By Gary P. Caton | December 5, 2011
Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named
Unless the heart catch fire, God will not be loved
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known
William Blake (1)
A total lunar eclipse will take place on December 10, 2011. It will be completely visible, from beginning to end, throughout Asia and Australia. This eclipse will occur at moonrise over Eastern Europe and at moonset over northwest North America. This is the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the first having occurred on June 15. (2) Moreover, this will be the third total lunar eclipse in a row, going back to the solstice total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010. This is happening during a period of four partial solar eclipses. When we look closer, we see that the three consecutive total lunar eclipses are happening in opposition to Mercury’s conjunctions with the Sun.
December 19, 2010: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 28° Sagittarius
December 21, 2010: Total Lunar Eclipse at 29° Gemini
June 12, 2011: Mercury (direct) conjunct the Sun at 22° Gemini
June 15, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 24° Sagittarius
December 4, 2011: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 12° Sagittarius
December 10, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 18° Gemini
The day before the December 19, 2010 interior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius, a young street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire and sparked a series of “days of rage” across the Arab world, in what has been referred to as the “Arab Spring.” (3) In August 2011, during the next Mercury retrograde in Leo, we saw riots in London that, along with protests in Spain and Greece, became characterized as the “European Summer.” Now that we have come full circle back to the Sagittarian Mercury retrograde, the conflagrations have morphed into the “American Autumn” of the Occupy movements. When cast for Washington, D.C, we see the cardinal, or moveable, signs on the angles. Since these are the signs that mark the changes of seasons, it is a good bet the movements of the “American Autumn” will effect some changes by spring. Over the last year, Mercury and the Moon have teamed up to overthrow many Rulers, signified by the Sun. The Sun also signifies CEO’s, so it could be that some of the Banksters have a date with destiny.
Dec. 10, 2011
Total lunar eclipse
9:37 a.m. EST
Whole sign houses
While some have equated all these movements with the applying Uranus-Pluto squares, I think that is an oversimplification. It is quite obvious to me that the Mercury retrograde and nodal/eclipse cycles are also playing a crucial part by accentuating the Fire element this year. All of the Mercury retrogrades have happened in Fire signs this year, and the North Node has been transiting a Fire sign, Sagittarius.
The alchemical symbol for Fire is an upward-pointing triangle, and these popular up-risings have definitely displayed the spontaneous and volatile nature of the fiery element. In mundane astrology the Moon symbolizes the People. In this powerful series of total lunar eclipses, the Moon is linked with Mercury. As I mentioned, this is concurrent with his retrogrades in the fiery element. It seems that Mercury and the Moon together have accomplished much more than they ever could have alone.
When you look more closely than the broad historical picture and focus on any particular event, it seems clear to me that outer-planet archetypes generally do not become actualized as events without the help of the personal planets. For instance, an often-overlooked fact is that the 9-11 attacks occurred during a t-square from the Sun, a sextile from Mercury, and a trine from Venus, to the Saturn-Pluto opposition.
Sept. 11, 2001
8:46 a.m. EDT
New York, N.Y.
Uranus crossed 0° Aries, the Vernal point, twice in 2010 (i.e., in May and in August). However, it was only when Mercury joined Uranus at the Vernal point this spring (on March 9 at 29°51′ Pisces) that we had the Fukoshima disaster. Which is the more powerful planet then? My answer is both. It seems the awesome power of the outer planets often only materializes as events with the additional synergy of the personalizing power of the inner planets.
Since the previous total lunar eclipse (on June 15), we have seen this synergistic effect for the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movements. On July 13, 2011 the Canadian-based Adbusters proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, a growing disparity in wealth, and the absence of legal repercussions towards those implicated in the recent global financial crisis. In the chart for this event, Mercury is at 16° 29′ Leo, quite near his station direct on August 26 (18°41 Leo). This placement forms a Thor’s hammer or Arrowhead aspect configuration with the Uranus-Pluto squares. By residing at the far midpoint of Uranus and Pluto, Mercury is forming sesquisquares to both outer planets. When Mercury crossed the degrees of the Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of the 1960’s, we saw the first days of the Occupy Wall street protests. And when Venus, the Sun, and Mercury crossed the Autumnal equinox point of 0° Libra and formed a t-square to Uranus-Pluto, we saw the Occupy movements quickly morph into a national and global phenomenon.
