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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:


  1. Gary,

    This makes so much sense, but only because you are so thorough in your study of the connections and the cycles. Thank you for sharing your insight into this picture of the Arab world’s metamorphosis and how we might apply the same transforming astrology in our own lives.

    I wonder if you would have any thoughts on something I noticed in your chart for this lunar eclipse. As it is set for Washington DC, there is a trine from the midheaven to Uranus and half-way between them is Venus forming sextiles to both. The sextile between Venus and the Midheaven forms a yod with Pluto, while her sextile to Uranus forms a yod to the Ascendant. It would seem to be paramount that she is in Gemini since she is also square Chiron and trine Saturn. What a busy Goddess she will be when taking into account your forecast for all the continued middle east activity.

  2. Yes Barbara, thanks, that is interesting. In mundane astrology the 8th signifies financial relations with foreign countries and Venus diplomatic resolutions. Perhaps there will be some news about these issues when Venus opposes the eclipse degree around the end of June

  3. Tomorrow’s eclipse and the previous one have and are activating my nodes and their dispositors and my Sun in the third house!

    I love all the Gemini/Taurus energy we have been getting! This eclipse is exactly conjunct my SN dispositor Jupiter, 3 degrees from my ascendant, exact sextile to natal Mercury and exact trine to natal Mars, while the Taurus trines my Moon and Venus!!!

    To say I feel this eclipse and the previous one immensely, is not an understatement. I am on the verge of completing my first book and sending it off for publishing! with two more to follow. This is exactly what my 12H Jupiter in Gemini–NN Gemini (Mercury Leo in the 3rd) came here to do–communicate-radiate love and compassion, and share healing (loads of Virgo planets) from a very broad perspective (Sag).
    I am grateful for the planetary support and its designed perfection.

    Collectively, I believe we will continue to get messages (Gem) across about ‘we the people’, while the natural world (Sag-natural law) will continue to show us our direct impact on the earth and nature, especially because the nodes are in Gem/Sag too during these eclipses in air/fire.

    Thanks for the article.

  4. That’s great Wendy, congratulations. It seems the Arab world is not the only place on fire 😉

    Yes, being the midpoint of this year-long process I can feel a kind of culmination happening in my life too, and this is only natural

    In his Poetics the Greek philosopher Aristotle put forth the idea that “A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.” The middle is often a point of culmination or climax in dramatic structure and also in our lives. That is because it is an archetypal form

    So we can see it mirrored in the spiritual teachings across diverse cultures and times, including:

    the triple way of Mysticism (purgation, illumination,union),
    the three classic phases of Alchemy (nigredo,albedo,rubedo),
    the way of the Shaman (discipline/training, culmination/vision, return/contribution),
    the Monomyth or Journey of the Hero/ine (departure/initiation/return)
    and even in the phases of birth labor (contractions, pushing through the birth canal, re-union with mother)

  5. Gary, excellent work! Thank you for this eclipse contribution. I was reviewing what Bernadette Brady says about this saros cycle re her book “The Eagle and the Lark.”

    13N “an eclipse family of groups and associations . . energy is about large, ambitious group projects . . these group projects will require a separation or the breaking of a bond that already exists. The individual may well experience this eclipse initially as a separation and then as joint achievement.”

    13S “This family of eclipses has a very similar energy to it’s North Node cousin . . . under which lies a more sinister flavor . . .”

    14 N “a most peculiar eclipse family heralding an acute time of confusion in personal relationships, unexpected happenings in financial matters and possible illness. Unrequited love, despair, confusion, draining of energy . . . ”

    I’m sure you have this book and many reading TMA probably do too.

    I just wanted to set some quotes down here today because you’ve been spot on in your analysis and we’re watching all this and more come to pass.

    Thank you again, Gary.

  6. It continues

    In a major effort to try to respond to calls for more democracy and accountability, King Mohammed VI of Morocco announced proposed constitutional changes on Friday night that would reduce his own nearly absolute powers and name a prime minister from the largest party elected to Parliament as head of the executive branch.

    • Thanks for this exciting news Gary. Has there been any upheaval in Morocco or was he being pro-active? I would be interested to see a birth chart for King Mohammed VI and wonder if it corollates in some way with the lunar eclipse on the 15th.

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