Skip to content

Janus Month 2011: Looking Back on Eclipses in 1638 and 1639

This is Part 2 of a blog that began on January 3, 2011.

The month of January was named for two-headed Janus — one head looking forward into the new year, another looking back. Nowadays, we typically look back only during the last days of December, and then, usually only back into the past year. Astrologers particularly tend to favor looking forward, especially in early January. However, I beg your indulgence to not only look back at these recent eclipses, but also to look way back, to 1638 and 1639. The lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010 was on 29º22’ Gemini; an eclipse was on the same degree in 1638. The solar eclipse which followed was at 13º38’ Capricorn on January 4, 2011; there was an eclipse at the same degree on January 4, 1639. Rather than speculating from astrological keywords about what these recent eclipses portend, I will examine correlations between then and now, with observations from events (primarily in North America).

As I mentioned in my previous Mountain Astrologer blog, it is my contention that a rare eclipse, i.e., hours before the Winter Solstice, “upstages” the Winter Solstice in terms of its historical significance. In my earlier blog, I wrote about my interpretation of December’s 29º Gemini lunar eclipse. Herein, I will look at events from 1638, when the lunar eclipse occurred at the same degree.

In colonial New England, 1638 was a year of firsts, when fundamental assumptions were shaken up in a variety of arenas. (1)

March 1638: A controversial, charismatic, self-appointed religious leader, Anne Hutchinson, was tried and convicted for religious heresy. She was banished from Massachusetts on November 8, 1638. (All other religious leaders of the time were male.)

April 3, 1638: Preacher John Wheelwright was banished from Boston.

June 1, 1638: The colonists experienced their first earthquake, in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

June 25, 1638: The first documented North American celestial event, a lunar eclipse, occurred.

December 20, 1638: The second documented lunar eclipse occurred less than 14 hours before the Winter Solstice.

In summary, in 1638, the presumably stable earth trembled, the skies darkened, and authority was challenged by popular (and threatening) troublemakers who were consequentially banished. (At the time in the New England colonies, the political and religious authorities were one and the same.)

If we compare those themes to 2010, we can now see unprecedented earth changes, eclipses at the same times, popular (and threatening) troublemakers (namely, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning) uprooted from where they wanted to be, due to actions that each took without approval of the authorities.

Solar Eclipses January 4, 1639 and January 4, 2011
As mentioned above, the December eclipses of 1638 and 2010 were both followed by solar eclipses at 13º38’ Capricorn on January 4. The Sabian symbol for 14º Capricorn is: “An ancient bas-relief carved in granite remains a witness to a long-forgotten culture.” (2) The Sabian symbolism implies that solar eclipses on this degree might deal with matters long ago set in stone or with significant political and cultural precedents. I will look back to 1639 to see what was manifesting politically or culturally between January 4, 1639 and the Full Moon of January 19, 1639, i.e., in the waxing Moon after the solar eclipse.

In Connecticut, on January 14, 1639, principles for the framework of a new government were approved. Called “The Fundamental Orders,” these guaranteed “liberty of speech.” Prior to this written agreement, any powerful leader or minor group could unilaterally change or create new rules of government. With the new agreement, such capricious actions would no longer be allowed. The Reverend Thomas Hooks, whose sermon partly inspired these “orders” said, “The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people.” He closed this influential sermon by saying, “As God has given us liberty, let us take it.” No overt allegiance to England was specified in these orders. Historically, this document is seen as, in essence, the first constitution in colonial North America.

Looking further at the imagery of “set in stone,” sometime during 1639 the Henry Whitfield House was built, which still exists to this day. It is the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in New England. The year 1639 also marked the creation of the first printing press (“type set”) in North America, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1639, also in Cambridge, Harvard University (America’s first corporation) was named after the late Reverend John Harvard, who willed his library, land, and money to the university.

January 2011: What Was “Set In Stone”?
What parallels can we see in 2011 and beyond? Assuming that 1639 is a viable correlate, then January 4 through January 19 of this year should correspond to significant governmental precedents or the re-emphasis of very old political and cultural precedents. Some events from this time period follow:

In early January, nationwide, “Tea Party”–influenced Republicans hold the most state House majorities in 80 years, plus a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives. Nationwide, the rights of union and state workers are targeted by the newly elected representatives.

It is revealed that at least $10 million in anonymous hedge fund money was spent on the recent 2010 elections. It is also revealed that two of the wealthiest men in America, the Koch brothers, bankrolled most of the “Tea Party” and Republican candidates, such as the new Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker.

The 112th Congress opens on January 5. House Majority Leader John Boehner wields an oversized gavel and promises to end “business as usual.”  Boehner said that Obama’s health care plan would be challenged as part of a deficit reduction plan. Boehner is also pushing for the “privatization” of Social Security. Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. lose House voting rights. A bill to rewrite the 14th amendment is submitted.

The so-called “Democrat,” President Obama, installs a former executive of J. P. Morgan as his new chief of staff. He also promises less federal regulation of Wall Street and big business.

Obama meets the leader of China and offers multibillion dollar trade deals on behalf of a few big U.S. corporations. He says nothing about human rights abuses in China or about their lax ecological practices.

The Federal Reserve declares that there will be no “quantitative easing” for struggling municipal governments. (This is the same Fed that bailed out Wall Street, General Motors, etc.) Goldman Sachs invests $450 million in Facebook.

Meanwhile, recent poll results indicated that 61% of those polled want tax increases for the most wealthy.

Recent U.S. Census results find approximately one in six Americans living below the poverty level, and this figure is especially high for those over 65.

On January 10 in Tucson, Arizona, a moderate Democratic Congresswoman and others are shot and wounded; a federal judge and several others are killed. Afterward, some representatives leave office or announce their intention not to seek another term. Other representatives decide to start carrying concealed weapons.

The U.S. government subpoenaed an Icelandic parliamentarian regarding WikiLeaks.

Overseas, protests stir in Tunisia and stirrings of unrest begin in Egypt and elsewhere.

Can we assume that corporate government will continuously rule the U.S. for many, many years to come? Perhaps. However, there are major differences between the 17th and the 21st centuries. Astrologically, outer-planetary bodies have been discovered since 1639, and significant outer-planetary ingresses and aspects make this quite the time to watch!

(1) Historical references from: Colonial Wars

(2) Lynda Hill, The Sabian Symbols As An Oracle, 1995, A White Horse Book, Avalon, Australia,

Dale O’Brien has been a full-time astrologer since 1991 and a member of ISAR (C.A.P.), AFAN, and NCGR, a Jim Lewis-trained Certified Astro*Carto*Graphy Interpreter. His writings have appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, From Here to There (An Astrologer’s Guide to Astromapping), and elsewhere. Dale has taught astrology at all levels and has presented, conventionally and experientially, for UAC, ISAR, NCGR, and elsewhere, as well as on radio. He is also trained as a Dream Tender. Dale lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Contact him at or visit his website: