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Cancer Eclipse: An Old Power Withdraws

As if there weren’t enough juice flowing through the cardinal signs — with four of the five outer planets currently transiting near the solstice and equinoctial points — we now begin a period where the Cancer archetype will be forced open, ejecting its inner contents and forcing all the world to become aware of the loss. This is because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time, and the South Node (now in Cancer) suggests a loss.

To appreciate the power of an eclipse, it is useful to understand that time here on Earth is fractal. It is measured by the constant repetition of the primal alternations of darkness and light. This rhythm of dark/light is ingrained into our bodies and psyches.

When there is a disruption of this pattern, via an eclipse, the natural flow of the dark/light fractal is stopped in its tracks. There is darkness where there should be light. It is as if the Laws of our Universe are temporarily inverted. The world is stood on its head, specifically in terms of the archetype within which the eclipse is operating.

An eclipse occurs when there is a lunation near the lunar nodes — the place where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun or ecliptic. Astrologically, the lunar nodes have been called the head and tail of the dragon, for in myth it was a demonic serpent swallowing the heavenly orb. The North Node represents the head of the dragon, therefore something being taken in or ingested. The South Node or tail of the dragon represents something being released.

The South Node is now in the sign of Cancer. As a Cancer nation, it is hard not to remember the exodus of American celebrities and dignitaries that surrounded last summer’s solar eclipse at 29° Cancer. A partial list includes: Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, Karl Malden, Steve McNair, Walter Cronkite, Les Paul, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. We lost Ted Kennedy on the day that Venus crossed the eclipse degree. It is almost as if a door was opened to the “other side” through which these souls were bound to exit. It should be noted that the release doesn’t always have to be destructive. For instance, following last summer’s South Node eclipse, world leaders announced that the G20 will replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations. Technically, this was the “death” of the G8; however, since it continues to exist in another form, we could more aptly describe it as a transformation..

When wondering what the coming eclipse will release, it is important to remember that eclipses happen in families or series; a new member emerges about every 18 years. This is the Saros cycle, first discovered by Babylonian astronomer/astrologers more than two millennia ago. Solar eclipses with very similar characteristics repeat every 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours; these eclipses are then part of the same family or Saros series. Any two eclipses separated by one Saros (6,585.3 days) share very similar geometries. They occur at the same node with the Moon, at nearly the same distance from Earth, and at the same time of year.

The current eclipse belongs to Saros Series 146, the last two of which occurred in June 1992 and 1974. This series is made up of a total of 76 eclipses; the current July 11, 2010 eclipse is number 27 in the series. The family began on September 19, 1541. The first total eclipse in the series took place on May 29, 1938. The eclipse of June 30, 1992 was the longest total eclipse of the series and lasted 5 minutes and 21 seconds with a magnitude 1.0592. The July 11, 2010 eclipse is the 2nd longest of the series, lasting 5 minutes and 20 seconds with a magnitude 1.0580.

When we look at the birth chart for this series, we see a very powerful conjunction of Mars with Uranus in late Leo near the Persian Royal star Regulus. Certainly this series has recently seen its share of sudden dramatic reversals in fame and/or power, including Hitler in 1938, Elvis in 1956, Nixon in 1974, and the British Royal Family in 1992.

Saros series 146; September 19, 1541; 3:44:05 p.m. LMT
Philadelphia, PA
Whole sign houses

When we look specifically at the three most recent eclipses of this family, we see some very powerful events unfolding near the eclipse and/or within the following six months (until the next solar eclipse). I have noted a few of the most important events that clearly resonate with the zodiac sign of the corresponding eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse, June 8, 1956 (18°02′ Gemini)
On June 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act, which created the Interstate Highway System. With the completion of the highways, the cross-country journey that took Eisenhower’s U.S. Army convoy two months in 1919 was cut down to two weeks. Direct subsidization of the suburban road infrastructure made commutes between urban centers to suburbs much quicker, which furthered the flight of citizens and businesses from inner cities and compounded vehicle pollution and excessive petroleum-use.

Total Solar Eclipse, June 20, 1974 (28°30′ Gemini)
In the face of likely impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States of America on August 9, 1974.

Total Solar Eclipse, June 30, 1992 (8°57′ Cancer)
On November 24, the 40th anniversary of her accession, Queen Elizabeth II described the closing year as an “annuls horribilis.” This was due to several scandals damaging the image of the Royal Family, as well as the Windsor Castle fire. On December 9, Prince Charles and Princess Diana publicly announced their separation.

The current July 11, 2010 Total Solar Eclipse occurs at 19°24′ Cancer.

Solar Eclipse; July 11, 2010; 3:40:52 p.m. EDT
Washington, D.C.
Whole sign houses


The Porphyry 8th house cusp of the U.S. Sibley chart is 18°40? Cancer, within one degree of the upcoming eclipse.

I discussed the Saros cycle above; however, the Greek astronomer Meton of Athens observed another eclipse cycle. The Metonic cycles track eclipses that occur near the same degree of the zodiac. Four or five eclipses occur near the same degree of the zodiac, with each one almost exactly 19 years apart. In the previous century, two Metonic cycles occurred near 17° – 19° Cancer. A Metonic cycle of North Node eclipses occurred near these degrees in 1907, 1926, 1945 and 1964. A Metonic cycle of South Node eclipses near these degrees occurred in 1953, 1972, 1991 and 2010.  A cursory glance at history shows that the months following eclipses near these degrees (17° — 19° Cancer) have been very eventful for our country. I will list the North Node eclipses in sequential order, then the South Node eclipses.

The North Node annular Solar Eclipse on July 10, 1907 (17°12’ Cancer) was followed by the Panic of 1907. This financial crisis occurred in October and was triggered by the failed attempt to corner the market on the stock of the United Copper Company. The New York Stock Exchange fell close to 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies.

The North Node annular Solar Eclipse on July 9, 1926 (16°56’ Cancer) was followed by Great Miami Hurricane on September 18. The storm’s enormous regional economic impact helped end the Florida land boom of the 1920s and pushed the region on an early start into the Great Depression.

The North Node total Solar Eclipse on July 9, 1945 (16°56’ Cancer) was followed by the Trinity Test and U.S. nuclear bomb dropped on Japan. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9. These two events were the first and, thankfully, remain the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war.

The North Node partial Solar Eclipse on July 9, 1964 (17°15’ Cancer) was followed by the Gulf of Tonkin incidents on August 2 and 4. The outcome of the second incident was the U.S. Congress passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression.” The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

The South Node partial Solar Eclipse on July 11, 1953 (18°30’ Cancer) was followed by the end of The Korean War on July 27. The Armistice was signed with the division line approximately at the 38th parallel. The Korean Peninsula remains divided to this day and no peace treaty has been signed.

The South Node total Solar Eclipse on July 10, 1972 (18°37’ Cancer) was followed by U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdrawing from the race on August 1 after revealing he was once treated for mental illness. Another key event after that eclipse was the departure of the last U.S. ground troops from Vietnam on August 23.

The South Node total Solar of Eclipse July 11, 1991 (18°58’ Cancer) was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. On December 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. By December 31, 1991, all official Soviet institutions had ceased operations and individual republics assumed the central government’s role. This gave the U.S. a de facto victory in the Cold War.

The two Metonic cycles outlined above demonstrate the striking difference between North Node and South Node eclipses. The North Node eclipses brought powerful new forces to bear, tearing open the previous status quo. The South Node eclipses brought an end to things and have marked the final stages of major hostilities. Remarkably, this is in agreement with President Obama’s plans to begin withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps the ending of this South Node Metonic cycle will correspond with the closing of a chapter of American history and the dawning of a new era. I’m sure many would look forward to a future where we no longer engage in controversial regional conflicts in far-flung and remote corners of the world.

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration. Gary holds a degree in counseling and has developed a unique and multidisciplinary approach to astrology over 17 years. Connect with Gary at:



  1. Gary, this is fascinating. I graduated from high school in 1974 (couldn’t begin to describe what a horrid turning-point year that was with my mother–changed my life, not in a good way), and in 1992 I began psychotherapy (August) to try and recover blocked memory. Last summer I had a sleepwalking incident during the solar eclipse that resulted in a broken shoulder (exactly one year ago). My Venus is in Cancer 20º, Virgo sun 6º, Gemini moon 20º, Mercury 3º Libra over a black hole (according to one astrologer). Apparently, this makes decision making difficult! Anyhow, I have always found July a really difficult time of year. Your article makes it clear why this has been so. The Cancer eclipses are huge for me.

  2. Hi Carla, I am glad to hear this made a difference for you. Yes I can see that the quality of inversion I mentioned seems to have been present in your life. Hopefully now that you have made the connection the energies will shift to more manageable forms.
    In my eclipse workshops, one of the ideas I recommend people exploring more personally is consciously engaging the energies of the eclipse in a ritual fashion.
    A particularly useful practice to purposefully channel this inversion of the Cancer archetype could be ritual immersion. Many religions worldwide have used this spiritual practice. The mythic Goddesses were said to make them-selves virginal again via ritual immersion. This can be a very visceral experience that supersedes logical understanding. Re-birth also invokes a vulnerable state. Therefore, we should take care to be as gentle as possible with ourselves and others and in choosing carefully the environments we have to navigate during this time period.

  3. Wow, I’m chewing my nails at reliving what took place for me in the summer of 1974 (me graduating from high school, parents divorce, dealing with an emotionally disturbed mom alone, and my first marriage to escape my mom) and 1992 (sexual abuse memories surfaced, divorce from my first husband, and my dad dies). Lots of losses but huge blessings of deep insight, understanding, and healing for me ever since. Now in the summer of 2010, I am healing the last of some important abuse memories that involve my mom and I am divorcing my second husband who’s b’day is one day after my mom’s (Dec.19). I am reclaiming my gold I projected on my mom (and other females I deemed as powerful) and my to be divorced husband. I have a sun in Libra 0 degrees in the ninth house, moon in Capricorn 8 degrees in the first house and my Ascendant is Capricorn. The ritual immersion you suggest, I see literally as a water ritual for me. I spent the last 4 days in cool, clear, spring water in the Texas Hill Country. While swimming there, I remembered having had a Watsu session 12 years ago. My 12 yr. old daughter and I practiced it on one another, it was so nurturing for both of us! A bow to you for this article!

  4. Great article Gary! I noticed that the first eclipse of Saros 146 has Pluto partile the Ascendant in Washington, DC: AS = 13 Aquarius = Pluto 13 Aquarius = Chiron 13 Taurus. The Uranus-180-Pluto was 10 degrees apart, but only 3 degrees from exact at the Cancer ingress of 1541, that preceeded the first eclipse of Saros 146. The 1541 Cancer ingress for the Deepwater Horizon event site: AS = 18 Aquarius = Pluto 15 Aquarius = Moon 11 Aquarius = Uranus 18 Leo = Chiron 12 Taurus. The Moon was rising here, and translating the epic Uranus-Pluto-Chiron t-square.

  5. Thanks Shelley, David, Carondelet

    Wishing everyone who reads this an eclipse season of positive disintegration.

    I’m off to Hot Springs, NC for a mineral bath, massage and ceremony to release an old soul contract.

  6. Really nice work, Gary (the blog and the releasing ceremony)..

    Thank you..I’m collecting early reports from today’s eclipse for tomorrow’s blog..



  7. Eclipse report:
    Just engaged the 19 degrees Cancer eclipse in my 6th house with Trine Venus at 19 Scorpio (10th house cusp)- 1 degree from exact conjunction of my Midheaven. I applied for a career position today (on-line) that could be a capstone to my career! Here’s hoping for positive change…

  8. Wow! I had a feeling this would be a big eclipse event in my chart but had no idea how big until I read your article. I went back in time and remembered the events around the last two Saros series eclipse: June 1974 and July 1991—life changing indeed. In 1974 (eclipse Sun and Moon hit my 3rd house opposite my Mars in the 9th house; eclipse Uranus was square my natal Mercury; eclipse Jupiter was quincunx my natal Saturn in the 7th and Sun in the 6th and eclipse Chiron was opposite natal Mercury in the 7th) I lost my roommates ( I was too serious for them so they moved out on their own and left me all along to fend for myself), broke up with time boyfriend, lost access to family home (boyfriend had rented it since my Mom was living and about to marry someone I dislike tremendously), lost contact with high school friends, learned that my best friend in life was gay, embarked on a new life with new friends, new loves, and a whole new set of friends and lifestyle. In 1992 (eclipse Sun was conjunct my natal Uranus and square my natal Saturn and Neptune in the 7th house, eclipse Moon was trine my natal Venus in the 7th house, eclipse Chiron was opposite my natal Mars in the 9th house, eclipse Jupiter trine my ascendant, eclipse Uranus quincunx my natal Moon in the 2nd house and eclipse Neptune square my natal Sun in the 6th and Saturn in the 7th and finally eclipse Pluto opposite my Jupiter in the 2nd house) 6 relatives and friends died ending with the 7th telling me he had aids (he eventually died on my birthday 10-07-1994 at 3:30 Pm (my birth time being 5:45 PM). The death of one of the other very close friends eventually resulted in the sale of his home and us acquiring the worst of the worst neighbors one can image—which resulted us in moving–moving out of state from a seaside community to the desert some 7 years later!! If that is not change don’t know what is. Basically that eclipse turned my life upside down and inside out. I am dreading what this one will bring. This last eclipse Sun and Moon are conjunct my natal Uranus in my 4th house and square my natal Saturn in my 6th and Neptune in my 7th; eclipse Saturn is square my natal Mars in the 9th and eclipse Mars is trine my natal Jupiter in the 2nd house. I am at a place in life where I want to go back to my home state, be near family and friends, restart my career doing what I truly want to do and working for whom I’d be happy and proud to work for and get out of a partnership that has been supportive but far too constrictive and no longer works romantically or sexually. Not knowing your advice regarding ritual immersion I spent the afternoon working very hard in my yard making it prettier and nicer with thoughts of how it would look if the house were up for sale. I worked very hard that day but it was a peaceful day. So what is in store for me??

  9. Just curious, Gary, how you would interpret Venus at 28º Taurus square Pluto at 28º Leo in a synastry chart? Whatever you are willing to offer would be so helpful. I am at my wit’s end in a relationship. Apparently, this is part of the problem. Since the recent solar eclipse we have not been able to be together at all!

    Thank you.

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