July 13, 2011
5:38 a.m. EST (sunrise)
Whole sign houses
During the last year, Mercury and the Moon have teamed up with Uranus and Pluto to overthrow many rulers, signified by the Sun. With the third total lunar eclipse looming, we inhabit quite a different world of possibilities than we had only a year ago. Whether or not you agree with, express solidarity with, or join forces with any of the protest movements around the world, it seems clear to me that the potential for radical paradigm shift is especially accessible to all of us over the next six months. (Six months is an average time for a lunar eclipse to be effective; this also coincides with the first exact Uranus-Pluto square in June 2012.)
On a personal level, the Sun is the ego and the overthrow of the Sun is the overcoming of false ego identity. However, as the alchemist’s say, there is no transformation without fire. Whether it’s the “fire in the head” of Yeats, the “fire in the eye” of Blake, or Keen’s “fire in the belly,” some part of us is yearning to catch fire and be transformed. (4) In alchemy, Fire operates through the process of Calcination.
Psychologically, Calcination is about the destruction of false ego attachments. The death of outdated, unwanted, or unhealthy ego structures results eventually in the birth of new ones. This can be achieved through a deliberate surrender of our inherent hubris through a variety of spiritual disciplines that ignite the fire of introspection and self-evaluation. Meditation or ceremonial work with fire as an element should be especially fruitful. (The elemental being associated with Fire is the salamander. This probably originates from salamanders hibernating in and under rotting logs. When wood was brought indoors and put on the fire, the creatures “mysteriously” appeared from the flames.)
Astrologically, access to this process may be shown in our personal charts by connections to the Fire element, e.g., by transiting Uranus in Aries, or the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius in the chart for the current total lunar eclipse. It may also be shown by connections from our personal chart to Sagittarius’s ruler, Jupiter in Taurus.
Total lunar eclipse
9:37 a.m. EST
0 Aries Ascendant
We should also note that the Moon is in Gemini at this lunar eclipse. Gemini, an Air sign, is compatible with and helps fan the flames of the Fire placements. In alchemy the Air element expresses itself through the operation of Separation, which involves rediscovery of our true essence and the letting go, or cutting away, of the self-inflicted restraints to our true nature. Mars rules cutlery and is the planet associated with the operation of Separation, as the goal is to cut away any remaining dross or falsity. Mars in Virgo is t-square to this total lunar eclipse and transiting Mars will be doing his retrograde dance in Virgo for the first four months of 2012. So the operation of Separation will be carried out via the use of critical thinking skills (Virgo), which will assist the Air element (intellect) in sorting and sifting through our lives. What parts are working and worth keeping and what parts need to be cut loose?
This series of total lunar eclipses seems to have inspired worldwide activism, and it is clear to me that we are passing a threshold. There is serious potential for moving ‘outside the box’ in creating our future. We’ve been waiting a long time for 2012, sensing it, feeling out the possibilities. Now it’s almost time to surf the wave. Whether through the conversation of an Occupy general assembly, the intense feelings provoked by participating in protests, or the deep inner psycho-spiritual searching of alchemy and other personal growth modalities, the work we do over the next six months paves the way for our experience of the first two Uranus-Pluto squares next year. This lunar eclipse is catalyzing the future. Our task now is to go into the spirit world and meet it, and then to return and call it forth from that magickal place to this one.
(1) The William Blake quote has various secondary sources, but I was unable to find the original source for this often quoted text.
(2) Please see Gary’s earlier blog on the June 2011 total lunar eclipse: The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun
(3) Readers may enjoy this earlier blog: The Eclipses in Tunisia and Egypt
(4) William Butler Yeats’s poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus, refers to the ‘fire in the head’ that characterizes the visionary experience.
Sam Keen, The Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man, 1991, Bantam.
Recommended Reading and Listening:
Dennis Hauck, The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation, 1999, Penguin Compass
Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to Astrology over 18 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer