton, has written fine articles on each of this month’s eclipses. Do go back and read them if you haven’t already. (add links) Among other gems, he traces events from the previous eclipses in this Saros Series.
(3) Bernadette Brady, Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark, Samuel Weiser, 1999, pg. 326.