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Capricorn Eclipse: New Power Emerges

As if there weren’t enough juice flowing through the sign of The State (Capricorn), with the Lord of the Underworld (Pluto) taking up residence, now we begin a period where the Capricorn archetype will be torn open, erupting its dark shadow contents and forcing all the world to see. This is because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time.

To really understand the power of an eclipse you must understand that time here on earth is fractal. It is measured by the constant repetition of the primal alternations of darkness and light. One day is made up of a light phase and a dark phase. Every 29 days we see the completion of the light and dark lunar phases. Every 13 lunations we see the completion of the light and dark solar phases via the seasons. With an average life expectancy close to 85 years (in the developed world), this means we will see nearly 29,000 daily cycles of light/dark and around 1040 Lunar cycle repetitions. This rhythm of light/dark is absolutely ingrained into our bodies and psyches. For instance, without the emotional processing dream-sleep of the nocturnal cycle, psychological disturbances will very quickly show themselves and we would basically go insane well within a lunar cycle.

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, and the world is stood on its head. Granted, this happens somewhere twice a year, to a greater or lesser extent (depending on the power of the particular eclipse), but compared to the massive numbers of regular daily and lunar cycles, eclipses are fairly rare and therefore significant. So the eclipse becomes much more significant when thought of as a disruption of time. And, similar to sleep deprivation, things can get a little crazy — and rather quickly.

Eclipses happen in families or series, with a new member emerging approximately 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, and 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 141, the last two of which occurred in January 1992 and December 1973. This series is made up of a total of 70 eclipses, of which the current January 15, 2010 eclipse is number 23. The family began on May 19, 1613. The first annular eclipse took place on August 4, 1739. Subsequent members of Saros 141 were all annular eclipses with increasing durations, the maximum of which was reached on December 14, 1955 and lasted 12 minutes and 9 seconds. This event was the longest annular eclipse of the entire Second Millennium. The duration of annularity of each succeeding eclipse is now dropping, yet our January 15, 2010 eclipse will still be the longest annular eclipse to occur this century, with a duration of 11 minutes and 8 seconds. Annular eclipses have such long durations because they occur at lunar apogee, when the Moon is farthest from Earth, and thus moving relatively slowly. Because the Moon is too far from Earth for the apex of its shadow to touch the Earth’s surface, the Moon will not completely cover the Sun.


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This greater distance also results in the ubiquitous “ring of fire” (annulus = ring). Some ancient astrologers felt that the resulting ring of fire made annular eclipses especially malefic.

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Certainly, when we look back at the last three 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 selected just a few of these that seem to clearly resonate with the zodiac sign of the corresponding eclipse.

Eclipse of December 14, 1955: (21° 31′ Sagittarius)
On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black passengers to relinquish seats to white passengers when the bus was full. Blacks also were required to sit at the back of the bus. Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system and led to a November 13, 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

Eclipse of December 24, 1973: (2°40′ Capricorn)
May 18, 1974 saw The Smiling Buddha, code name of a nuclear test explosion by India. It was the first confirmed nuclear test by a nation outside the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, making India the world’s sixth nuclear nation.

Eclipse of January 4, 1992: (13° 51′ Capricorn)
On April 28, 1992, the two remaining constituent republics of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia — Serbia and Montenegro — formed a new state called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (after 2003, Serbia and Montenegro), bringing to an end the official union of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Bosnian Muslims, and Macedonians that existed since 1918 (with the exception of the period during World War II).

When we look at the birth chart for this series, we see two very powerful planets: Venus in her own sign conjunct the North Node (this is a North Node series); and Mercury in his own sign and conjunct Uranus. This seems to explain the theme we have seen recently of women, minorities, and smaller nations coming to the fore around these eclipses.

Solar eclipse: May 19, 1613 12:49:32 pm LMT; Washington D.C.

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The chart for the current January 15, 2010 eclipse seems to echo the birth chart of the series in a few important ways. Venus is again conjunct the North Node, Jupiter is again conjunct Neptune, and Pluto is again in the sign of the eclipse.

Solar eclipse: January 15, 2010 2:11:55 am EST; Washington D.C.

chart 4

Within these commonalities, it seems we can form some reasonable expectations. Venus conjunct the North Node seems to symbolize either a female leader exercising her power in ways that disrupt the current status quo, or diplomatic situations/resolutions that have far-reaching consequences. This may also indicate economic complications for a struggling economy. The year 1974 was bad for the Dow and it also happened to be during a waning Saturn-Pluto square. However, this probably echoes what we already know — that unemployment will continue to lag behind a slowly growing economy. Still, Jupiter representing banks and Neptune representing fraud tells me we have not quite seen the end of the banking scandals.

Jupiter conjunct Neptune also symbolizes simultaneous expansion and dissolution — or expansion through dissolution — as was the case with Yugoslavia. The triumph of the bus boycott simultaneously expanded Civil Rights while dissolving segregation. The expansion of India into nuclear weapons also somewhat dissolved the boundaries of “the nuclear club.”  The five permanent members of the Security Council are the only nations recognized as possessing nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Several other countries with nuclear weapons have not signed the treaty and are not recognized as “nuclear weapons states.” There has been criticism that the five permanent members have created an exclusive “nuclear club” that only addresses the strategic interests and political motives of the permanent members: for example, protecting the oil-rich Kuwaitis in 1991, but poorly protecting resource-poor Rwandans in 1994.

Of course, this nuclear issue brings us to Pluto, who is again in the sign of the eclipse. It is only a matter of time before we see more posturing from or toward the “rogue nations” of Iran and North Korea, so “predicting” that one or both of these situations could come to a head in the next six months seems like a no-brainer. However, it also appears obvious that both of these nations are attempting to use their potential nuclear status as a bargaining chip, making another round of escalating tensions equally as likely. Because of the lack of clear or firm support from either Russia or China, both of these situations are essentially stalemates, whereby the “rogues” can slowly inch toward the ultimate Promethean power (symbolized nicely by the Mercury-Uranus conjunction semi-square Pluto in the foundation chart of this series).

Russia and China, as the real wild-cards in these situations, brings us back to the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. Jupiter symbolizes wealth and Neptune communism. One of the “paranoid” fears is that a cash-strapped Russia (or its scientists) could be selling off nuclear parts or knowledge to rogue nations, or even terrorists. The reverse is China, who has plenty of cashbut could easily expand into the Korean peninsula by allowing North Korea to do its dirty work and then swallowing them. The original division of the Korean peninsula occurred under the previous Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune triple conjunction in late 1945 (in the sign of Libra).

Whatever happens, it is likely to have serious repercussions due to the intense transit menu over the summer. When viewed as a series, it is easy to see the upcoming Capricorn eclipse as symbolizing some sort of destabilizing situation that may lead to a confrontation, or Cardinal Crisis, under the cardinal t-square transits of the summer. This, in turn, may beg a response from the U.S., with the next total solar eclipse of July 11, 2010 falling in the sign of Cancer and near our national holiday.

However, the closer we get to these much anticipated astrological events, I am beginning to expect less of them. Rather than “doomsday” scenarios, I’m inclined to think these events may be seen as less important to us in their moment than the fears and anticipation leading up to them seems to warrant. Cardinal signs represent beginnings. It is quite possible that the true import of what unfolds in this pivotal year will only be fully appreciated in hindsight. Someday we may look back and see that some small shoot emerged in the summer of 2010 that eventually grew into the World Tree or the “axis mundi” of a future World Order. Surprisingly, after the final analysis on this subject, my muse is asking whether we will indeed recognize it for what it is when we see it.

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