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Eclipse talk..

Writer Ernest Hemingway once memorably observed that all writers need a built-in, shockproof “crap detector.” Those of us who inhabit the Otherworlds of palmistry, the I Ching, Tarot, astrology, politics (!), etc., need one of these as well, in my opinion. An opening gambit of mine during the years of teaching beginner astrology classes was usually this: Don’t necessarily believe a word I say, exciting, interesting, and persuasive though it might sound — always test it out in your own experience.”

Now, what on earth is the relevance of the above to this week’s topic? Just read on …

We are between the July 13th solar eclipse at 20° Cancer, and the July 27th lunar eclipse at 5° Aquarius. Then, we have the final eclipse of this season, a solar eclipse at 19° Leo on August 11th. As usual, the Web is awash with excitement, apprehension, and a liberal dose of doom and gloom in relation to those powerful energies. My aim in this post is to cheer you up and to make the point that the powerful symbolic endings which eclipses often bring can also open doors to hitherto unforeseen possibilities.

Hence the importance of trusting your own experience in those matters, rather than being unduly swayed by the generalities swirling around in the media. Personally, I have found eclipses to bring endings which were usually necessary in order for me to move on and grow some more. This was not always comfortable — but then the process of personal growth cannot proceed without a few jolts. I’d be most interested in readers sharing their eclipse experiences. To start you off, here is a memorable one of mine.

Scroll back 31 years with me. It is March 29, 1987, in London, UK, just before lunch on the final day of a weekend workshop on Esoteric Astrology led by master astrologer Alan Oken. I am feeling tired, suffering from information overload, and not very receptive to any more input, much less a new experience. Unbeknownst to me, however, I am poised to have one.

Alan informs us that there is about to be a solar eclipse at 8°18’ Aries. I’ve not paid much attention to eclipses yet (that was certainly to change as the years went on!), but at that time, I am not hugely interested. Nevertheless, it dimly registers that the eclipse opposes my natal Neptune at 8°53’ Libra in the 2nd house, which is closely sextile natal Mercury at 9°03’ Leo in the 12th house.

Having briefly outlined the significance of eclipses, Alan then invites us to focus on something in our lives we wish to leave behind, as he leads us through a meditation at the exact time of the eclipse. I have never been keen on guided meditations and am not at all visually oriented when imagining things. However, it seems churlish not to join in. I dutifully adopt an appropriate posture: closing my eyes and beginning to breathe slowly and deeply, as instructed.

What did I want to leave behind? Smoking, that’s what. I’d been trying and failing on that one for about ten years. As Alan talked us through the visualization, I focused on dropping my last fag packet into a bin — forever. The ethereal sceptic, permanently resident on my left shoulder, was taking the view that I’d tried everything else, so why not?

To my amazement, as I participated with the group, waves of colour began to appear — a wash of sea greens and purples, almost like the Northern Lights — behind my closed eyes. The waves peaked with Alan’s voice, then died away as he gently led us out of the meditation.

I was astounded by this experience, awed, and chastened. Something powerful had clearly occurred, despite my scepticism. As we all filed out for lunch, I had a strong urge to take my cigarettes and drop them in the nearest bin. So, I did. My thought: “Goodbye, smoking; I’m done with you!”

Half past two the following morning saw me — sleepless, twitchy, and angry — slipping out of my in-laws’ flat into rainy North London. Heading for an all-night grocer, I bought 20 cigarettes, smoking the first one on my way back. My only company for that weekend was Tadzio, my brother-in-law’s ferociously unwelcoming old cat. “Well, Tadzio,” I remarked bitterly to him as he hissed at me on my return, don’t ever bother meditating at an eclipse.”

However, dissatisfaction at my inability to break that smoking habit continued to gnaw at me, especially since my husband, an even more dedicated smoker than I, had managed to stop that February, aided by a severe bout of mumps which (fortunately!) affected only his throat. He could barely eat or speak for several days — and could not bear to smoke. (Chiron just happened to be sitting on his Gemini MC at the time … inconvenient benefic, indeed!)

On my return from London, I could see that he was struggling. Suddenly I had a bright idea and said: “How about this: If you can stay off the fags until the Easter weekend, I’ll stop then, too.”

“Right,” he said through gritted teeth.

Two weeks after that “failed” meditation, three days before Easter weekend, I had a lightbulb moment (lunar eclipse, anyone?) — a Leo moment shot with my usual Leonine melodrama. “I’m going to die as a smoker on Good Friday,” I announced to my rather sceptical Aquarian husband, “and be reborn as a non-smoker by Easter Monday.”

And so, reader, it duly came to pass. I have not smoked since.

Endnote: An earlier version of this  post was first published in Not the Astrology Column in the July/August 2017 issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer, astrologer, and astrology teacher based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work appears in various media, including the UK’s Astrological Journal, Dell Horoscope Magazine, Infinity Astrological Magazine (where she has regular bi-monthly columns), The Mountain Astrologer, and Astrodienst. Find Anne at:


  1. You asked for readers eclipse experiences. Here is mine. In reading about the coming lunar eclipse, an astrologer mentioned a connection between this eclipse and one that occurred in 2011. I decided to explore that further as I began having severe health problems in 2011, and wondered if there could be some clues there. What I read was astounding! During the 2011 eclipse, the North Node was transiting Ras Alhague, the Medicine Man. Ceres was square the Moon. Mars was conjunct Algol, the evil star, whose name is the Arabic root for the word alcohol. Pluto was retrograde and tightly conjunct my natal Saturn which sits upon my descendant. This eclipse occurred on June 15. If I had been following astrology at that time, maybe I would not have chosen to go out partying on the night of June 16. I had three short bourbon drinks over the course of three hours – a rate of consumption that should not have caused an issue. But this night it certainly did. I became completely incapacitated and had to driven home. At three a.m. I awakened, very ill. The vomiting continued for 15 hours until I was taken to the hospital for medical intervention. I have never been able to drink from that day forward without dire consequences, so I have given up alcohol completely. This was just the opening salvo of a chronic and rare medical condition which has severely restricted my diet. I am hoping that whatever the connection between these two eclipses may be, it will not be another harrowing experience for me as it was in 2011.

    • Christina, many thanks for sharing this dramatic story with us. With regard to your fears, it may be a comfort to you to know that eclipses belong in families and are part of what is known as the Saros Series of eclipses whose pulsebeats run through hundreds of years – and that an eclipse which recurs may well belong to a different family than the previous one, and as such produces different effects. The best known authority on eclipses is Dr Bernadette Brady, and here are her words:

      “…Bernadette Brady – 1995
      In predictive astrology eclipses can give very mixed outcomes often they
      seem to vary dramatically from one eclipse to another. In the past
      astrologers have taken to examining the chart of a particular eclipse.
      However, far better results can be achieved by stepping back and looking at
      the geometry of how eclipses occur, not on the individual level but rather on
      the larger cyclic playing field of life. For each seemingly isolated eclipse
      belongs to a larger pattern, each eclipse is a member of a family and each
      family has particular characteristics…”

      If you ( or anyone else reading this reply) would like to read what she has to say on Saros Cycles in more detail, here is the link to a pdf taken from her public website: . I hope this helps!

  2. In the early 90’s I attended The Mountain AstrologersPlanet Camp.
    An 84 year old lady attended out of curiosity. We learned she was having a uranus return. So now that uranus has returned to Taurus where it was at my birth in 1940, what seemed like an unbelievably old experience, is becoming close to me too.
    So, i am thinking about my Uranian self. Mercury at 3* and sun at 7* Aquarius. I am inspired by your eclipse story.
    I easily decided what i would like to let go…..
    But……i have worry with uranus ruling my 7th house cusp..
    My aquarian family/associates……
    Even Barak Obama
    Hmmmmmmmmm, sudden, unexpected….geez, i have double checked my feelings and pretty much chosen to stay in and off roads since mars went retrograde,. Wish i could think of all manner of positive change.
    A hafppy surprise. Like sitting down. To a cup of tea with you!

    • Jackie, glad you liked my story and thanks so much for taking the trouble to drop by with your comments, not to mention the cup of tea invite! To follow up your interest in eclipses, you couldn’t do any better than read what Dr Bernadette Brady has to say. You’ll find the link to her Saros Cycles essay on my answer to Christina’s comment.

      I am sorry about your worries regarding your Uranus Return – here I always recall my teacher Dr Liz Greene’s comment about Uranus transits to the effect that if you think you can predict it, it isn’t Uranus you are looking at…an excellent, constructive book which might be helpful to read to gain some perspective here is “The Gods of Change” by Howard Sasportas which has a very helpful section on Uranus transits.

  3. I filed for custody of my daughter 4 years ago. It was a nightmare fighting in court with my ex, but as an astrologer I knew exactly when everything was going to turn in my favor. Yesterday was my final trial date and I was awarded full custody! I have to go back to court on Friday (eclipse day) and the permanent court order will be entered and it will be official. This eclipse falls exactly on my daughter’s natal Sun.

    • HI Kevin,

      What a wonderful story!!

      Thank you for sharing..I’m sure Anne will be very pleased as well..

      All the very best,


  4. This is a great story. Thank you for sharing the info about the saros cycles!
    About 20 years ago a total solar eclipse fell on my sun, and within 6 months, I started dating my future husband and my father passed away, less than two weeks of another eclipse that fell in my sister’s sun.
    This eclipse falls on my natal Venus…what I want to let go of, is anything that gets in the way of love…

    • Thanks for your kind words, Severne. And for your most illustrative feedback, as well as letting us know very clearly your letting-go plan…sounds pretty a propos…

  5. Anne W here: thought I’d share this really interesting feedback which appeared amongst the comments on my astrology Page…

    Via Astrology: Questions and Answers Facebook Page: ( 27.7.18)

    Emilie Llewellyn Simons:

    I love the image…anyway, I don’t usually pay much attention to eclipses, at least not in terms of astrology, I get more excited astronomically…but this got me thinking if I had any major life changes in connection with eclipses, so I had a bit of a look, this is very interesting indeed. I’ll pick just one story, the solar eclipse on November 14th 2012 at 22 degrees Scorpio, this was conjunct my Mercury/Ceres, and this is the same day I lodged my name change at the registry. This is a huge deal since I finally was reverting back to my birth name which had been changed for the first time when I was 3 years old. My name has changed 7 times (never my first name though), and I have had more than a few identity crises. So deciding to revert to my birth name was a major step towards being more me.
    r Thanks for sharing this highly illustrative personal story, Emilie! It’s important to put personal ‘flesh’ on the bare bones of symbolism…that’s how we all learn…

    • Thanks for sharing this highly illustrative personal story, Emilie! It’s important to put personal ‘flesh’ on the bare bones of symbolism…that’s how we all learn…

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