The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun

The total Lunar Eclipse of June 15, 2011 is a rare one because it is a central eclipse, which means that the Moon passes right through the very heart of the Earth’s shadow. This is because it is also right in the middle of its family, i.e. its Saros series, and eclipses often reach their greatest totality at the midpoint of the series, when the astronomical alignments are most precise. The current eclipse is number 34 of 71 eclipses in Lunar Saros 130, which began June 10, 1416.

Saros 130: June 10, 1416 2:01:41 pm LMT Constantinople

Tropical zodiac, Whole Sign Houses

We notice in this chart that the series began in Sagittarius, with Mercury in his own sign and conjunct the South Node. Also, Venus and Mars occupy their own domiciles, making for a very powerful array of personal planets to assist with personal transformation. Pluto conjunct the Sun also gives an emphasis and impetus to transpersonal modes of transformation.

In addition to framing this current eclipse within its own Saros cycle, it is obvious to this astrologer that there is something of a pattern emerging in the pattern of both solar and lunar eclipses. This total lunar eclipse is the second of three total lunar eclipses in a row. This in itself is not all that rare, having happened five times in the last 21 years. We are concurrently within a series of four partial solar eclipses in a row. This seems to indicate that the lunar eclipses will be packing more of a punch than usual for this period, perhaps becoming even more important that the solar eclipses.

Generally, the Moon is said to govern domestic matters — the people and emotions — so a lunar eclipse tends to have a more personal effect than the solar eclipse, which has a distinctive socio-political effect. Also, since the lunar eclipse is by nature an opposition, it has the tendency to work itself out via relationships with other people in our lives. However, since the previous total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010 happened on the solstice, this astrologer wrote on December 13 in a TMA blog: “We now begin a period where the Mundane or World Axis 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 total Lunar Eclipse suggests both a personal and collective loss.”  (1)

Accordingly, just a few days before this momentous eclipse, a street vendor in Tunisia set himself ablaze in an act of protest and sparked a series of demonstrations that gained momentum and eventually resulted in an entire region becoming politically active. This wave of political unrest, which has been termed variously as the Arab Spring or Jasmine Revolutions, has as one of its slogans, “Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam,” which means “The people want to topple the regime.” (2) In fact, regime change by the people was accomplished twice in the three months following this lunar eclipse, in Tunisia and Egypt.

Now the UN is supporting a possible regime change in Libya, and President Obama has consistently said it is only a matter of time before Gaddafi is gone. The astrology seems to agree. With the continuation of these powerful lunar eclipses, it seems that the People, who are symbolized by the Moon, have a window of opportunity to make themselves more important than their rulers, symbolized by the Sun. Being conjunct the Galactic Center and still near the winter solstice point, it is possible that this total lunar eclipse could have equally powerful socio-political effects and serve to extend the “Arab Spring” into summer.

Total lunar eclipse: June 15, 2011; 4:13:56 pm EDT; for Washington, DC

Tropical zodiac, Whole Sign Houses

Total Lunar Eclipse

The chart for the June 15 Lunar Eclipse belies another important part of the astrology around this emerging socio-political process. With Mercury once again in Gemini and conjunct the South Node, as in the first eclipse of this series, he clearly has something important to tell us. This reminds me of an important part of the Mercury retrograde cycle that I spoke about on my lecture tour of the northeast this spring. As the late, great Robert Blaschke has previously pointed out, the three Mercury retrograde periods of each year happen in the same astrological element. (3) Since December, this has been the element of Fire, so it seems like an important coincidence that just before the interior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius, a young man set himself on fire and sparked a series of “days of rage” across the Arab world. The symbol for Fire is an upward-pointing triangle, and these popular up-risings have definitely shown the spontaneous and volatile nature of the fiery element.

When we look closer we can see that the two phenomena are directly related. The three consecutive total lunar eclipses mentioned above are happening in opposition to Mercury’s conjunctions with the Sun.

December 19, 2010: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 28° Sagittarius

December 21, 2010: Total Lunar Eclipse at 29° Gemini

June 12, 2011: Mercury (direct) conjunct the Sun at 22° Gemini

June 15, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 24° Sagittarius

December 4, 2011: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 12° Sagittarius

December 10, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 18° Gemini

Because he rules the two mutable or “common signs” of Gemini and Virgo, and perhaps because he has dominion over local places such as markets and schools, Mercury is also often connected to the common or everyday people, particularly those who work with their hands. So the Moon, which symbolizes the People in mundane astrology, is involved in a series of powerful total lunar eclipses that are also linked with Mercury, and this is happening at a time when his retrogrades are activating the fiery element.

It seems that by teaming up, these two phenomena have accomplished much more than they could have alone. Previously, Sudan had been the only Arab country to successfully overthrow dictatorial regimes — in 1964 and again in 1985. Now, if Gaddafi is ousted, this will mean that we have seen more change in one year than has happened in almost half a century. The People, symbolized by the Moon and her powerful lunar eclipses, have come together and communicated (Mercury) their displeasure with autocracy in a very fiery manner. Fire is the most transformational of all the elements. Perhaps through the rest of this year we can each take a lesson from the Arab world and experience a personal revolution in at least one of the houses of our chart where the fire signs reside.


(1) Cardinal Cross Lunar Eclipse: December 21

(2) Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests

(3) Benign Retrograde Mercury Heralds Shift into Fire Signs

Recommended Reading:

Robert Blaschke (2006), Vol V Holographic Transits, Port Townsend, WA, Earthwalk School of Astrology.


Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism & the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary holds a degree in Counseling and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to Astrology over 18 years. Visit Gary at his website:

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