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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: