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Total Solar Eclipse

The century’s longest total solar eclipse is almost upon us. It is exact on Tuesday, July 21 at 7:36 p.m. PDT (July 22, 2:36 a.m. GMT).

Since at least the 2nd century (as written by Ptolemy), the length of an eclipse has been associated with the duration of time the eclipse will have an impact. For example, the effects of a lunar eclipse that lasts for two minutes will be felt for two months;  for a solar eclipse, the impact will be in years. The duration of the average solar eclipse is three and a half minutes. The July 21 eclipse lasts for more than six minutes; if we follow Ptolemy’s equation we will be experiencing its impact for longer than six years. This gives extra oomph to the modern astrologer’s thinking that the solar eclipse is an auspicious time to set intentions for the future. We are planting seeds in our minds, or being impressed by events or experiences that will take a long time to unfold. In the personal horoscope, this, of course, will be specifically related to the house position of 29° Cancer and any planets connected to that degree.

Another thing that makes this eclipse stand out is the 29th degree. The first reference I’ve seen to the 29th degree (of any sign) as “the degree of expiation” is in Isabel Hickey’s Astrology: A Cosmic Science (1970). The degree of expiation suggests that all conditions and situations related to the sign have this one last degree, this one last moment to resolve themselves. It has the suggestion of atonement, propitiating a god, or the means through which atonement is made. I’ll leave it to you readers to see how that idea might fit with your own circumstances, or what you feel in these next few days surrounding the eclipse.

Eclipses are known to bring things to a head or indicate a release point. This eclipse suggests that things are moving quickly: The Moon is traveling at maximum speed (nearly 15° in 24 hours) and changes sign several hours after the eclipse; the Sun moves into Leo the next morning.

This extra-long eclipse, occurring at a degree that implies a pressure for resolution, is in the sign of Cancer the Crab, who clings with tenacity. It seems, with all water signs, that we do best by recognizing some emotional experience. Cancer, the first water sign, hints at the most primitive emotions or stages of development — the earliest in time or the most deeply buried in the unconscious. Thus, both our personal histories and our collective or ancestral memories may be the ground through which this potent eclipse moves us forward along our life path.

This is a total solar eclipse — the Sun is darkened. In ancient times, this was considered a bad omen for the king and, therefore, for the land or nation; the health and strength of the king were thought to determine the conditions of the people.

In modern thinking, of course, the Sun has a pronounced personal symbolism. The Sun is our personal star, where we connect to the greater logos. In the individual horoscope, the Sun relates to our own inner nobility — where we shine, where we both receive and give the life essence. It relates to the personal will and ego force that is hereby darkened; quickly, mysteriously, and awesomely, the light of the personal ego is overtaken by something else — perhaps a powerful impression of past or future, a compelling and temporary awareness of a life force far greater than what we have imagined for ourselves thus far.

Remember the key symbolism of a New Moon as a seed-planting time. The masculine and feminine have lined up in direct union and communion and perfect equipoise until, suddenly and inexplicably, the solar light is gone. Where are we without our usual frame of reference? We can see why eclipses are so evocative in the human imagination, as well as being associated with significant world events.

The total solar eclipse at 29° Cancer suggests that matters of home, family, and past impressions are triggered to be resolved. I suspect that we’ve all got hidden cracks in our emotional armor; this eclipse is a profound invitation to let tenderness and vulnerability lead the way. There may be tears, releasing memories of a long-lost (or absent) mother or sentiments about connecting with an ultimate nourishment that tethers and binds us, feeds us, and gives us everything we will ever need to be secure and safe in this world.

The morning after the eclipse, the Sun moves into Leo — its own sign — and the sometimes grasping, needy claws of Cancer (where the Moon has dominion) will have to let go.

A friend on our Facebook page  suggested this YouTube video for a presentation of the mundane implications of this eclipse. The video is really well done and demonstrates clearly the essential ways that eclipses are used for predicting world events. (You’ll see the eclipse path of visibility on the Earth, as well as a few countries that have 29° Cancer prominent in the national horoscope.)

I’ve posted Stephanie Austin’s fine column on the eclipse here. For a look at the bigger picture, I’ve posted the maps of the eclipse visibility here.
And, also from the June/July 2009 issue, you can see the solar eclipse world maps and midpoints here.

I also did a search on AstroDatabank for people with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or Midheaven from 28° to 30° Cancer or Capricorn. I filtered for AA data, so these degrees should be accurate. (I have an older version of the software, and this selection is mostly older people. I couldn’t find a search function at the free online database at, which has more current data. Does anyone know if it’s there?)

Naomi Campbell and Susan Sarandon have Ascendants in these degrees of Capricorn. (Ms. Sarandon’s natal Moon is at 26° Capricorn as well.) Emmylou Harris, Wynonna Judd, Stephen King and John Travolta have natal Ascendants in these degrees of Cancer. Melanie Griffith has the Midheaven in Capricorn, Jimmy Carter has the Midheaven in Cancer, David Lynch has the Sun in Capricorn, and Robin Williams and Alex Trebek (the host of Jeopardy!) have the Sun in Cancer; Geraldo Rivera and Tai Situ Rinpoche have the Moon in Cancer, all in these very late degrees.

These individuals are some of those under the direct influence of this potent solar eclipse. May all of us meet the situations that arise for us with an open mind and heart!


  1. The final degree of a sign is obviously the 30th degree and may appear to include 29 in its description (plus a number of minutes).

    Unfortunately, here it is not indicated to that fine a point at which the eclipse will be exact and it is claimed to be the 29th degree showing sensitivity.

    Elsewhere I have seen the longitude listed as 29° 26′ 31″ so at least it is certainly NOT right AT 29° degrees as the author here implies it to be.

  2. Mary,
    What a well researched and articulated article…thanks for putting together and sharing all this information. The links are very informative and give scope to understanding this eclipse event. It gives me confirmation at some deep level of awareness that we really are stepping into a new world, a new paradigm.

  3. I urge everyone interested in mundane astrology and world events to click on the link to the 9-minute YouTube video provided above. Julija Simas has done an amazing and concise overview of how the eclipse degree connects to charts of countries and organizations such as the Federal Reserve.

  4. Thank you, Tem and Mary for posting our link, it’s great having such a positive response to the Eclipse Report. I have to pass on major credit to Agent 37 – Nick Owens – who is our talented script writer and creator of this series, both working together for the C*I*A project. We plan to do more of these in the future – again thanks for your support.

  5. It’s an amazing article about the solar eclipse and its strategic occurence followed by phenomena.

    This is a request to all the readers that please chant devotional mantras during the occurance of solar eclipse to relieve the amount of pain for the Sun and living entity.

    Thank you very much for the same.

    Nirav Rajani
    Forumation Development Team Leader-Alembic l

  6. Thank you for your well-written article. I’m going to post it on FB so that many people can read it and benefit from it.

  7. I had a specific request from a Hindu friend to chant through these 6 minutes, apparently extremely important, as suggested above. EDT: 10:35pm, to 10:41pm.

    If asleep, put ‘intention’ into your dream time.


  8. Hi all,

    A quick follow up about the people in the news mentioned above. Jimmy Carter’s MC is at 28°28′ Cancer. The Ascendant is 26°08′ Libra.

    On the day of the eclipse, July 21, the former president issued a statement that he is severing his ties with the Southern Baptist church over its treatment of women.

    In the natal chart, the Moon, ruler of the MC is at 14° Scorpio, part of a water trine with Pluto at 14° Cancer and Uranus at 19° Pisces..

  9. Re ‘follow-up for Jimmy Carter- wonder what may come at the Aug Eclipse- which will square his Moon and quincunx the Pluto? Interesting MC for ‘being recognized’ for Habitats for Humanity ! AND how he tried to nurture the country by looking ahead with solar and other energy sources. Where could we be IF that had been supported? Thanks for another great column. Have I missed an article that applies this 7/21 Eclipse to the USA chart? Pluto 27° Capricorn (opposite the Part of Fortune), Uranus 9° Gemini (transiting Mars) and its Moon 27° Aquarius, Neptune 22° Virgo (transiting Saturn) and its Sun 13° Cancer squared by Saturn 14° Libra (7/7 Eclipse)?? Will the Nodes in Cap/Can get anything going?

  10. Hi Roberta,

    Thanks for the great’s the US Sibly chart, in case any readers want to look at what you’re referring to..(I think you meant the July 7 lunar eclipse at 15°24′ Capricorn, quote close to the US Sibly Sun at 13°19′ Cancer, square the US Saturn)
    I thought Mr. Carter’s trine in water including the Moon as MC ruler was especially evocative of his supporting women..I also noticed the next eclipse (Full Moon on August 5 14° Leo/Aquarius) square his natal Moon. The 10th, of course, related to reputation, all in all, I do think it was a very bold personal move on his part..being a life-long Southern Baptist, as he writes in his letter..and occurring at the eclipse, it’s bound to have long lasting (and unexpected) implications for his life (especially followed by this next eclipse squaring the radix Moon). Also, the Ascendant degree, 26 of the cardinals, is a critical degree..

    Jimmy Carter

  11. Thanks for the charts, Mary. Hoping for input from other interested observers. Wow !! His Pluto is right on-the USA Sun. He did make some changes. Have you seen any ‘news’ re the others you listed? Such a ‘wonder’ful article!

  12. Hi Roberta,

    I did read a gossipy report somewhere online that John Travolta is considering leaving The Church of Scientology where he has been a prominent member since 1975. (You may recall that his 16 year old son tragically died this past January.)

    Also David Lynch has a web series The Interview Project. He’s traveling around the country interviewing ‘ordinary Americans’ in these “hardscrabble times.” (I read about it on the day of the eclipse, although it’s been going for awhile.)

    It’s a beautiful series that I think is showing the realities of life here in America now – not on Wall Street, but on Main Street, as we seem to be saying..I wonder if Cancer/Capricorn highlights the gap between the rulers and the general public?

  13. Thanks to Mary, Robert, Julija et al,

    What a wonderful and open discussion in such a profound field…man’s mirrored relationship with the cosmos!

    A couple comments follow from personal experience. I have +25 degree Cancer at my MC with Uranus at nearly 5 degrees of Leo in the 10th, therefore this eclipse is on my MC/Uranus midpoint. My “first life” was that of a professional mining engineer (Scorpio on the 2nd cusp, Saturn in Scorpio in the 2nd, with Pluto conjunct Sun at 11th cusp). My grandfather on my Mother’s (Cancer ruling Moon) side was a miner frustrated by not having a degree and watching “the parade of idiots” around him throughout his life who rose up the career ladder. He was dead before I was born, however, our Mom’s influence saw both her sons enter the mining engineering field (both of us have Uranus in the 10th and Saturn in Scorpio).

    In the past 15 years of surrender and holism pursuit, several mystical healing experiences (Chiron in the 4th in exact sextile to Moon in 6th) concerning what the Australian aboriginals call the ‘dream line’ have been had…resonating deeply with Mary Plumb’s “primitive emotions” or “most deeply buried in the unconscious”. These deep re-membering experiences have particularly been powerful where the heavens have been dearly regarded and ciphered closely in antiquity, such as Stonehenge, Chaco Canyon, Bali, etc.

    As a partial result of these experiences, I’ve been conducting a Mystery School of Awakened Re-membering around the western U.S. for the past several years synthesizing and catalyzing the essential union of ancient and modern wisdom traditions to illuminate our cycles of Oneness.

    On the evening of the recent Summer Solstice & Father’s day and very nearby the Super New Moon, my Father (92 3/4 yrs) passed onto his next adventure (My Uranus/MC midpoint falling under the forthcoming eclipse shadow). As he always said, “I’ll live till I die”.

    He truly did live until he died, quoting his poems right till the end. He passed peacefully in his sleep in his rural Montana home he built with my Mom 61 years ago with the creek pounding nearby, his cats and his wife and a few power Goddesses all around him…all just as he had wanted to…testimony to the antiquity of his soul and non-resistance learned therein.

    The date of the Celebration Service was arranged by my Brother who is not into astrology whatsoever. However, it was held on Saturday, 7/18/09, shortly before the powerful eclipse, which fell on my Dad’s natal (and progressed retrograde) Saturn.

    The sacred science of astrology helps us unravel the concepts of time back to our essence and unified roots. Blessed be all those re-membering paradigm pioneers of the Craft that have stood their ground in the blast furnace with the masses that would have them be different.

    Thank you all…

    Ron Maehl

  14. Ron,

    What a beautiful report.

    Thank you very much for coming by & participating..

    Were you in this area (Ashland) in the past few years?

    Seems like we have spoken?

  15. Hi Mary,

    this is great research you have done with the famous personalities. Most especially with the links to changes in religion. This eclipse is linked closely with the dramatic Julian eclipse of 363 AD, a very critical time for the foundation of the Christian Church:

  16. Hello Funkstar,

    Thanks for this..I’m going to check the link you sent..

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